faithless


#1

Hi,

Has anyone ever felt like they have lost their faith?
I don’t mean not believing in Jesus more like feeling your faith was so much stronger before and now you have no faith left.
I’ve been feeling this way for ages. I’ve tried all sorts but still feel faithless. It makes me feel lost and deflated at times.
The only thing that seems to help is spending time at the crucifix as we have one in our church that you can kneel at. But its not enough I want back the faith I had before and no matter how hard I try I can’t feel it.

Albany
Xx


#2

Tell us about the faith you had before. :slight_smile:


#3

Ok its hard to describe these things but ill try.

I felt grateful for everything Jesus gives me. I felt peaceful and that came through when I interacted with people.
I felt strong and would do or try things even if they scared me because I felt that I could. I was conscious of my actions and being good to others. It was tough at times but so good.

Now I can’t be bothered being like that not cause I don’t love Jesus I don’t really know why I just am like this now.

I’m not depressed though I work and go out and sociallise I just want back the faith I’ve lost along the way.

Its the best I can describe it sorry if it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

A
Xx


#4

Hi Albany. It is interesting to hear the examples you had while you still ‘had faith’ and now when you seem to lose it. If I were you I would not be too worry as this phenomenon is quite common. I would liken it to something like being ‘Spirit-filled’ when you were on a high with the spirit and being dry when you are low respectively. That may not the correct words for you and you may disagree with it but I think it is quite close. Saints also do experience ‘dry spell’ in their lives when God seems to be so far away and when you do not feel very enthusiastic about God. St John the Cross called it the Dark Night of the Soul and Mother Teresa would tell us that she also had this experience, in fact for a prolonged period of time. For me, the dry spell has become a matter of commonality rather than an exception.

I think the answer for that would be to persevere. Keep on praying and does the thing that God wants us to even though we don’t feel like it or find doing them seem to be very sterile and meaningless. Like Mother Teresa said, it is not success that God wants from us but faithfulness. In our perseverance we may discover the faith (being Spirit-filled) once again. That’s how we keep on going.

God bless.


#5

Thanks Reuben at least its not just me. I just miss the faith so much and would do anything to get it back. I feel like I’ve let Jesus down because I’m not as good a person as I had been. I worry to that ill fall away completely depending on how life turns out for me. Its hard also as my grandparents were catholic but my parents no longer fallow the faith and none of my friends do either. Although I used to like that cause it used to make me feel unique when I had faith but now I feel like missing mass constantly cause I can’t be bothered.

Thanks again for your reply and ill try and hang on in there.

A
Xx


#6

I love listening to Mother Angelica. Her videos are online. Maybe you could try listening;
youtube.com/watch?v=GVykI_ZoC6g&NR=1&feature=endscreen
:)


#7

[quote="Albany, post:1, topic:308145"]
Hi,

Has anyone ever felt like they have lost their faith?
I don't mean not believing in Jesus more like feeling your faith was so much stronger before and now you have no faith left.
I've been feeling this way for ages. I've tried all sorts but still feel faithless. It makes me feel lost and deflated at times.
The only thing that seems to help is spending time at the crucifix as we have one in our church that you can kneel at. But its not enough I want back the faith I had before and no matter how hard I try I can't feel it.

Albany
Xx

[/quote]

Well the thing about Faith is that we often base it on feelings or emotions when we shouldn't. Faith is acting on what we know, not what we feel. Faith is like muscle, it won't grow unless we exercise it. When we pray for an increase in Faith the Lord leads us into "the desert". He doesn't leave us, in fact it is during these times when He is actually closest to us, but he allows us to flail around without the comfort of emotional, warm and fuzzy feelings we enjoy when we are feeling all holy. The bible is full of stories of "faith crisises" and people calling out to God from the depths of their deserts. So be assured that even though you feel alone the Holy Spirit is with you and working in you. The Lord will bring you out when He wants and you will be spiritually stronger. You have prayed for a deepening of Faith and the desert is an answer to your prayer, so don't despair and keep praising God even if your prayers feel empty. They're not!


