I Don't Feel Close Enough to God


#1

As you may or may not know, I’m interested in becoming Catholic (for more on that matter, you can see my thread in apologetics). I feel a desire to attend a Mass and join the Church, yes, and I pray every night. I don’t doubt God at all, it’s just I don’t feel all that close to him. I think I should feel some love for God, shouldn’t I? I want to, I just don’t really feel it in my heart…
Any advice?


#2

Silvereel, it isn’t always our feelings that matter, but the choices we make.
Maybe a prayer I wrote when considering this question at one stage, might answer a litle of your question?

God, love and glorify Yourself in us
Our God, how can I fulfil Your commandments to others and to love and worship God above all?

Unlike holy souls who effuse great joy and praise, my attempts to love and worship You seem very poor. I am child of a scientific and empirical era in a world of physical realities and challenges. I desire faith in Your loving action in temporal affairs even where it is hidden. I desire to praise and love in whatever way You desire, however little understanding I have of Your ways and truth.

It seems to me that loving You is about choices. Jesus witnessed that our salvation depends upon love and service of God in other persons. He proclaimed that, “Whatever you do for even the least of my little ones, you do for Me” who am God. Therefore, we love and worship You in our care of others..

You command that we love others enough to strive even unto death of something of ourselves for their welfare, as Jesus did. I ask You to love others wholeheartedly in my thoughts, prayers, my words and actions. Please bring about blessings for them even in my worst failures to witness Your love. Please develop my trust in Your loving action in temporal affairs even where it remains hidden.

We glorify You in the Eucharist, that summit of worship, petition, and thanksgiving, God’s own offering and fulfilment through Son and Spirit, with the whole Body of Christ. We worship You in the Eucharist as individuals, yet as brothers and sisters of the community. Let me, let us, thus love and worship You in communion.

Blessed be Jesus, who gives us redemption and Eucharist. Blessed be the Spirit who channels His Gift, and gives us creative ways to praise and love God. Blessed be God who is able to give Yourself the honour and praise that we desire to give You.

God alone can appreciate the depths of God, therefore love and delight Yourself in us so that we truly love You. I ask that whatever my activity or state of mind, You will love and adore Yourself in me, our God. Delight Yourself within me in every moment of my existence. This is possible to You for whom “nothing is impossible.” [Genesis 8:14]


#3

In the presence of God

God, I cannot see, hear, or feel You, but I am in Your presence. I gaze at You with faith that sees nothing yet believes. Trust in Your merciful love with hope in Your reality, brings peace even when my limitations and sinfulness barb my human heart.

I am inconstant and selfish, yet unafraid and hopeful, for You rejoice in the sincere, contrite person who comes trustingly before You. I welcome Your forgiveness for my sins and omissions, confident that You will glorify Yourself in me—by being my thoughts, my efforts, my love, my truth, my wisdom, my whole life, prayer, and existence!

As I have no merit of my own, so may You, the more, glorify Yourself in me! Please flood me with Your love, transforming me into Your substance. Thus, even if I remain in seemingly unconverted darkness, I shall be continual offering to You of the perfection of Your own all-creating, all-knowing, all-loving, all-good, harmonious, selfless Self-Love that created me.

Let Your love continually flow into anyone whose life touches mine, so that I am witness and experience of Your love for him or her. I pray, and trust, that You utter within me for others, all prayer that You desire to offer and grant in the love that issues from Your infinite presence.

Thank You God, for although I do not see, hear, or feel You, our God, I know that by Your life in me I am always with You.

Do not grieve…that you were born in a time when you can no longer see God in the flesh. That privilege was not taken from you. As Jesus says, ‘Whatever you have done for the least of my little ones, you have done for me.’” Saint Augustine.


#4

Pray: “O my Jesus, make me a saint!” and “Jesus, give me more love so I can love You more!”


#5

God if I really knew Your love

Our God, I barely realise my blindness, deafness, and ignorance before You.** I suspect the truths of Your love as distant music, though I yearn to know and love You**. I desire to be pure, zealous and faithful after example of Jesus and Mary, so that through me, You may channel love and blessing to many others.

