God's greatness and our sins

Hi :slight_smile:

I’m not quite sure how to ask this question… I’m going to ask a priest about it tomorrow, but I thought we can also discuss it here.

last night, something really strange happened to me. I was thinking about God and suddenly realized how great and powerful He is, and how insignificant I am compared to His divinity. All of a sudden I felt so small, and really ashamed of my sins. But I also felt a lot of fear. I felt that if I were to appear before God right now, and see His holiness and righteousness, I wouldn’t be able to stand not just because of reverence but because of fear and because of my sins. I don’t know if this is because I haven’t been to Confession yet (I’m going tomorrow.) But afterwards, I had (am still having) a really hard time understanding salvation and God’s mercy. I see that we can only go to Heaven through His grace, - He needs to change us, because if we were to appear before Him as we are with our sins we wouldn’t be able to stand His presence. That was made really clear to me yesterday, - I don’t know if the experience was from God, but it really affected me. I feel like we have SUCH a great need to repent… Christ and repentance is literally our only hope. When I think of Christ, I feel like the Incarnation is such a gift - we would never be able to relate to God at all if He had not become human… He is so infinitely greater than we are, - and I’ve always believed this, but I only realized it yesterday. But even when I think of Christ and His humanity, I then remember His divinity and feel afraid again. I can’t even understand how we can receive the Eucharist, where God is fully present.

but right now, I’m having a lot of trouble understanding why I felt so much fear when I realized all this…why I really felt that if I were to see God at the moment, it would be a terrifying experience. I thought that because our sins are forgiven, we can appear before God and love Him, even though we see His majesty? or maybe I just need to go to Confession?

do you know of any Saints who experienced something similar?

CS Lewis said:

“Another possible objection is this. Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else–something it never entered your head to conceive – comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.”

it really worries me that I felt so much fear and like I wouldn’t be able to be in God’s presence. I dont know…maybe this means I need Confession, or Purgatory, but I’m really afraid of hell right now. Even when my sins will be forgiven, wouldn’t even the memory of them torment me if i’m in God’s presence? I’m going through something very strange right now spiritually. Has anyone else here experienced it? (or read about it)

in Eastern (Orthodox and Catholic) spirituality, there’s an idea that God’s love can either feel like joy or pain to a person depending on the state of their soul. A person who is destined for hell will experience pain when they see His love, because they don’t accept His love and grace. But I have accepted it… and I’m not rejecting His mercy. This always lead me to think that when I’ll meet God, although I will indeed feel very small and experience a great deal of reverence, I’ll also feel joy, and love, not fear. So my thoughts yesterday seem very strange to me.

thank you :slight_smile:

Yes I have also experienced such fear. Last Sunday’s Mass talked about how Mary kept all these things in her heart. I started thinking, what if I also keep all the things of my life and my world and the rest of the world in my heart? Then I started to be gripped with all the evils of my life and in the world. I see that Mary, being so aware of the human condition, of God’s love, of the evil of the world, that she must have suffered beyond comprehension. I also started to be burdened with the fear that my sins are too much, the evils of this world are too much. It’s almost a feeling of paralysis, that I have no idea what to do, what I could do.

My resolution is that I should fight. No doubt we are in battle against spiritual powers. I must fight and pray the rosary. The rosary is my only weapon against myself and the world. This is no time for rest or revelry.

Perhaps I’ not the best person to answer your question, since I’m not even a Catholic yet, and since I’ pretty sure you are a way better Christian than me.

But in reading your post I found a connection to some feelings I had just a few minutes before, while praying to God, so please allow me to share them.

Basically, I felt that I would certainly not be able to enter Heaven upon my death, and as such I was thankful because there exists a Purgatory. I thanked God for it and I said something along the lines - “I will gladly and thankfully go to Purgatory, so that I might be prepared to one day be in Your presence”.

I cannot help but think that there are those moments when God truly reveals his awesomeness to us, his holiness and in doing so it truly reveals how steeped in sins we are. He lets us really take a look at ourselves from the inside out. Then when we have recovered from the experience, hopefully, it will help to put us more on the straight and narrow path that leads to Him. Hopefully, to help us think before we know we are going to sin against Him again. It is one thing to speak of the Holiness of God, but quite another to actually experience It. The less we choose to sin, the less we have to worry about the consequences of being in His presence.

thanks everyone :slight_smile:

I tend to think that this experience was from God, to humble me, but that the devil is trying to confuse me. I’ve been under spiritual attacks for the last month, almost every day. Two days ago I was tempted to doubt God’s existence, then His Church, and now His goodness! The good thing is that it’s so ridiculous that I can see it’s just a temptation. I don’t know why it’s happening, but I know this sort of thing happens to strengthen our faith. Whenever I still choose God, despite my feelings, that helps me. :slight_smile:

as for today…
first, I started doubting devotion to Mary. I thought…since God is so great, why do we talk to His Mother or pay any attention to her, if she’s a creature like us? This scared me because I love Mary.
I started wondering if the Protestants are right… but then, I realized that along with doubting devotion to Mary, I was also doubting God’s mercy, forgiveness, the Incarnation, and the Eucharist! and that did it for me. Now I see that though initially this experience was good, because it helped me understand more of God, - now it’s being twisted by the enemy.

So I’ll say this…

yes God is greater than anything we can imagine.

YET… He is loving and merciful, and it seems like a contradiction but it’s not. He’s so HUMBLE, that He was born as a baby, and now comes down to us in the form of food! He raised Mary to Himself through grace…even though on her own, she’s small like us, she was raised above the Angels simply by His will, grace, and power. She is still much smaller than God, but she shares such a close relationship with Jesus that she can lead us to Him.

It’s hard for me to understand right now how God can take on a human nature, become so small, how the Eucharist can be real, how we can possibly be forgiven of sin… but I think I need to trust that although God is so great, as He told St Faustina - Mercy is His greatest attribute and His greatness does not prevent Him from being merciful. :slight_smile:

Erethorn, I agree about Purgatory! :smiley: it’s such a gift to us.

If anyone can say a prayer for me I’d appreciate that so much.

God bless!

I will certainly say a prayer for you, as I have been where you are now many, many times in my journey to God and Truth.

thank you! :slight_smile:

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