I have been struggling not with faith, but with the willingness to fulfill God’s work on earth. I know he exists, and I have had awesome moments in prayer. I am pretty involved in the Church, scripture and Catechism studies, music for God, etc. Anyhow, I started to pray to God for strength and it seemed like he wasn’t listening. I can often feel him present with me and hear him during prayer, and suddenly it seems as if I am talking to nobody. I know he exists, I do not doubt any part of the scriptures, but it seems as though he has left me blowing in the wind. I know that this is not the case, but I can’t imagine what I need to do to get back with him. I really don’t know what to do. I still pray, but I don’t feel as though I’m heard, also pressures are increasing, and I feel like it must be some sort of test from God. Can anybody relate? Have related reading? Any idea what I should do?
Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb Jesus. Holy Mary mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Mother Theresa’s Come Be My Light and St. John of the Cross’ Dark Night of the Soul - reputedly talk about feeling of distance from the Lord. Some passages from Dark Night of the Soul “The first is whether, when a soul finds no pleasure or consolation in the things of God, it also fails to find it in any thing created; for, as God sets the soul in this dark night to the end that He may quench and purge its sensual desire, He allows it not to find attraction or sweetness in anything whatsoever.” Book I, Chapter IX, Section 2.
“These souls whom God is beginning to lead through these solitary places of the wilderness are like to the children of Israel, to whom…” Book I, Chapter IX, Section 5.
I can’t help you further as I am just starting the book, but I urge you to persist in prayer, particularly the rosary, and spiritual reading. Who knows whether this is a dark night, a spiritual attack, or the ordinary ups and downs of one’s prayer life? But to Mary you can cast all you fears and tribulations and have her sweet consolations, and the rosary - according to St. Louis De Montfort in True Devotion to Mary - can transform you from within to be Christ-like so maybe God will release you from the wilderness, not saying its your fault at all if such as St. John of the Cross and Mother Theresa traveled there too!!!
Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb Jesus. Holy Mary mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.*
I hope some of the great people who answered my thread will answer your thread also. I do not feel very qualified to answer how to cope with your dryness, since I have problems with it too. Maybe the best I can tell you is just know that God IS there, no matter what you feel. It is painful to pray but maybe NOW the test you say you may have is to continue to pray no matter what. (read my thread Painful to Pray)
You say you experience Him at times, but then it seems as if suddenly He is not there listening to you. I have had some of this happen to me—maybe we are supposed to learn that experiencing Him is not the purpose of service.
You are very devoted—don’t give up your devotion. For goodness sakes, your devotion outshines mine, so please don’t give up! Because if you do, then there isn’t any hope for me… We ARE all connected in the Body of Christ. And since pressures are increasing in your life, don’t compound those pressures by running from God—it makes it far more painful.
You WILL keep up your prayer life, because for whatever feeling (or NO feeling) you get from it, it is your ONLY connection to God. God bless you, and I will pray for you in a moment when i go pray my rosary, like some good post-er advised me to do. edit: It was TrueDevotionMar:)
edit 2: I am sorry if I said for you to not “run from God”—that is pretty strong:o —but just keep up the good service you do for God is all I meant. God Bless.
Hi there. Sorry you are going through this moment. I don’t think God ever leaves us as such but I definitely think he pipes down now and then. I’m not sure why this happens, maybe there is too much going on in your life? The important thing is to not lose faith.
I went through a similar experience a few months ago. I was pretty depressed and increasingly lost the desire for prayer (which is a Catch-22 really because that’s when you really need to pray!). When I started praying again I felt like God was very far away, or not listening to me. But I have kept it up and I constantly feel His presense in my life now.
My practical suggestion would be this: your next day off go for a big long walk, somewhere beautiful. Go on your own and when it feels right sit down and listen. You might not hear God, but you will feel Him everywhere. It’s quite an amazing feeling. I wish you the best and don’t be so hard on yourself, a lot of people experience these moments of separation from God.
Sometimes we also have to look at our daily lives. If we are tired and stressed out because of too much work and too many concerns, the mind finds it difficult to focus or to feel. There is no real energy there. In order to receive consolations, one has to be in shape to receive them. Feeling God’s presence is a consolation, but it is more difficult for a tired mind and body.