If I really knew You, God, if I knew Your love, goodness and power, Your ways and thoughts beyond all earthly kind, then what would I ask, seek, and offer to You and to others’ souls for Your sake! How would I live and serve, if I knew, and truly loved! What would I ask of You, of the Mother, of each Saint and Angel, in daring trust? These I ask anyway, although I am sinful, ignorant, and lukewarm!

My heart reaches out in quiet faith to the Father who is infinite Creator so great that He intimately cherishes each of billions of lowly creatures throughout the ages. My heart reaches out to follow the Son whom He surrendered to creaturehood and to death-that-rose, drawing each person into relationship with God. My heart reaches out to touch the Spirit, who transforms all things.

My self-interest undermines my spiritual vitality and efficacious service. I am an erratic, ordinary person, yet in Your intention, I am a glorious reflection of Your love.

No prayer and goodwill can free me from sinfulness, but with faith, I leap over this deadly barrier. For even as I strive or fail, I trustfully ask You to judge me neither by sin nor by merit, but only by Your love! Free me from Your judgement even in my flaws that may separate us or impede the flood of Your goodness through my life to others. I take to myself no merit to clothe my pride or to secure glory in heaven or on earth—so that You may apply these to other souls in need.

Our God, if by no judgement of my merit or sin do You love and act through me—then Your wisdom, goodness and life can engulf and flow from me to others. This music—of love and holiness, of You within us—may be pitched to perfection, beyond earthly perception. Yet please let each moment (each atom, all thought, word, and act, each frailty and each grace) of my life be transformed in Your love. Let it be formed into exquisite notes of Your eternal symphony to delight and praise You far beyond my understanding.

With faith, I offer You my daily duty and routine, with its joy, prayer, hope, and struggle. Let Your Spirit pray and fulfil in me all that I would become, seek, ask, and do, if Your love and truth were known to me. This, God is the lifelong prayer of this sinful, contrite, hopeful creature.


#6

Basically those strivings I’ve made to love God, find Him, ask Him to love and live through me, are really saying we can’t do it ourselves. We can’t love God enough, we have to ask Him to love though us even if we don’t have good feelings about it. In choosing to love God above all, and others as ourselves as Jesus commands, we are asking God to make these things possible and real as we make our choices to love in the efforts we make.

Love through me

God, unless You love through me, I cannot love You above all, or cherish other persons, as Jesus loves me.

Know, love and serve through me, for my attempts may be tainted with selfish responses or kindly mistakes. Others’ logic and reality before You is mystery to me, for I have only my own consciousness.

I know something of my sinfulness, yet what appears to be ‘sin’ in others may instead be a differing virtue, or a product of innocence or ignorance that only appears to be sin or error.

I ask You Who-Are-Love to be my love and service of others, welcoming everyone as Your beloved. I want to celebrate Your love, beauty and inspiration in others, even if it is obscure. Let Your Spirit fill my heart, mouth and prayer with gifts of Your love and truth for others. Let me be endowment of Your own self, Your sacrament, and our gentle Mother present to them. I ask this despite my evident failures in loving.

I believe that You will free me wholly into Your love, wisdom, and compassion. I wait humbly in my daily efforts, knowing that in Your mercy You will grant my prayer to love Yourself in me with all strength and being, and to love others in me with Jesus’ love.


#7

Amen


#8

Yes, Silvereel, here’s my advice: PRAY.

Do you know the Lord’s Prayer?

Let’s pray together! Let’s do it over the Internet. Here are my prayers for you: pray them when you can and that will be cool!

Internet Our Father:

Our Father who is in Heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass on us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
Amen.

Internet Ave Maria:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you amongst women,
Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death!
Amen

Internet Glory Be:

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
Is now,
And ever shall be:
World without end.
Amen

Internet Fatima:

O My Jesus!
Forgive us our sins,
Save us from the fires of hell,
Lead us to Heaven,
Especially those in most need of your mercy!
Amen


#9

Silvereel,

I’ll offer you this bit of wisdom from C.S Lewis which I have always found enlightening when I get stuck in a spiritual rut

“He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs — to carry out from will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be.” –C.S Lewis “The Screwtape Letters”

For prayer I always enjoy the Jesus Prayer, short and simple… say it when you have a moment:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God have mercy on me a sinner.

