Feeling spiritually stuck

I have been examining my spiritual life lately, in light of the three stages of the interior life (purgative, illuminative, and unitive), I have asked Our Lord to give me humility and to make me a saint. As I have been examining my life, I have come to the understanding that I was not at the stage where I thought I was, and it was pride that made me think of my self holier than I should have. I have come to notice that I am at the purgative state still and have a deep longing in my soul to advance in my spirituality, be holier, and be closer to God.

I know that there isn’t anything that I can do that can make me holy, that comes from God, but, despite that I knew this mentally, I just came to that realization in my heart not too long ago. I have realized that with out God I am nothing and my life has absolutely no meaning whatsoever. At times, I do feel like the most miserable man on the planet and I see my own faults and weaknesses and I just come to the conclusion that I have nothing. There are times that I just feel stuck and I pray to God to help me overcome this and lead me where He wants me to go.

I have talked to my spiritual director about things that I have been going through, but I am not due to see him until January for my next appointment. I wanted to know if there are others that may have or are going through the same situation that I am going through. What have you done to find consolations and have helped you in your spiritual journey. Ultimately, I know that no matter what you do, it is God who freely gives this gift, but any advice that is grounded on the traditional (not New Age mumbo jumbo, yoga, centering prayer, etc) spirituality of the Catholic Church will help.

Hi rivera01,

Since we barely know each other on the internet, I will leave it to others who are better at it than I am to try and give you advice, especially as you seem more far advanced spiritually than I am … (although again, how can we judge such a thing over the internet?)

As for seeking consolations, though, I would think it’s better to simply keep up your prayer life faithfully … whether you are attending daily Mass, saying the Rosary, saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, praying some other favorite prayers of yours, reading the Bible, etc.

That said, here is something that happened to me once:

Several years ago, when I’d hit a really low point from being unemployed, I was reading about how Pope Benedict had just landed in Australia and that people were bringing him cats to borrow while he rested up in preparation for World Youth Day.

So I complained to the Lord, “How come the Pope gets all the cats he wants delivered to his door to comfort him? Where’s my cat?”

Several hours later that same day, right at dinner time, there came a loud, polite MEOW at my door …

Turns out the neighbor’s cat had pulled an escape, only at the time I had no idea who the cat belonged to. All I knew was that out of all the apartments in the complex, the cat had picked my door to make her presence known and ask for entrance.

I kept the cat overnight while making efforts to locate the owner, then going out and buying a litter box, kitty litter, a food and water dish, and cat food … Fortunately in the morning I heard the owner out in the hall looking for the cat, so there was a happy reunion.

Being able to borrow a cat meant so very much to me … To have a happy cat purring nearby for company, even for just one night.

~~ the phoenix

Just be yourself… Don’t become obsessed with your own shortcomings …
Pray,be good to your family… and be Humble in every way you can…

My advice is to re-read the bold statements above again, then explain how you are “stuck”…

Sounds like progress to me.

You are doing your best and that is all God want.

I laughed until I cried…that is very sweet, though. Are you unable to keep a cat of your own?

Prayer and fasting is a good aid in helping us to understand what it is that we should focus our attention on. Graces come from this, special graces because it demonstrates a person’s sincerity. But to be effective it needs to be done out of love for him and for others. Even partial fasting would help.

Dedicate your day to our blessed Lady, Our Lady of Grace, that she be your guiding star in the night. “…that anyone that came to you was left unaided…”.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

THIS . . . . :thumbsup:

This was my take too. Your realization of this is actually the progress that you seek.

One of the things that must be realized in the spiritual life is that as we get the big things more under control, the more subtle (and difficult) things begin to come forward. That is, they stand out more.
It’s like we walk into a room that is a total mess and start cleaning up. As we clear out and organized the big mess we see progress - until we step back for a moment - and then we see many more “smaller” messes.

Also - we need to recognize that in our journey there must be periods of rest and consolidation. During these periods we may not feel we are progressing because, as you point out, we still see these problem areas. Yest we can’t seem to get passed them.
Not to worry.
Such times are quite normal…The thing to do is to keep **doing[/d]. Rest in God for a time while you continue to employ those lessons and changes you have already incorporated.
In this it is like a Golfer who has taken several lessons but can’t really advance any further until he spends some time on the driving range just hitting balls until the things he has already learned become second nature.

In this - the time of year is fortuitous. Thanksgiving is near, Advent about to start - then the Christmas season. Great opportunities abound to show love and joy and to give great thanks to God for all His Love to us.


We are nothing without Him. Focus on our Lord’s Passion, look at Him, and that helps us to forget about ourselves.

Hi SecretaryMonday,

Good greetings to you. :slight_smile:

At that time, I had one set of reasons for not keeping a cat of my own … one of them being, I was unemployed and really wasn’t sure I could afford it. At this time, I still do not own a cat, for another set of reasons … Maybe someday.

Thank you for asking.

In any case, God’s Providence was evident … I had asked merely to borrow a cat like the Pope, not own a cat … and God provided a cat for me to borrow, not own.

And with all this said, as I expected, the other posters here are doing an excellent job of giving wise advice to the OP.

Prayers for all …


Like others have already said that your realization itself is a progress on the spiritual journey. Please keep in mind our journey is not straight forward. The purgative, illuminative, and unitive ways are not linear but going back and forth. It is not that one goes through the purgative phase then move to illuminative phase and then reach the unitive stage. They are most likely mingled together.

I used to examine my own progress and was eager to move forward. I set up my goals and faithfully work toward holiness. If I fell, I felt frustrated. But then I realize holiness and sainthood is a life time journey. It is better not to get anxious and ambitious but live my life the best every day.

Daily Mass, disciplined prayers, regular Bible and spiritual readings, frequent confession, doing God’s work, can all help. Stay recollected. Seek God’s will throughout the day. If you experience desolation, do as Mother Teresa said, “I loved the Lord in the night.”

God bless!

I like your story :D.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I will learn to rest in God and trust in what He will do in me.

Thank you rivera01,

Praying for you!


Your post could be mine as well. I often find myself wondering if I am moving forward or sliding back. A spiritual director can be of help. This is what I have noticed in my 56 years of life: Think of our spiritual lives as a spiral staircase. We circle around dealing with many of the same issues over and over again, but there is always growth as we come to realize that we are infallible people, loved by God. Continue your reflection on your spiritual life, but don’t become obsessed at trying to figure out where you are all the time. Turn that over to the Lord, and let Him look after that.

Be at peace.

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