One thing that I find useful is quiet time and I recommend that at retreats when I talk to people. We need inner silence to hear the voice of God. One day of quiet isn’t going to cut it. We have to make it an everyday practice. It doesn’t have to be long. Even 15 minutes of alone time can help.
There is nothing more powerful than liturgical prayer. If you don’t already pray the Liturgy of the Hours, I strongly recommend it. You are praying with the Church the highest form of prayer that we have. The Liturgy of the Hours is the branch of the mass. It ties into the Eucharist. Its excellence supercedes even the wonders of the rosary. I’m not saying drop the rosary. However, the rosary is not liturgy. Sometimes we reach a plateau and we have to raise the bar in our prayer life.
Fasting and abstinence are good for the support of a solid prayer life. Our Franciscan community does it on Weds and Fri. You may want to try this.
Finally, every man and woman of prayer needs a spiritual director. Do not confuse a priest with a spritual director. Most priests are not trained to be spiritual directors, only some are. You can ask your confessor if he can suggest someone. It may be a priest, religious or lay person who is trained in the spiritual life and the life of the soul.
Sometimes we need someone to echo back what we’re saying to see what we need to fix, what we need to live with and what we’re not seeing. Every saint had a confessor and a spritual director. Sometimes they were the same person and oftent hey were not. Catherine of Siena was spiritual director to hundreds of people. She was a lay woman, not a religious, much less a priest. Brother Lawrence was a spritual director and he was never a priest. Francis of Assisi was another who was never a priest. Then you have someon like Bonaventure, Dominic, Aquinas who were confessors and spiritual directors. They were well versed in the spiritual life and theology.
You can shop around. If you don’t feel the chemistry with the person, go to another. They won’t be offended.
You may also inquire into a prayer group or some kind of parish group that gets together to study scripture. Reading biographies of the saints can be a moving experience. Often the biographies ae more moving than their writings. When the story is told by a thrid person you get a less complicated picture, not always, but often.
Hope this helps.
We can be overwhelmed by Evil. Yes…this mitigates against the view that God is both all-powerful and all-good, but there’s truth to it – truth of a mysterious nature. I believe Evil is capable of staging massive, sudden rebellions that destroy and maim. Hitler comes to mind – a fanatical preacher of hate, sent forth by Satan, to cause as much damage as possible before being cut down by God.
Be very careful here. While the Church recognizes the evil that Hitler did. Catholics may not judge his soul. To say that he was “sent forth by Satan” comes very close to passing a judgemnt on the state of his soul. It can sound as if you are saying that he was posessed. The Chuch would knock you down very quickly for saying this if you were in public and claiming to speak as a Catholic. I know a Catholic theologian who was blasted by the Vatican for saying soemthing similar about Hitler at a Pontifical University. He had to retract and replace Hitler with Naziism. He could say it anywhere else, except at a Pontifical University.
In the Church’s eyes, Hitler is right up there with Caesar, Stalin, Mao, and so many others during history and in the present who have committed horrific acts against humanity, but are still loved by God and can be saved by God’s mercy, over which we have no control.
The Church allows us to speak of the evils committed by these persons, but not of the persons themselves. Observe that in all the talk about WW II and Pope Leo XII, the Church stays away from using Hitler’s name. It refers to Nazis and Naziism and the Jews. The same thing happens when it refers to Communism and Capitalism. The Church has a very strict policy that we never make any statement that suggests the state of a person’s soul, no matter how serious the crime.
That is between the soul and God.
Hope this helps.
I wonder sometimes if He’s like the parent at the playground who stands back sometimes, allowing us to navigate on our own, make our own choices, but always there, always waiting and watching.
Hi SawGodThere and everybody ! It’s true that sometimes we struggle with so many difficulties and hardships , with temptations and weakness , happen to everyone and I know how easy is to loose faith , especially when we don’t receive answers to our prayers or in many other circumstances . But God shall never leave us as He promised ! I put all my trust in God and I pray that not my will , but His be done always .
