Emotional or spiritual, or what?

Haven’t been on here in a while, but I’m looking for insight from older, more experienced, solid Catholics. I had been going to see a good priest about this for a while, but he honestly didn’t know what was the matter with me. I’m planning on hopefully going to another, when I can find the time, but until then I thought I’d try CAF.

I’m a cradle Catholic, 20 years old, and am convinced of the truth of the Faith. However, it’s all intellectual. I can’t honestly say I’m ‘in love’ with our Lord, or have great devotion for our Lady. I just go through all the right motions, just because I know they’re the right thing to do. Praying the Rosary is a chore, going to Mass is a chore, and a half-hour of Adoration is a struggle. I just finished my first (and probably last) year at a good Catholic college, where I went to daily Mass, daily Rosary, daily Adoration. I was surrounded by good Catholic people who were genuinely in love with God. Honestly, I feel dead - no ‘connection’ with God at all. I don’t have any aims/goals. I have a wonderful boyfriend who loves me very much, and has wanted to marry me for the past 8 years… but most of the time, I feel distant from him too. I have a very hard time showing him any affection (but when I can, it makes me feel so free, and healthy). I have a wonderful family, with a very saintly dad, and I feel distant and disconnected from them as well. Most of the time, I just feel completely isolated and alone-everyone is a stranger.

I just want to be alive… I want to know in my heart what I know in my head. I want to be ‘in love’ with Jesus, and our Lady. I want so much to love my boy… to have a good relationship with my family. I can’t ‘see’ them, most of the time. I can sit in front of my God for a half-hour, and I don’t give a darn. My boy can show me again and again that he still loves me, despite my coldness and uncommunicative-ness, and I don’t care. There are a few odd times when I can see them, and it’s beautiful. But I can never hold on to that for long.

I really don’t know what to do, and I’m just plain worn out. It’s been like this for years. Thoughts?

Many saints went through even worse times, like repulsion to prayer rather than an indifference to prayer that you’re going through.

I’m actually going through a bit of it myself lately, an indifferent feeling.

But, our spiritual relationship is NOT about feelings or enthusiasm for the Lord and Our Lady. Keep praying and keep going to weekly mass at least, no matter how you feel about it.

Our culture emphasizes feelings and “zest for life” and so forth. Pay no attention to it.

God love you!

But honestly, I don’t know how long I can keep this up. I feel like a hypocrite… if I really believed what I believe, it should affect me. And the saints… they were only afflicted after having had a wonderful closeness and union with God. I know St. Therese went through her ‘dark night’, but I can’t even stand to read her autobiography. It’s too… gushing and affectionate… I cannot relate to her at all.

I know that ‘love isn’t a feeling’, and it’s all action, but that doesn’t even make sense to me anymore. If my dad, or boyfriend, were to say (or I were to find out), that they didn’t feel any love/affection for me, but continued to show acts of ‘love’ anyways, I would say… just forget it. (And not if that were just a temporary situation, but on-going, years-on-end…) Am I making sense?

I’ll pray for you! Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta is probably your best example. She remained in agony most of her (long) life, but continued to show her love. As St. Francis of Assisi prayed that he would rather show love than receive it. I’ll pray for you!

Another thing is, I don’t know if I should keep dating if I keep on feeling like this. He knows what I’m going through, but I can’t see that it’s fair to him. This is where ‘being in love’ has a lot of value, right? It’s not enough to just keep on doing the ‘love is an action, not a feeling’ thing. I feel the same toward him as I do toward God. I won’t stop struggling in regards to spiritual things, but I don’t know if I should have that attitude towards a potential marriage. Maybe I should give him up and let him find someone who can give as much love as he does. Or do I keep on struggling? I’m so confused. :frowning:

what you are saying concerns me. i know that i have had times when i have felt similarly. sometimes i even struggle with my feelings for my love. emotions, or the lack of what we think we should feel, can be confusing. it is very possible that you are suffering from a disorder and your priest may not be the person to help you in that regard. your school must surely have a counseling center; i would advice using the school for this since their counselors would surely be faith based. talk to a faith based counselor before you make any rash decisions. and continue to pray and ask God for help in self-understanding.
God Bless

I just go through all the right motions, just because I know they’re the right thing to do. Praying the Rosary is a chore, going to Mass is a chore, and a half-hour of Adoration is a struggle. I just finished my first (and probably last) year at a good Catholic college, where I went to daily Mass, daily Rosary, daily Adoration.

Perhaps consider replacing the word " chore " with the word Sacrifice. We are not called to force ourselves to go through the motions, no more than a person can force him or self to marry another simply because that person knows it is the right thing to do.

We each have an individual relationship with Christ / God / Mary / the saints… So it appears your relationship is not where you want it, that does not mean you are lacking but perhaps it means you need to try a different approach in your prayer life. Others have given some great advice to reflect on and consider it is worth rereading through them as well.

