Far away from my Lord


#1

What do you do when you realize how far away you are from God? I lead a sacramental life, I try to lead a good prayer life, and I am active with my parish – though, there are many more things I don’t do.

This isn’t the dark night: this is likely due to sin - sin which will be confessed, of course. But even confession won’t remove the realization that I am sinful, that sin is lodged deep in my heart, and that I’m more words than practice. I think that I’m a disgrace to the title “Christian,” much less “Catholic.”

I trust in God’s mercy, 'cause that’s all I’ve got, really - even though I find it difficult to trust in God especially when it comes to keeping from sin.

I guess all you can do is keep going. There’s no point in stopping. There’s no reason in getting off. This is all there is, so the hand must be put to the plow. It’s a process, not a one-night stand or even a prescribed dosage. It’s life and it’s a full-time job.

Just thinking out loud.


#2

Do you need anything more than God’s mercy? Is it not enough?

My dear friend, you are not in a lonely place as you may think you are. Quite to the contrary, you are in that most special and holiest of places - the place where Our Blessed Lord was the night before and during His Passion!

You find things difficult, yes, but the straight and narrow road is always fraught with difficulties. Rejoice in the fact that it is The Lord who is leading you down this most holiest of roads, for few are those who find it!

Follow Him! For He promised that He will never leave nor forsake you, but there is that real danger of forsaking Him simply because we don’t like the path He has chosen.


#3

Monk, you might ponder on Peter and Judas from the Gospels. Remember both betrayed Our Lord very seriously - Judas sold Him for money, Peter denied even knowing Him. In essence if not details their offence was the same.

What was the difference? Peter, it seems, trusted in Jesus’ unfailing mercy, repented, and was forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God. Judas, it seems equally, did not, and so died in his sins.


#4

As you say you live a Sacramental life,

A Mass offering
Jesus, during Mass I am sometimes distracted. Regardless I ask to be fully in Your presence. May the Holy Spirit, our Mother, all Saints and Angels, the souls in Purgatory, offer Mass with me, for sake of Your whole Mystical Body. Even at most aware, I feel deaf, dumb and blind regarding the Eucharist. Therefore, I surrender my being and life, and all persons for whom I pray, to Your ‘Amen’ within this Sacramental Sacrifice.

Jesus, as the Spirit transubstantiates bread into Your body, please also transform me into You! I feel ordinary and small, and others see me so. Yet I am full of the peace of knowing that in the presence of the Father, through the Holy Spirit, with the communion of Saints and Angels, You pray Your Eucharistic prayer of love, thanksgiving and salvation in us. Thank You Jesus for the gift of Eucharist, which is beyond human understanding and hope.

I seek Your Eucharistic prayer in each instant of my life. I seek it for praise and thanksgiving to the Trinity—for all the wishes of Your Heart, and for the hopes of the whole Mystical Body. I seek it for the purification, expansion, holiness and unity of Your Church. I seek it for priests, religious and for the entire human family. I seek it for justice, love and peace; for souls in purgatory; for my own dear ones.

…Eternal God, look at me, see Your Son, and answer all the wishes of His loving heart in me and in those whom He longs to bless through me. Thank You for Him and for the Spirit who brings Him to me and me to Him. Thank You for giving me opportunity and faith to live a Eucharistic life—for others’ benefit, and mine. I want to respond wholeheartedly to this extraordinary gift of Eucharist and Communion.


#5

And what Lily and wxboss say, holiness is about God,
while trying, and trusting, as you say, is what we do.

Our God, I pray and trust that You pray powerfully in me for the salvation and welfare of each person throughout time as if I loved him or her unconditionally. Through Jesus and through Heaven, I offer to God all good thoughts, acts and achievements, all grief, anxiety, frustration, discomfort of each person, of each creature throughout time.

Our God, You know that I deeply regret my sins and failures. You know that I am often saddened by my mistakes and inability to achieve much that might please You or bless others. Yet You know my resurgent desire to live Your commandments of love for God, for others and for myself as You love me. I know that You pardon my sins and heal the damage they cause.

I know that, in response to my prayer, You love and delight Yourself in me who seems intrinsically unimportant, one of countless billions of average persons throughout time. I know that in Your merciful love, You give me true faith in You and true knowledge of You; You make me a living tabernacle, an overflowing chalice of Your love, a powerhouse of prayer, and an open doorway to God for others.

I know these things…for “God is asking me, the unworthy, to forget my unworthiness and that of my brothers, and to dare to advance in the love which has redeemed and renewed us all in God’s likeness…to laugh, after all, at the preposterous idea of ‘worthiness’” Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton. I know these things of Your great LOVE in whom “everything is possible”.