If you want more information on this prayer I recommend picking up a book titles The Way of a Pilgrim

God be with you on your journey,

JRB


#10

Yes. Pray, hope and don’t worry, as Padre Pio once said.

You are not alone. Read this prayer.

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

  • From “Thoughts in Solitude” by Thomas Merton

#11

My humble advice: add contemplation of a Crucifix as part of your daily prayer routine.

When we fix our gaze on a Crucifix… and prayerfully consider the wounded Body of Our Lord, the depth of God’s Love for us… begins to sink in. This is why most Catholics keep Crucifixes in their homes.

Hope this helps. God bless you.


#12

Do you always feel close to the people you love on earth? I don’t! There are times that I don’t feel close to my husband, in-laws or other family memebers, but the commitment to love them is still there. Feeling close to them may vary from day to day, but that doesn’t change my love for them.


#13

The fastest, surest, most secure, safest way to get close to God is through his Blessed Mother. See these links for more information, particularly True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, The Secret of the Rosary, and Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Online Adoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament louisville-catholic.net/WebCameras/AdorationChapel/tabid/825/Default.aspx
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html
**Secret of the Rosary ** montfort.org.uk/Writings/Rosary.html
Reflections on True Devotion to Mary by His Holiness Pope John Paul II http://www.michaeljournal.org/montfort.htm
**The Glories of Mary, ** by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, one of the 33 Doctors of the Catholic Church, explains Hail Holy Queen http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/glories.htm
On the Dolors of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, one of the 33 Doctors of the Catholic Church, explains the sufferings of Our Lady http://writer.zoho.com/public/immaculate/Seven-dolors
Marialis Cultus (Apostolic Exhortation for the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary of His Holiness, February 2, 1974 by His Holiness Pope Paul VI ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P6MARIAL.HTM
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus en.wikisource.org/wiki/Devotion_to_the_Sacred_Heart_of_Jesus#FIRST_POINT._.E2.80.94_The_ardent_desire_Jesus_Christ_feels_to_be_with_us.
Divine Mercy Chaplet ewtn.com/Devotionals/mercy/dmmap.htm
Rosary Confraternity Enrollment rosary-center.org/nconform.htm (As Pope Leo XIII said in his encyclical on the Confraternity, *“Whenever a person fulfills his obligation of reciting the Rosary according to the rule of the Confraternity, he includes in his intentions all its members and they render him the same service many times over.” * Each member includes deceased fellow members as well; and thus he knows that in turn he will be included in the prayers of hundreds of thousands both now and hereafter.
Cathechism of the Catholic Church vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm
Litany of Humility ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/humility.htm
**Litany of the Blessed Virgin ** intermirifica.org/Mary/marylitany.htm
**Cathechis of the Popes on Mary, Mother of God, ** catechesisofthepopes.wikispaces.com/Mary
Mystical City of God themostholyrosary.com/mystical-city.htm
In Defense of The City of God Mystica Civitate Dei: dailycatholic.org/issue/05Jun/jun10tim.htm - to summarize the research of three priests on the official decision of the Holy Roman Catholic Church regarding The Mystical City of God by Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda and to ascertain thereby whether it is permitted for anyone of any authority whatsoever to forbid the reading of this extraordinary book.
The Way of the Cross by St. Josemaria Escriva escrivaworks.org/book/the_way_of_the_cross-point-4.htm
Rosarium Virginis Mariae by His Holiness Pope John Paul II: To the Bishops, Clergy, and Faithful on the Most Holy Rosary vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20021016_rosarium-virginis-mariae_en.html
The Violence of Love by Archbishop Oscar Romero plough.com/ebooks/ViolenceOfLove.html


#14

Try reading the Bible on a daily basis and not just glossing over the words, but put forth some effort and be consistent in your reading and studying. If you really want to know the God of the Bible; read the Psalms. In the Bible is where you will find the truth and the person of God.