We must always remember what our Lord Jesus said :
Matthew 28:20 ( drbo.org/chapter/47028.htm )
"20 (Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and ) **behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. **
Here is a quiz for everyone.
Jesus uses the word “always” only twice in scripture. What were they?
Just sitting here at my computer, without my Bible handy, I can think of one time, at the Ascension, I think, where He said “I am with you always, even until the end of the world.” How’d I do?
You got one.
2nd one ?
Mt 26:11 (same in Mk 14:7, Jo 12:8)
For ye have the poor **always **with you
but me ye have not always
also John 8:29, & 11:42…?
We Live By Faith, Not By Sight Easy to say harder to believe. All of us can say we have been through times like the one you are going through. By talking to others and hearing that you are not alone I think you can see that this may be a period of time you are going through. Christ’s Peace
CB and Henning both got it right. The only time that Jesus uses term always in the Gospel are when he says:
“I will be with you always” and “The poor you shall always have with you”
The point that I was trying to make is that we are the poor. We who hunger for God are the poor. We will always be poor. We will always hunger for God. To expect to reach a point where we no longer hunger for God is imaginary. If we look at the lives of the greatest saints, they always hungered for God.
But we are not alone. Jesus promised that he would always be with us. The more we hunger for God, the great his presence in our lives. Sometimes we believe that we are blind, because we are blinded by light. How often are we driving and can’t see because of the glare of light? Sometimes we feel alone, because we are immersed in God’s light. We are blinded. Thus we continue to hunger for him.
This is part of a reciprocal relationship. God deliberately allows us to be blinded to his presence so to intensify our poverty, our hunger for him. The more we hunger for him, the closer we get to him.
As Lk. 8:40 says, “Do not be afraid.”
Very good, JR. I like your way of looking at this Beatitude. I always enjoy your posts.
Thank you so much for your response on this thread, particularly of the particular prayers, readings, etc. that you have posted, and also of the words of encouragement and relation. It is much appreciated. God Bless all of you!
I hope that this helps. I was going through a very dry period and my spiritual adviser pointed out that perhaps the Lord was allowing it because I actually do get a huge “hit” from my prayer life. I had been getting an incredible amount of feedback so to speak and perhaps I had begun to seek not Him, but rather that physical, emotional and spiritual gratification. I was called to continue faithfully without those consolations with which I had become very familiar and comfortable.
I think he was right. I did regain my sense of the Lord again which was very gratifying, but it has helped me understand that it is He which I seek and everything else just is a nice side benefit. Perhaps you too are being guided in that direction? I’ll pray for you as well because it is quite painful and disorienting when it happens.
“In the Church’s eyes, Hitler is right up there with Caesar, Stalin, Mao, and so many others during history and in the present who have committed horrific acts against humanity, but are still loved by God and can be saved by God’s mercy, over which we have no control.”
It has always been the teaching of the Catholic Church that God never stops loving, not even the greatest sinner and he will do whatever is possible to save the sinner. In the end, we have no control over what God does for our salvation. We only have control over our response to God’s love.
For this reason, the Church has always encouraged Catholics to avoid moral judgment on the state of a person’s soul after their death. The Church, particularly the Holy Father, reserves for himself the authority to declare that a soul is indeed in Heaven. This is what canonization is about. In the case of those who have committed great sins, the Church cannot say that they are in Heaven, because there is no evidence that there was a conversion in this life and we do not know what transpires between the soul and God at the moment of death, when the soul faces judgment.
Therefore, the Church observes a holy silence on where these souls are, Heaven or Hell and encourages every Catholic to do the same. There is an important distinction that we have to make, between the sin and the sinner. We must recognize the horror of the sin and work to overcome it. We continue to believe in God’s love for the sinner. To deny that he loves the sinner is to impose our limited capacity to love on God. That is something that we cannot do.
Finally, we do acknowledge that God is a just God and a merciful God. We do not put God’s justice or mercy to the test according to our standards. We focus on holiness, virtues and reconciliation. We leave justice and mercy to God’s infinite wisdom.