#6

The Cross of my life
Jesus, my cross is sorrow for others in their anxieties and afflictions, and in the limited help and comfort that I can give them. The nails are my mistakes and inadequacies that distress or fail others. No sooner do I inhale the breath of Your grace for others than it fouls with my failings. I must again drag up on my nailed wrists and push up upon my transfixed feet, in order to exhale the vapour of lukewarmness and sinfulness—so once again to draw in Your grace.

The faults that characterise much of my life, scourge my soul until it is bruised and faint, sapping my hope and faith. Acts devoid of generous love lash into the wholeness of Your image in me. I am sick with hunger, for I accept too little food of loving, sharing and serving in each moment of Your offering. My hunger is the more intense because others may suffer deprivation for my omissions and sinfulness.

A crown of idle thoughts, and words, of prayer neglected, of reparation postponed, of temptation undefeated, binds up my head with wounds. My inconstancy and unlove are my nakedness. The taunts are my lack of witness of Christ. My every nerve is pain, and it pours from my body in stinging sweat of regret. My lack of love makes my soul a living wound—at times benumbed, or raw with returning consciousness. Repeatedly I seek to escape this crucifixion, but I remain nailed to my weakness, fighting for hope and trust.

“Why do You abandon me, Lord?” Yet not You! Why do You allow me repeatedly to abandon You, in this lingering death of my faults and negligence! Yet, Jesus, because of Your mercy I affirm faith in Your love that brings marvellous blessing out of wretchedness, failure and sin. I cannot transform or resurrect myself, Jesus, but I offer You all that constitutes me, humbly asking that You will do what I cannot.

I give my self, crucified in its egoism and materialism, its pride and disobedience, its unbelief, unlove and ingratitude. Offer it to the Father with Your own crucifixion, so that in You I die to all these imperfections and rise again with You forever in the love and life of the Holy Spirit. Your mercy thereby draws many souls after me. Thank You, Jesus for this resurrection that You share with us.


#7

Jesus says, “I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” [Luke18: 17]

Therese of Lisieux elucidates how to live as child before God. “The only way to advance rapidly in the path of love is to always remain very little” “‘Remaining little’ means—to recognise ones nothingness, to await everything from the goodness of God, to avoid being much troubled at our faults; finally, not to be worried about amassing spiritual riches.” “There is but one means of compelling God not to judge us, and it is—to appear before Him empty-handed…spend your treasures as you gain them…All my earnings [merits] are spent immediately on the ransom of souls…Our Lord is justice Himself, and if He does not judge our good actions, neither will He judge our bad ones.”

In response to a novice who was discouraged by her faults, Therese said, “***You make me think of a little child that is learning to stand but does not know how to walk. In his desire to reach to top of the stairs to find his mother, he lifts his little foot to climb the first step. It is all in vain, and at each renewed effort he falls.” “Well, be like that little child. Always keep lifting your foot to climb the ladder of holiness, and do not imagine that you can mount even the first step. All God asks of you is good will. From the top of the ladder, He looks lovingly upon you, and soon, touched by your fruitful efforts, He will Himself come down, and taking you in His arms, will carry you to His Kingdom never again to leave Him. But should you cease to raise your foot, you will be left for long on the earth.” ***
To another, Therese said, “***You want to climb the mountain, whereas God wishes you to descend it. He is awaiting you in the valley of humility.” “It seems to me that humility is truth ***(honesty).” “If the greatest sinner should repent at the moment of his death, and draw his last breath in an act of love, neither the many graces he had abused, nor the multiplied crimes he had committed, would stand in his way. Our Lord would see nothing, count nothing, but the sinner’s last prayer, and without delay He would receive him into the arms of His mercy.”


#8

“You are God’s beloved called to be saints.” [Romans 1:7] Therefore our God: “Open to me the gates of holiness, I will enter and give thanks. This is the Lord’s own gate where the just may enter. I will thank You, for You have answered and You are my Saviour.” [Psalm 118:19-21] “***It is God’s will that you grow in holi***ness.” [1Thessalonians 4:3]

Jesus, in Your desire for our personal and communal holiness in living the gospel, You taught us, “Your light must shine in the sight of others, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16] You desire us not to obscure Your light in us. Therefore, to allow Your light to shine out from one’s life does not represent a display of pride. The light of Your love most clearly manifests in humble hearts that joyfully acknowledge that all goodness—all loving kindness—comes from You. “If anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.” [Jeremiah 9:22]

We may feel doubtful and discouraged regarding our call to be saints, knowing how far from the reality we seem to others and to ourselves, yet most of us have little experience of how God perceives us. Therefore Jesus, give us trust to respond fully to the Spirit that shines through us before others. You encourage us to allow this radiant presence of the Spirit, saying, “If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of individuals, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.” [Matthew 10:32]

In accepting Your call to wholeness, we choose to love You above all and other persons as ourselves. This call requires us to take up our personal cross and follow You in love, prayer, and service of others. Therefore, it is not arrogant to seek sanctity, for to be truly holy means to be genuinely human. What is truly human is our creation in God’s image. Sin and indifference injures the fullness of our humanity.

