Going through a difficult time


#1

Hi :slight_smile:

I’m really confused about something and I think it might help to just get some other people’s perspectives… I really want to talk to my priest sooon but I won’t be able to until next Saturday, sadly :frowning: I’ll still talk to him but I need to somehow get through this week first.

I was just wondering if anyone has any ideas, or if anyone could please say a prayer for me…

as some of you might know I became Catholic this Easter. Before this I was baptized Eastern Orthodox and then attended a Protestant church. During my conversion, my main issue was trying to decide between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I settled on Catholicism because I believe in the doctrines (though I didn’t at first) and because I just felt a lot of peace about it and I believe God revealed Himself to me through the Church. It also makes sense to me… I can see the Papacy, etc, in the Bible and in the early Church and Tradition… but my journey was also difficult because I struggled with doubt. Sometimes I would feel a lot of peace and everything would be great… and other times I felt confused. In the end (after much prayer/research), I felt strongly that God wants me to be Catholic, and entered the Church.

Something happened at Easter vigil that really confused me though. I think I might have received the Eucharist in a state of sin (there was some time between my first Confession (which went really well) and the Vigil Mass), or more probably I just had a lot of distrust in me and that affected my whole experience. I felt a lot of anxiety after Communion, which is something I never expected, and it scared me a lot. During the night, I had something like a panic attack, where I felt SURE that I’m going to hell for becoming Catholic. I also felt like something was trying to invade my mind. But there was so much fear, confusion, etc, in that, that I decided it can’t be from God…that it’s an attack from the enemy. I don’t think that God scared people into doing His will. If He had wanted me to be Orthodox, I think He would have used a different way to bring me there… I decided to give the Catholic Church another try and see how it goes…

the next day (Easter) I went to church early and asked the priest to hear my confession. He did… I told him everything and he absolved me. Then I received the Eucharist for the second time. It was like night and day! I felt SO much peace afterwards, so close to God, and literally for the whole day I felt Jesus was inside of me through the Sacrament in such a powerful way. I decided that yes I just had wayy too little faith at the Vigil, and listened to the enemy’s lies.

For the next several weeks, everything was fine. Then, my Orthodox friend sent me some emails with conspiracy theories about the Pope, etc… after some research I decided they’re not true. But reading all that information (and even thinking about it) caused me so much stress that I had another similar experience as Easter Vigil… this time it was even worse. I felt really attacked by the enemy… I thought I was literally going to lose my mind. I don’t have any history of clinical disorders or anything…it’s not psychological. I’m a pretty ‘stable’ person psychologically. It felt more like something spiritual. I once again felt SURE that I’m going to hell for being Catholic, that there is no hope of salvation for me… I felt such a horrible evil presence in my room I couldn’t stand it. Here’s the interesting part… in the end, I didn’t know what else to do and grabbed my blessed Rosary and put it around my neck… and instantly, everything disappeared. Everything went back to normal, as if nothing had happened. And all my faith in the Church came back. I still wonder what happened that day, but it seems Our Lady helped me. :slight_smile:

this happened one more time later on, when I was trying to discern if I have a religious vocation or not. One evening, after prayer, I got this really strong feeling that I do have a vocation, but also that I MUST pursue it NOW. I told God, this is impossible because right now I’m still in school and have student loans to pay off first, and there’s a family situation, etc. I know that God knows these things and even if I do have a vocation, He wouldn’t push me into it, He would wait until the right time. But this, whatever it was, was telling me that I must do it NOW. I suddenly felt a lot of panic cause I didn’t know what to do and where these thoughts were coming from. When I put on my Rosary, it went away again. I still don’t understand… my guess is that the devil was trying to confuse me. Sometimes I feel like I might have a religious vocation but these experiences are very different.

(to be continued)


#2

Over the summer, I made my Total Consecration to Mary (using the method of St Louis de Montfort.) The interesting thing is that after this, ALL my doubts and fears went away. I had so much faith and trust in God and in His Church. I started focusing on just working out my salvation and overcoming sin… my Communions became really wonderful. Even though at times I struggled in other ways, there was so much clarity.