#8

When you have dry spells, just remember Job!
If you haven't read the Book of Job, get out your Bible and read it; it's also considered a plenary indulgence in you read scripture for thirty minutes or more, I think.
Also look at Psalm 88, written by a man named Hamen.

Job was put through all sorts of horrible things, but he trusted God and wouldn't let go of his faith. Hamen in Psalm 88 prays day and night to God, yet God won't answer him. He still doesn't stop praying.

When I have dry spells, I try to remember Job and Hamen. Our faith is tested continually; real love involves suffering and hardship, and God asks us to persevere, to keep our faith even in times of trouble. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. God is continually loving us, and He's always with us, even when we're being tested. As St. Therese wrote in her autobiography, "God loves the most those whom He tries the most."

It's not fun, but suffering is the test of true love. When you really love someone, you won't walk away. Jesus did that for us; He was scared, but He didn't walk away. He suffered on the cross, because that's what real love is—enduring and selfless, even to the pint of death. Hang on, and don't let go! Remember Job and Hamen! Remember Jesus! Remember that God is loving you, even in times of spiritual dryness and pain. Just trust Him. It will be okay.

I'll be praying for you!


#9

Let me ask you, what was the reason you had faith to begin with?

Jim


#10

I too struggle with those empty feelings sometimes…but try to remember that faith has nothing to do with feelings…no where in the Catechism…does it speak of faith and feelings…recommend CCC # 166-175…the “in brief” summary is below.

C.S. Lewis’ prescription for Love…also works for Faith…

“Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we** find one of the great secrets**. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.”

For me…the easiest way to “act” as if my faith is alive and vibrant…is to act…to do the things…as if I “felt”… it was alive and vibrant…this is especially true and immediate …by joining in as much as I can with The Church…liturgies (Mass, Life of Saint on Feast/Memorial, Divine Office, Confession…if a Baptism is occurring…I go sit in the back…out of the family/guest area…and pray the sacrament prayers and think about the infinite invisible reality…the action of Christ and the Holy Spirit in this Sacrament)…devotions (Adoration, Rosary, Divine Mercy, praying for those who will die this day…this night…praying for Souls in Purgatory…etc)…Catholicity – Universality–(read something of Pope B-XVI…recent homily, Audience message, monthly intentions, news of Church especially in far away places…to connect (outside of Liturgies) to the Universal Body of Christ especially where the Church is suffering…members of The Body are really suffering…persecuted…dying)….Priority for the least among us (make a charitable donation online to a favorite charity)…Fasting (quickens my sorrow for my sins and quickens my heart for those who are least among us). All this makes my “self-type-feelings” very small and explodes my “The Other & others-type- feelings”…

C.S. Lewis’ formula….act as if you do…you will then come to be…what your actions profess…always…and I mean always…this works for me…in both Love and Faith…but only…because/with/in…the graces of God…in the Holy Spirit…through Our Lord Jesus Christ…to/for…the Glory of The Father.

For your consideration,
Pax Christi

IN BRIEF

176 Faith is a personal adherence of the whole man to God who reveals himself. It involves an assent of the intellect and will to the self-revelation God has made through his deeds and words.

177 “To believe” has thus a twofold reference: to the person, and to the truth: to the truth, by trust in the person who bears witness to it.

178 We must believe in no one but God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

179 Faith is a supernatural gift from God. In order to believe, man needs the interior helps of the Holy Spirit.

180 "Believing" is a human act, conscious and free, corresponding to the dignity of the human person.

181 "Believing" is an ecclesial act. The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers. “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother” (St. Cyprian, De unit. 6: PL 4, 519).

182 We believe all “that which is contained in the word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church proposes for belief as divinely revealed” (Paul VI, CPG § 20).

183 Faith is necessary for salvation. The Lord himself affirms: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:16).

184 “Faith is a foretaste of the knowledge that will make us blessed in the life to come” (St. Thomas Aquinas. Comp. theol. 1, 2).