Saint Therese of Lisieux encourages us in our attempts towards holiness in our vocation to love and serve. Of her own response to the call, she wrote, “This desire could certainly appear daring if one were to consider how weak and imperfect I was, and how after seven years in the religious life, I am still weak and imperfect. I always feel, however, the same bold confidence of becoming a great saint because I do not count on my own merits since I have none, but I trust in God who is Virtue and Holiness. God alone, content with my weak efforts, will raise me to Himself and make me a saint, clothing me in His infinite merits. I didn’t think then that one had to suffer very much to reach sanctity, but God was not long in showing me this was so and in sending me the trials I have already mentioned.” Therese remarked that such holiness may “not be evident to the eyes of mortals.”

We draw hope from this saint of ‘the consecrated ordinary’, whom Pope John Paul 2 declared a Doctor of the Church on October 19, 1997. Many Sisters in her Carmelite community were unaware of the holiness of her ‘ordinary’ deeds of kindness, and doubted that anything worthwhile could appear in her obituary circular. I implore God for ‘everyday’ love and trust such as Therese maintained before temptations of doubt and suffering. Like her, in ordinariness made holy by union with Jesus our God who lived ‘the ordinary life’, we must become shining lights in an era when disbelief, humanism and self-absorption prevail.

We ask God to give us dynamic confidence that holiness is not reserved for a favoured few. As Saint Paul taught, “each soul is God’s favourite” and God desires fulfilment of each person’s call to love God above all and others as self. Every person has a unique vocation and purpose, intended to enrich each other person’s soul for all eternity.


#9

Faith is like a diet or exercise. It is done in very small steps. I’m reminded of the Third Luminous Mystery of the rosary – His Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven and a Call to Conversion. I pray that every day for the the strength to live a little more for His kingdom and a little less in a world of win. Conversion isn’t something that happens instantly, but is a lifelong process. So keep at it. Even if it doesn’t seem like you’re getting anywhere in the war, win the small battles.


#10

you arent kidding, i do the best i can but i fail, everyday. its a constant struggle, temptation is everywhere, but to give up is unthinkable, failure is unavoidable, but a week without Confession and the Eucharist is so much worse.:blush:


#11

Why don’t you first pray an Act of Contrition which you can find here:

ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/contrit.htm

And then go to confession. You can also pray to God about why you feel this way. Mention it to your priest during confession as well. He should be able to help you. :slight_smile:


#12

[quote=LilyM]Monk, you might ponder on Peter and Judas from the Gospels. Remember both betrayed Our Lord very seriously - Judas sold Him for money, Peter denied even knowing Him. In essence if not details their offence was the same.

What was the difference? Peter, it seems, trusted in Jesus’ unfailing mercy, repented, and was forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God. Judas, it seems equally, did not, and so died in his sins.
[/quote]

I don’t doubt in God’s mercy, nor do I doubt in His love for me. And this isn’t some “dark night.” I’m quite sure of that. Someone like me with my lifestyle doesn’t deserve a dark night of anything. What it amounts to, though, is that I don’t love the Lord as I should, as evidenced by my willingness to give in so easily to the temptation of sin, in addition to my unwillingness to do whatever it takes to save my soul, such as acts of mortification and penance (e.g., fasting), so I know that if I go to Hell then it’s because I’ve sent myself there. Change and conversion must come from within, so therefore I’ve reached a dead end.

I will still pray, I will still try to pray the rosary (I’ve got a new one coming from the Sisters of Carmel, which is exciting), I will still go to Mass as often as I can, and I’ll still read some spiritual literature. Maybe I do all of this too much, as is - I don’t know. Either way, there’s not an ounce of me that believes I’m deserving of Heaven or Purgatory, given I’m a ball of selfishness who gives in to the passions. And yet I don’t want to change, so how can I say I love the Lord? - because I don’t. St James says, “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.”

I’m a nominal Catholic, at best.