But sadly over time, I got busy with school and other things and stopped living out my Consecration as I should. I stopped praying the “little crown” every morning… and doing everything “In, which, through, and for” Mary as De Montfort teaches. In other words, I stopped practicing it as I should. Often though I felt strongly that I need to get back to it, because it can reallly help me spiritually. I started reading True Devotion again.

And then, something really terrible happened. It started with sin. I was having an argument with someone, and in a moment of pride, told them that “I’m not anyone’s slave” and I make my own decisions. When I said these words to the person, I wasn’t thinking of the Consecration at all. I was referring to something else. Right after I said it, I regretted it… because I know it was driven by pride, and also because I remembered my Consecration in which I made myself the slave of Jesus and Mary. I tried to correct what I said, but it was too late. I later confessed this incident to a priest.

But ever since this day, I’ve been really struggling. I keep on thinking, what if I unintentionally took back my Consecration through these words. I literally feel like i’ve lost something…something very precious. The Consecration helped me SOO much spiritually, there was so much ‘good fruit’, and it brought me closer to Our Blessed Mother and to Jesus. Now I feel like I’m back at square one. I keep on telling myself… I didn’t mean to take back the Consecration… I wasn’t even thinking about it when I said these words… but I hate to think how I said that I’m not “anyone’s slave” when I’m supposed to be Mary’s slave. What do I do? :frowning: De Montfort said that the Consecration will always be true, for all eternity, unless we ourselves formally reject it. I haven’t done this… but I can’t help but feel that I’ve departed from it in my heart. I made up my mind to renew my Consecration on November 21st, the Presentation of Mary… and I’m currently going through the preparation process. But sometimes I feel so much fear that i’ve ruined it forever, that it won’t be accepted. That i had one chance and I wasted it. I felt like it’s such a gift that God gave me. I’m actually in a lot of pain…

then yesterday, I started doubting my conversion again. :frowning: I remembered those experiences I described in the beginning… and started thinking, how do I KNOW that God lead me to the Church? I’m so afraid of going to hell. When I was converting, Orthodox friends were telling me that I’m putting my salvation in danger, etc. Intellectually, I dont believe that, because I agree with Catholic doctrines and I remember the peace I felt that I know was from God. But I feel a lot of worry at the same time… I’m afraid that those scary experiences I had were not from the devil, but God trying to warn me. Deep inside, I don’t feel drawn or lead to Orthodoxy… I just have this fear that I made the wrong choice. I haven’t had this fear since spring… for the last several months I’ve felt so sure and had much more faith. I think maybe I’m just at a low point spiritually and the devil is using that, or maybe I’m going through a dark night of sorts. I feel so much confusion in my mind and not close to God at all… I dont feel His presence at all, only His absense.

I’m sorry this got so long… if you have any advice or prayers at all, I’d appreciate that so much. I’ll also speak to my priest.

Thank you :slight_smile:

God bless!


#3

Excerpt from my blog:

Satan has been questioning me, “You only believe because of that apparition at age ten, correct?” Not his exact words but more of the meaning of his words. At any rate, to answer this doubt: Yes, indeed, the private revelation I had received could, in fact, be untrue, and I cannot discern it, so I submit to my Mother and Teacher for her final judgment, if, Godwilling, she should wish to give one, and, if not, than I will accept that as God’s Will. But my faith dose not rest on a private revelation or on an apparition, however real it might be, because all revelations and apparitions are oriented to Public Revelation, which ended with the death of the Apostle John, and, as such, my faith rests on He who is truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament: Jesus Christ, Perfect God and Perfect Man, True God and True Man, the God-Man. My faith rests on Christ Jesus because He is who He is and because He is the Giver and Sustainer of the gift of faith, which I did not earn but received willingly, by His grace, from Him. For man could not even accept any of His graces save for a special grace which He bestows on him. For He is the Giver, and for this very reason, man must rest everything on him and himself rest in Him. Than he will be comforted amidst doubts, depression, setbacks, failures, and losses. So my faith rests not on a revelation but on the Revelation of the Father.

