Feelings and the spiritual life


#1

Lately I’ve struggled with a lot of uneasiness that makes me fear that I’ve offended God in some way. I’ve had temptations and I’m worried that maybe I consented in my will or mind to them even though I tried everything to not give in to them but at the time I still had such strong desires that I didn’t want to have and wanted to go away. What do you make of such feelings and interior experiences? I know many of the Saints endured such things. Is it a suffering to endure and to offer to Our Lord in love of Him? Is it a problem with me? Could it be I have offended Him even if I am not sure how? I do tend toward scrupulosity so that may be a part of it. Any advice?

I often think we Christians ought to always have a felt, interior peace and calm with no uneasiness interiorly. Maybe that is residue from when I was Protestant.

Pax Christi tecum.


#2

You know that to commit a sin, we must knowingly and willingly consent to something that we believe/know to be a sin. If you haven’t done that, you haven’t sinned. If you don’t and you haven’t met those conditions, then you are simply battling with human weakness and human reality.

Some vague or some persistent idea that you may have done something to offend God can be just emotional difficulty, or even as you suggest, some degree of scrupulous response to the very uncomfortable issue of stong temptation. Temptation can leave you feeling yuk, but it isn’t sin if you’ve not given that willing consent.

The following scripture is encouraging as it promises that our genuine gospel charity towards other people is not only beneficial to others but also to ourselves.
“Cease to do evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, and plead for the widow. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”


#3

Thank you Trishie for your wise and very accurate advice. Have you ever experienced temptations that “feel” as if you must have consented? Does that make sense? Can a temptation just seem that way?

Pax Christi tecum.


#4

Yes I have. And I’ve gone through some of the doubts and fear you mentioned!
And sometimes it’s very difficult to pull back from some temptations. It’s distressing. Yes, I do understand.
I’ve felt bad at such times, but you just try to remember what actually constitutes consented sin, and speak to Jesus about it all. I turn to Jesus at such times, sometimes with tears. I think one is very raw and open to Him at such times. But it does get easier, because you become more aware of His mercy and love and that He is there. And with time you do begin to feel grateful that though you came close to sinning, you didn’t.


#5

Thank you Trishie. Sometimes I think we just need help making our way through all these things, knowing what is sin and what isn’t, knowing what is just something Jesus is allowing us to suffer versus something we’ve done that offends Him. And I agree, we are very raw and open to Him in times such as this when we see how frail, how miserable we are without Him and how every good thing, every good work, every thing we do or think or say that pleases Him is given to us from Him. And we see how much He loves us when He does keep us from sin and from offending Him. I think that it only serves to help us have more confidence and trust in His Divine Mercy and Love! He is amazing, how He can love such poor, miserable sinners who are so undeserving of such eternal, beautiful and all-consuming love and mercy! May he receive all praise and glory now and always.

Thank you so much for your words Trishie. They’ve helped me a lot to not fear and to not doubt even when feelings deceive and cause difficulties.

Pax Christi tecum.


#6

Is there a decision that you need to make about something in your life? It is only after making a decision in accordance with God’s will that the uneasy feelings that I may be having dissipates and I experience His peace beyond understanding.
I have also gone through periods of time when I have gone through shaky uneasy feelings. These generally came before a major change in my life. I have come to recognize when this is happening and the shakiness and anxiety is not so great.
You are the only person who knows what is happening in your own life. Emotions act like a barometer. Sometimes the only way to discover what your emotions are trying to say is to allow yourself some time and the freedom to "sink into the feelings."
In times of great distress, I could not express in words what I was experiencing. I allowed myself to write. This is when I would most often journal allowing all my anger and pain to be expressed and released in a safe environment. It is from there that I could bring my experiences, my feelings into prayer and hear what God had for me.
God Bless.


#7

Well I am battling with some habitual mortal sin from my past and experience temptations in that manner so I don’t know if part of it is just uneasiness about the change in my heart, about a change in desires? I want to do everything pleases my Lord and to flee from all that offends Him, by His strength and grace, but I still experience the temptations, which can be fairly difficult. Other than that I am just trying to solidify my spiritual life, to make God everything and to turn from loving the things of the world. Maybe that is all part of it…?

I am also prayerfully discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life so I don’t know if that may be involved.

Pax Christi tecum.


#8

Temptations in and of themselves are not sinful. We know that Christ was tempted by Satan. Yet, we are weak humans and without the strength of God, we often succumb to those temptations.
You can take those temptations into the Sacrament of Reconciliation. "Bless me Father, for I have sinned. At the moment I am unaware of any particular sin which I have committed, however, I struggle in this area and/or with these temptations… " You can take it further and talk about your fear of succumbing. The main thing you are seeking is forgiveness of any sin for which you may be unaware (The righteous man sins seven times a day) as well as the necessary strength and courage to defend yourself against the temptations (sinful inclinations) you are facing.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a Sacrament of Healing God’s grace will give you the strength and courage you need.
I hope this helps with your struggles.
You may well be in the midst of a spiritual battle, another reason to seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We only need to seek the Sacrament if we do have a mortal sin on our soul. It was a parish priest, now retired, who first recommended monthly confession. These are often referred to as devotional confessions. If we are frequently receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is unlikely that we will have a mortal sin on our soul. That being the case, I learned from a different priest while participating in a Day of Renewal to bring the most serious issue with which we may be dealing into the confessional. “Just tell me one sin” was his recommendation. The line becomes long when everybody wants to make a confession and there is only so much time.
I also know not to overuse the confessional to avoid falling into scrupulousity.
I have a number of impediments which only God can remove which keep me from seeking religious life. They were reasons for seeking spiritual direction when I started getting “nun thoughts.”


#9

If something we do or think is bothering us, there may be something wrong with it. Investigate it. Look it up in the catechism. It may be that our concious is not informed enough to know it is wrong, but informed enough to cause us to question.

If something seems wrong, it may be. Check it out.

If it is wrong, change our lives to become more holy.

I have summarized what the catechism says about the 10 commandments on this web page.


#10

I agree.
I can speak from my own experience regardling feelings of anger. There have been times when I have experienced anger without knowing why. There have even been times when I have exploded without knowing why. There are times when we need to withdraw into ourselves and exam the reasons behind the emotions that we may be feeling. The emotions themselves are not bad. It is our response that may be sinful.
Suppressing those emotions leads to depression and implosion to physical ailments.


#11

The problem is I’ve been trying to figure out what I am doing that is wrong or what is causing it. I don’t know. I don’t even know the feeling, it is just sort of uneasiness and lack of peace. All I know to do is endure it, offer it to Jesus and ask Him to save me. Not sure how to know what it is from…

Pax Christi tecum.


#12

Is the feeling like a foreboding?
I ask that not to give a name to your feeling, but rather as a reference to an earlier post. I have experienced emotional and physical symptons before life changing events in my life. For a while it seems these were occurring once every three years so I came to recognize and prepare myself for the upcoming change. I have even recently become aware of this “change is in the air.” Of course I am in school and this can be a underlying factor. One more year.


#13

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