I have had similar experiences of not having this bubbly , lovey dovey explosion of feelings as you describe, or elude to i suppose… I have personally seen others with the dopey, sappy, dribbling puppy love that it is just so darn wonderful to be in love with Christ and that every day is just a ball of sunshine and happyness and gosh darn it they just gota share it with everyone around them. And it makes me wonder if they are wonky in the head, being fake, or telling the truth… I would rather they be telling the truth and just making me nausious than fake or wonky. So you are not alone on that front.

I know that ‘love isn’t a feeling’, and it’s all action, but that doesn’t even make sense to me anymore. If my dad, or boyfriend, were to say (or I were to find out), that they didn’t feel any love/affection for me, but continued to show acts of ‘love’ anyways, I would say… just forget it. (And not if that were just a temporary situation, but on-going, years-on-end…) Am I making sense?

That actually does make sense, why fake the affection or love for someone… ? It might be more appreciative to just be kind instead of faking an emotion or faking true love… I don’t know if I would define love as all action though, gota think about that one more… I would though feel resentment towards someone who was just faking to care about me, and would want nothing to do with them either. I would rather someone be honest with me and just tell me they don’t like me, or at least admit they have no feelings for me yet still show kindness and respect than to fake anything .

Many saints went through even worse times, like repulsion to prayer rather than an indifference to prayer that you’re going through.

This from another poster i found interesting and would appreciate if anyone can find any sources referencing such.

You ‘are’ very close to God and it is satan that is trying to pull you away from God.

He is making your life a living hell.

You need to find a good priest to speak to for ‘really good’ advice.

I was watching a video the other day about this convent and the prioress said she went through a period of 18 years at the convent with all these different emotions etc. It wasnt until she met with a priest that put her right and had the answers she had been looking for.

She fought through the tough time. She showed God that she wasnt going to give up on him. It was a testing time. Her cross to carry.

She made it and now she is a different person.

God Bless you

Perhaps many men would not be able to handle your lack of emotion or enthusiasm, but God can.

Dear Serafina

You don’t have to do anything,just let down your expectations.

Jesus has been with you the whole time, he is with you right now.

Jesus heart aches that you cannot see him.

Jesus has his arms outstretched ready to hold you close to his heart if you just turn to him and let go.

Jesus has told us he goes out of his way for one who is lost.

Jesus sees into your heart and waits patiently by your side, willing you to wake up to him.

Jesus will never abandon you he is with you through good times and bad.

Jesus is ever faithful to his children like you.

Jesus comes to us with Love asking that we let him into our hearts.

Stop trying, just let go & let welcome Jesus Christ into your heart.

Peace be with you+

Familiarity-Breeds-Contempt Syndrome combined with dark night of the soul. Cradle Catholics are very subject to this.

Reaffirm your belief in the True Presence, and try to look at the enthusiasm shown by those in the RCIA. Talk to your Angel Guardian. Jesus and Mary are still there.

The only thing on the other side of the fence is the world and sin. Don’t succumb to its temptation, which you are very subject to right now. Do your best to practice interior silence.


That is what it sounds like. You are just burnt out and depressed. You need a change of scenery for a while. Go on vacation or something?

Wow! I totally know what you’re talking about - you’re basically describing me when you describe your problem. Except for the marriage part, that is - this is what’s keeping me from fully diving into my perceived calling to the priesthood. It sounds, however, as though you have it worse than I do, as I am at times able to show some emotion about my faith, and towards other people that I know love/care for me. I mean, I know it is so frustrating to know intellectually that the Catholic faith is the right faith and all that, yet you can’t make your feelings/emotions respond in the correct way.

So, I can’t really offer advice - you already said you are looking to talk to a good priest about it - I just felt like commenting to empathize. It’s encouraging to know others go through the same thing. There must be some way to make yourself able to respond appropriately to what you know…I wish we could know! In any case, if it’s any comfort, you’ll be in my prayers. Don’t give up! :slight_smile:

God’s love and God’s presence with us luckily is not down to our own feelings but God’s own grace to us.

God never abandons either of you,whatever you feel or don’t feel.

That includes right now this minute while you’re reading this forum!

God bless+

Thank You
I needed this reminder.

When I read your post, I thought of Fr. Barron’s fine commentary on the Holy Spirit, and what he says at the end: “Here’s a prayer that always works: Veni Sancte Spiritus! Come, Holy Spirit!”