Read the lives of the saints. They, too, were plagued by doubt and depression, discouragement and fear. But they trusted in God, who is Love, Mercy, Justice - in a word, Goodness. Believe in Him as not only Holy and Just but also Loving and Merciful, for this is a great truth. Satan hates it, though, so he will try to tell you it is not true. Do not believe him, nor pay attention to him, but only pay attention to Jesus Christ.


#4

Try going to adoration… with a book of prayers, and your bible…Ask God to give you words of inspiration- and just open your bible up to a random page and read. Hopefully it will give you the much needed serenity.
God bless.


#5

Conversion is a crucial time and the enemy will stalk you after Confirmation.

Remember, our Orthodox friends are apostolic but they are very wrong when they reject the absolutely vital role of St. Peter’s successor. What is interesting is that Anglican primate Rowan Williams even put his name to a statement that asserted primacy for the ‘Petrine Ministry.’

When I was trying to discern between Orthodox and Roman Catholic, I was initially pulled to the Catholic Church more out of cultural considerations though in part due to a generally feeling that a final voice was necessary. Now, I can see the mistakes of our Orthodox friends very clearly (they have a very misguided understanding of the nature of sex and birth control, divorce allowance clearly contradicts Scripture, and essentially all other apparent disputes are only descriptive descriptive differences).

Christ did not promise perfect popes but He did promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Keep that in mind and then rumors of conspiracies (which typically are wishful thoughts of those looking for a reason not to reunify) become unimportant :slight_smile:

It sounds like you’re going about things just as you should. I would only add that you should not be afraid to get active in the parish; I know that has helped me!


#6

One of the ways that Satan works is by disheartening us and he tries to use our faith to do it. When you thought you were receiving a religious vocation, you probably felt very touched and loved that God would call you to that. But you had to act immedaitely. First, you were being tempted to ignore a debt, which God would never call you to do. Second, you would never have been considered for a religious vocation as long as you have outstanding debts. So he was also encouraging you to walk into a situation that would cause you to be put on hold or turned away, causing you pain and frustrating your desire to do something for God with your life. When he does stuff like that enough times, we’re tempted to stop listening for God because we’re pretty sure we won’t hear correctly.

When you feel disheartened, when you’re depressed, when you doubt, when you feel you’ll never do better, always ask yourself why Satan might want you to feel that way at that particular time and in whatever circumstance you are at the time. He doesn’t just tempt us to specific sin; he wants to break our hearts and make us give up.

Talk to a priest who understands the consecration and talk to him about what you’re experiencing and your time constraints with it. It sounds like you need spiritual direction to support and help you sort through the ways you’re being attacked.

God bless you.


#7

FickleFreckled is right. :thumbsup:

Satan is quite pleased when Faith is replaced by fear. Our Lord is Loving, kind and merciful. You have been to confession, have NO doubt that you are forgiven. Jesus died on the cross for all of us. Insubstantial emotional responses which have been confessed are not enough to take you from the heart of Our Lady or from the incredible Love of our Lord.

In my opinion, It doesn’t seem like you have denied your consecration with a flippant emotional statement in which your mind was thinking of something worldly. It was not a spiritual and purposeful denial.

Beware Satan can get in your perfectly sane mind and perpetrate Fear (panic attacks). You seem to understand this is exactly what happened.

Always dig deep in your heart and replace such fears with Faith. Look at this as a Faith building experience. Satan will continually test your faith seeking a crack he can wiggle in through. When you recognize such instances you will be better equipped to mentally handle them. You heart is in the right place. Keep rejecting fear and replacing it with Faith.

God Bless you my friend.


#8

Here’s one thing to stop worrying about - the vocation thing. Neophytes (those newly received into the Church) are not accepted into seminaries or convents for at least two years after they become Catholic. You must spend some time living as a lay Catholic before you can discern a vocation.

I don’t think you can undo your consecration by a thoughtless remark. You would have to intentionally take it back, and you certainly have not done that. Jesus and Mary are not setting traps for you - they love you. The consecration is not a magic spell - it is an attitude of the heart. Your heart has not changed. Don’t worry about this, either.

Regarding the doubts about your conversion, maybe you just have to exercise a little mental discipline. Just refuse to go there when the temptations come. You can choose whether or not to participate in all the drama. Just say NO! Make a short act of faith and go do something else.

