Getting rid of "inner ugliness"


Excellent advice from Fr. John Bartunek on the RC Spiritual Direction blog:

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.

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Thank you for this.

I needed it, especially today :slight_smile:


beckymarie… AWESOME. Thank you so much, for sharing this. It is very helpful. God bless you.

MV :thankyou:


Thank you !

I needed to read that.


That whole blog is fantastic all the time. What a treasure!



Thanks for the post here and please tell your friends! If you were not aware, my signature below points to the new version of the blog. God bless.


Thanks for that post. Very helpful.


Interesting how much interest this post has generated. It is one of the top posts for responses already.


This advice is exactly what many of us need to hear. This frustration with ourselves when we discover we are imperfect (or even self-loathing in extreme cases) is not humility, but a symptom of pride.

St. Therese of Lisieux teaches us that being humble and “little” involves the loving acceptance of our imperfections:

However, according to her [St. Therese], humility must not consist in the mere acceptance of our state of dependence and incapacity. We must love to see ourselves as we truly are. We must bear the imperfections that are inherent in our nature; be happy to see ever more clearly how wretched is our condition; we must even will to become ever more little.

To discover those deficiencies in ourselves does not mean that we have created them. They were in us but we had failed to notice them. Our discovery of them has only given us a better understanding of our true condition. Now, the better we know ourselves, accepting to see ourselves as we truly are, and the more truthful we are with ourselves, the more pleasing shall we be to God; and we shall also be more ready for the workings in us of God’s merciful Love.

Source: Fr. Francois Jamart, O.C.D. Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St. Therese of Lisieux p. 36


Not to hijack my own thread, but CatholicSpiritualDirection is a nominee for “Most Spiritual Blog” by the Catholic New Media Awards. :slight_smile:

See the nominees here:

Voting is happening now.


Wow, beckymarie, that is one DANGEROUS link. If I started clicking on those blogs, I’d NEVER get anything done. Even worse than now.



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