#11

Lancer is right. Our faith is not based on feelings, but the truth of God and His love. We believe because we know it’s right, not because we feel it is. Don’t forget about the Eucharist—the Blessed Sacrament is physical proof that God loves you, regardless of how you feel. Our feelings do not change the fact that Jesus loves us.


#12

[quote="classica87, post:11, topic:308145"]
Lancer is right. Our faith is not based on feelings, but the truth of God and His love. We believe because we know it's right, not because we feel it is. Don't forget about the Eucharist—the Blessed Sacrament is physical proof that God loves you, regardless of how you feel. Our feelings do not change the fact that Jesus loves us.

[/quote]

But faith in Jesus Christ is the experience of his Being revealed in our lives and we feel his presence and divine love.

Without feelings, faith wouldn't be anything more than belief, and even Satan believes in God.

Jim


#13

Yes even Satan believes in God - but I believe the important missing element is not feelings, but the free decision of the will to respond to God.

I think the word “faith” in the theological sense means more than intellectual assent. I heard once that in the Greek language of the New Testament, the word which we translate as “faith” also means “faithfulness”. It is a complete response of the person to God’s initiative, not just agreeing with a statement.


#14

I like that!
:thumbsup:
You never know how many lurkers you are helping.


#15

[quote="louisak, post:13, topic:308145"]
Yes even Satan believes in God - but I believe the important missing element is not feelings, but the free decision of the will to respond to God.

I think the word "faith" in the theological sense means more than intellectual assent. I heard once that in the Greek language of the New Testament, the word which we translate as "faith" also means "faithfulness". It is a complete response of the person to God's initiative, not just agreeing with a statement.

[/quote]

Faith is the revelation of God to a person, however that may happen. That revelation comes with profound feelings of love, compassion and joy, which of course is what we feel.

However, as one is first touched by divine love, they will go out searching for more of God, and here and there, find him. But in time, the consolations, that is the feeling of God's divine presence, begins to dry up, also known as the dark night of the soul.

But this happens to a person who is mature enough in faith that they know that it is not the consolations they now seek from God, but God himself, because he is God.

Either way, we are human beings with emotions, and the idea that faith has nothing to do with feelings, is not real.

Jim


#16

You are welcome.:slight_smile: I am encouraged for you and it is a good sign that you are aware of your spiritual state. I gather that your parents are Catholics but are not practicing. I think that makes all the more for you to persevere like attending mass regularly and to live out the faith. I mean the teaching of the Gospel. Sometimes children are the greatest evangelists for parents.

God bless you in your journey of faith.


#17

I didn’t mean to imply that faith didn’t need feelings at all, only that our feelings don’t change the truth of the existence of God and His relationship with us. Yes, feelings are absolutely important. Faith is a whole response to the truth of God’s existence, and that includes emotions.

Yes, you are right. Even Satan believes in God. But St. James reminds us that we differ from Satan because we respond to God, and give proof of our faith in what we do. Humans are emotional, and as such our emotions are definitely important and necessary in our relationship with God and how we respond to Him. Sometimes we don’t feel anything, though. That’s when we have to trust God, know He loves us, and keep trudging on.

I was honestly offended Jim; your post was scathing and hurtful to me. It sounded as if you were saying my faith was not “good enough.” Faith does have plenty to do with feelings, but our hearts are deceitful, and we can’t allow our feelings to sway our beliefs. I follow God because I love Him, but when I experience great sorrow, I can’t allow my emotions to dictate my relationship with God. Faith is emotional, but it’s also logical.

Sorry to get off-topic, OP. And sorry for the rant, Jim. I just felt as if you misunderstood my post.


#18

classica87

I was honestly offended Jim; your post was scathing and hurtful to me. It sounded as if you were saying my faith was not "good enough.".

My apologies. It was not my intent to offend you, nor do I think anything I posted should've offended you.

However, it struck a nerve and you feel offended, and for this I'm sorry.

Jim


#19

Albany,
You’ve had so many good thoughts to help you and I hesitate to offer any more because it might be an overload. But Just quickly one last idea.

Just kneel before the crucifix, at home or in church. Gaze upon your lover in silence.

Just a suggestion.


#20

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