#13

What makes you say you don’t want to change? Your average person (even your average Catholic) certainly wouldn’t bother coming here to discuss their concerns or learn more about their faith as you have done. Nor would they do as much by way of prayer etc as you. That you would take these steps says much about your willingness to grow and learn - and change.

You may not fast from food - do you practice self-denial in other ways? Anyone at all who lives and works with other people does, on a daily basis. We all do things for the sake of our parents, partners, children, work colleagues, after all, that are to our own cost in different ways. And that is the essence of self-mortification - not letting your own desires be your sole rule of life.

Deserving of Heaven or Purgatory? None of us, not even the saintliest, is in any sense deserving of them. We are all tainted by original sin, and this natural state which all bar the Blessed Mother and Our Lord are in, makes all of us unworthy. In fact I dare say Mary herself was unworthy as well, she was a specially chosen and protected vessel after all.

Paul called himself chief of all sinners - and this was after his call to be an Apostle, not before. He too complained of how often he did that which he didn’t want to do (ie sin) and didn’t do that which he did want to do (ie good things). And yet he is among the saints in glory at this moment!

Point is there are those who get there anyway - why not you? Our Lord is not one whit less desirous or less capable of bringing you to heaven than St Peter, St Paul, or the Blessed Mother, nor any less capable of giving you the graces necessary to get you there along with the power to use those graces. Just believe that He wants to give salvation to you, and ask for it. And I’m sorry to disagree with you, but you do seem to be having very strong doubts in these regards.

Among all your spiritual practices - please tell me you receive Communion as often as you are able (ie when you have no mortal sin on your conscience). There is nothing the Devil would like better than for you to unnecessarily deprive yourself of the grace of this sacrament, after all.


#14

Monkciate,

I think you answered your own question when you said,

:slight_smile:

You might like this Q&A blog post from Fr. John Bartunek.:

How do I get rid of my “inner ugliness?”

Q: Fr John, I have been struggling with some interior trials with forgiveness, resentment and jealousy. I call this “inner ugliness.” I have been praying fervently, going to confession, and receiving excellent spiritual direction. I have been willing myself to be charitable even when I am not feeling it. So here is my question. What am I missing, why do I still feel “inner ugly”? How do I let go of all of this?

A: OK, brace yourself for this really blunt answer: You still feel “inner ugly” because you still are “inner ugly” – at least partially. Let’s be blunt again: It’s obvious from your question that you feel frustration at the stubborn persistence of some of your faults, in spite of your efforts to extricate them. Where does that frustration come from? Does it come from God? Is God frustrated with you because you aren’t perfect yet? Is he up in heaven tapping his watch and raising his eyebrows? Not a chance. Let me tell you, as a Catholic priest, that he is OVERJOYED with the fact that you have followed his nudges and made your way through the wilderness of our secular society onto the one path of holiness. Yes, you are on the path of holiness; you are on the “steep road” and passing through the “narrow gate” (Matthew 7:13) that lead to salvation, wisdom, Christian joy, everlasting fruitfulness, and eternal beauty. He has been trying to convince you to get onto that path for a while, most likely. Now you are there, and you are traveling it, and you are following the road signs (prayer, confession, spiritual direction… Heck, you’re in the fast lane!), and he is delighted!

So, if your frustration doesn’t come from God, where does it come from? I am sure you have already guessed it: your pride. You want God to go at your pace, but God is not always going to go at your pace. He knows better; he is going to go at his pace, and we (all of us) need to learn to follow that pace. If not, we will never grow in humility, the bedrock of all holiness and true happiness.

>>Read more


#15

Jesus fell during His Passion, and He rises with you. You, too, will rise with Him on the last day. Ask Him for more trust.


#16

Hi, I sympathize with you. Nothing anybody says will make you feel better unless you start to break away from your sins the best you can. If you live all the sacraments but do not change your life, you will not feel better, for the sins that haunt you are still living in your soul.

Would you rather die than commit the same sins again? If you have this kind of desire, the sins will be powerless to tempt you. Of course we fall and fall, but if we truly truly do not want to offend our Lord again, we will gradually or suddenly, however God’s grace helps us to do it, break from our sins.

Father Benedict Groeschel says, the way to get better is to get better. So please try to make up your mind to follow the Lord. Try your best to quit bad habits. Seek help if you need it. Weep in the presence of the Lord and ask Him to give you a true love for Him.

Pray the Stations of the Cross. Look at Jesus on the crucifix.

The Lord is not angry with you. He is trying to get your attention and direct you on the right course. Therefore, have hope and be brave!


#17

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.