Hope this helps until you get to talk to your priest.

Betsy


#9

This question is not from God. Ultimately, we rely on faith. We follow Him, and we trust Him, no matter what our feelings might be telling us right now. The demand that we “know” that we’re in the right opposes faith. It’s as if your mother gives you a plate of food and you ask her, “How do I know you haven’t poisoned this?” That would hurt her a lot. I don’t recommend insisting on this question being answered. I suggest instead asking God to free you from the enemy’s mental attacks, restore you your peace, strengthen your face and renew you in your walk with Him.

I strongly believe God will help you through this trial. The doubts and fears are not from God. You’ve said yourself you know better than to trust them. This is a painful trial you’re going through.

Maybe praying the Mass readings for today will help. They are all about how God provides for His servants, healing them, strengthening them and building them up in Him. The final passage is also about how God died and rose. This may parallel, if you claim it for yourself in prayer, how your own Consecration has “died” to you (not that it actually has; I’m just saying emotionally that’s how you feel) and may rise in its renewal.

Truly, this whole struggle you’re enduring has been a big lie from the enemy. You did not deny your Consecration vows and the devil is just abusing you because he’s evil and hates you.

Here are the readings for today. I hope they may bless you!

usccb.org/nab/readings/110909.shtml

The Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, and give you peace.

My dear friend, for you:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

I’ll remember you in my daily prayers. God strengthen, uphold, bless and enlighten you, and may He grant you all the loving grace your heart could desire!


#10

Thank you so much everyone :slight_smile: I was blessed reading your posts. I think you’re right that these thoughts were from the enemy. When I read the posts a couple days ago, I made the decision to just trust God… and ever since, things have been so much better!! Thanks again! God bless :slight_smile: :hug1:


#11

Hello 4EverHis

I seem to be always late to these amazing posts =). I’ll add what I can to the thread.

Anxiety, fear, doubt, anger are tactics the Enemy uses. When these overtake your thoughts, the Enemy has the advantage, and the loser is you. As you can already see in how these things distresses you so. The odd thing is that it seems the Enemy is not fighting on an even playing field. But God is infinite and His power insurmountable, so remember that it is God behind you giving you the strength to say no to these bad thoughts. The quiet “no”, even though it is limited by your own voice and weaknesses, is a powerful roar that can shake the earth.

Secondly, everyone has different needs and different amounts of nourishment to sustain themselves, from what I can tell. It seems that every time you let your regiment of prayers and time with God slip, the doubts and fears comes back. You probably should not over-do-it because that’s an easy way to give yourself psychological problems even if you’re healthy right now. However, you should discern the appropriate amount of spiritual nourishment you need. Maybe that is 1 hour of prayer or 15 minutes of silently smiling with God. Whatever it is, keep it up, and your spiritual soul will get stronger over time. It’s like exercising. Once you exercise enough, you will get stronger and can do more activities plus if you get into an injury or a fight, you will come out a lot less bruised and a lot more triumphant.

Also it is important to remember that God calls out to us everywhere, even in the darkness that we hide in when we are weak. I’m not saying you ever did that. I’m just saying that if God is there reaching out to us, then never doubt that God is right there even when we are full of worries. All the things you have done that reach out to God, the consecration, putting on the Rosary, going to Confession are all ways you can open your hand so that God can grab and yank you out of the abyss. No matter how wonderful a Christian life any of us has lived, God is always calling us to greater heights.

As a final note, you’re story is admirable and I hope it will inspire me to trust and be faithful to God always more.


#12

thank you for the post!! :slight_smile: God bless!


#13

Why do you use two accounts? :confused:


#14

How are you doing now, 4EverHis? Still better?


#15

I know it’s strange lol! I started out with Monica4316, and then I wanted to change my name, but the only way to change it is to make a new account… so I did… and now I have two and sort of use them interchangeably. Looking back on it now I should have just kept the original account… but oh well :shrug:

I feel better :slight_smile: thank you! I’m still dealing with a lot of other things at the moment but the doubts etc are gone. Also I’m working on renewing my Consecration :slight_smile:

God bless!


#16

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