This is the Veni Sancte Spiritus by Taizé:


May the Holy Spirit set you on fire with His love. + Praying for you…

The Truths of our Faith which of course includes the whole of Scripture stand as eternal Truths no matter how we may feel. Our feelings can wax and wane for shorter or longer periods for many many reasons. This is just humans being human. The Truths of our Faith never change and are all objective realities totally independent of human feelings. If we intend to be guided by our feelings, we are going to be tossed all over the place in our journey through life as our feelings shift and change, wax and wane for one reason or another. If however we are guided by our intellect with our will investing in what our intellect tells us (that what The Church teaches is Truth) and providing we ensure that our intellect is taking in information that is indeed Truth and truth - then we are closer to the actual reality of spirituality than we might be aware of. Union with God is not through feelings. Union with God is only through Faith in the will (our human choices or our will) and what follows from Faith on a supernatural level only (above human nature, beyond it) in Hope and in Charity or Love. Sometimes for one reason or another, our feelings can get in on ‘the act’ and feel fired and even abundantly so on matters of Faith, Hope and Love and other related virtues. But feelings are not essential to spirituality while they can be of great assistance providing they behave themselves - and often they don’t and this is just humans being human.

St Therese of Lisieux in her autobiography wrote that she went through a stage of absolute revulsion in any sort of spiritual reading. Rather than torture herself about it, she simply put spiritual reading aside insofar as the Carmelite Rule and Constitution, daily horarium, permitted. If the horarium said she had to spend time spiritual reading, then she did so and with absolute distaste, but not troubling her soul nor conscience about that quite human disposition of distaste, dislike and revulsion.
Oe of our religious orders saints whose name just now eludes me, wrote that at times during LOTH in choir, she felt such revulsion that she felt like chucking her Office book out the window.:slight_smile:

When we find devotion is totally lack and even revulsion at anything at all religious including the writings of saints, even Scripture, there can be many and very diverse reasons for this - or perhaps also even at Mass and in celebrating The Sacraments, Rosary as well as other devotions… Some of these reasons may indicate something positive like a transition stage in one’s spiritual life to something higher or deeper. Other reasons can indicate that we have some work to do on ourselves in some way as there is something missing in our spirituality - and every single human being has a spiritual dimension. To discern which is which, it takes a good spiritual director usually and most often - and if one is wise and prudent; however, if one cannot find a good director and some cannot, then to confidently put ourselves into the Hands of The Lord in absolute and total trust will never ever allow one to wander too far - in fact even if unaware totally, one will be very close to The Lord. Absolute trust and confidence in Jesus and His Sacred Heart will never ever NEVER EVER lead one astray!

God bless and do seek out a good spiritual director if possible. If not, then trust with absolute confidence that The Lord knows what He is about even if we do not and very often we don’t, we only THINK that we do and humanity is weak, fallible and faulted somewhere or other to some degree or other - and every moment of every day. For which of us can claim “Absolute Perfection”?

Had a visitor and lost my edit facility.
We could not even think the word “God” or “Jesus” in some sort of positive manner without the Grace of The Holy Spirit as present behind the thought and which Grace with which we are co-operating although not conscious of this - it takes place supernaturally (or above and beyond our human nature). Hence when our will invests in what our intellect is saying on matters of Faith as taught by The Church and assenting to belief, we can sometimes think it is an independent act and choice of our own, which it is - but without co-operating with The Grace of Faith and belief offered in that process, it would be impossible to embrace the process. Once again, it is all on a supernatural level or beyond our grasping and understanding.

Take for example the religious I mentioned who experienced revulsion when at prayer in choir and felt a strong desire to just chuck her Office Book out the window in revulsion. That was all on her very human level; however, the fact that she rejected the feeling and though experience revulsion continued to attend choir as her Order’s Rule and horarium dictated, she was co-operating on a supernatural level with Grace present and offered.

I read a rather cute little article written by an Order priest and I only wish I had kept it on file. It ran something like this: its not about where our feelings might be so much as where our a** is firmly planted. :smiley: which is just the terms he used. In other words, its not so much about where our feelings are or are not, as about what we choose to do with those feelings or what we choose to be about in our life. What we choose is an act of our will either in response to Grace in all that is positive or good or other negative factors if we deliberately, consciously and knowingly choose to make negative (or bad) decisions.

I would talk to a doctor and make sure I am not depressed.

Also ask St. Francis de Sales for help…

Your friend in Jesus,

I know people want to give this the dark-night-of-the-soul treatment, but I don’t think that explains it. I’ve bolded the section that I think might be relavent.

I’ll try to be frank and sensitive here. Faith itself is a relationship that we have with God, and so the way you relate to people is going to carry over to how you relate to God (and vice versa).

So to try to figure out the problem relating to God, you’re going to have to look into your personal relationships and why you feel “distint” or “isolated”. I don’t want to speculate in a public forum (that would be uncharitable and presumptuous), but it might be a good idea to talk about how you feel with someone you trust (boyfriend, family, priest, counselor, whoever) and are willing to open up to.

Working on your personal relationships is going to have a carryover effect to how you relate to God, so if you take some time to look at those, it might help.

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