#15

If you have not been baptized, you must call your local Catholic parish and ask for joining the parish. Jesus had all his disciples baptized so they would receive the Spirit of God. From a local Catholic Church bulletin, for example:
“RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) provides you with an opportunity to learn about the Christian faith or to deepen your Christian faith, to study and reflect upon the Scriptures, to learn about the Catholic Church, and to pray with us. Whether you decide to become a Catholic or not, we welcome your presence among us.” The leaders will direct you to becoming baptized.
Every parish should have the Rite of Christian Initiation, this is the recommendation by the Church. Not only do you gain understanding into the Catholic faith in scripture studies with Catholics who have walked with God in their faith, but you can also make new friends and pray and grow with each other. You might find someone is there in order to get married in the Church with his/her Catholic spouse, or you may find someone who is as yourself inquiring into the Catholic faith. This is the best choice for you. For the ones I’ve called myself, they were ongoing and taking people as they came in, but am not sure about your parishes, so its best to call the office or check the bulletin. In the meantime, you can read the bible as much as you can or want to. Here’s a good Catholic bible online:
drbo.org/
Prayer is best for our soul, on a daily basis. So talk to God, as you would to your best friend, tell Him, you want to know Him, tell Him you want to feel His presence and grow in love with Him, and surely when you ask with an open heart, in humility and sincerity, the loving Father will not resist you. I am no expert but the lack of “feeling close enough” to God, may stem from the lack of presence of the Holy Spirit. This gift is given to us when we confess our beliefs and are baptized by water. This day for you, should be so joyful. I was baptized as an infant, but I can imagine how happy one is when they are fully aware of it…
May God bless you in your walk in faith, and remember Jesus is the Way: what you see in Jesus as told in scriptures or apparitions, is a reflection of God Himself, which is an Infinitely Almighty, Powerful, Loving, and Merciful Father.
I hope your soul is satisfied as you thirst for God :slight_smile:


#16

I struggle from a similar but different problem.

I pray a lot, (perhaps extreme to many) and have done so consistently since September, 6 months. I have been devoted to serving God with my whole heart and soul to the best of my ability for almost 6 years with only short interludes of non-caring. I know the Bible fairly well and spent a lot of time in the past in a Bible study. I read spiritual reading as recommended, even some of the most obscure readings that come highly advised by the saints. I participate in almost Daily Mass and many of the Sacraments (now - this may change with changing career situations).

I sacrificed everything that I know that God wanted me to sacrifice for the sake of Christianity.

I deeply suspect that Christ is working through me. I have had supernatural experiences, a mystic experience, and also possibly a miracle. When I advise others on growing in the faith and solving spiritual problems, my advice generally seems to prove accurate.

I am committed to God intellectually and am mostly convinced not only that Roman Catholicism is true (about 100% belief there) but that my ability to discern what in Roman Catholicism is of required belief, recommended belief, and of man - doubtful belief - is sure enough to lead me to salvation and allow me to correctly lead others.

But I don’t feel it. I feel as if as a Catholic, I am under the laws of God, like I am under the laws of the United States of America, whether I like it or not. I strive and do activities to love God and my neighbor because of the first two commandments, not due to a genuine and overflowing desire on my part. Yet, if those two commandments were changed, I suspect that I would change as well.

St. Padre Pio said, *“I will stand at the gates of Heaven and will not enter until all my spiritual children are with me.” * I suspect that I could do this - but only if I knew that it would be something that Christ, Mary, or Joseph would want me to say or do, not as a result of genuinely caring for those spiritual children enough to want to forsake Heaven for their sakes without the prior instruction of God or even slightest suspicion that God might want me to do it.

Am I just ungrateful? How do I grow in gratitude? I am not very grateful for the gifts that I have been given in life. I am grateful that I have them as I might be more unhappy without them but value them somewhat little without conscious thought and without intellectual analysis that I might be more unhappy without them. I have read suggestions that one should keep a gratitude journal, but I think that I would want to write in it - “I am grateful for my commitment to God so that I can one day receive a reward in Heaven.”

In the Lourdes apparition, Mary said, “I cannot promise to give you happiness in this life; only in the next” I am not unhappy; I think that I simply have peace of mind and in life, but I suppose that this is the most that one ought to expect from commitment of religion. :o :confused: :shrug:

Is this even wrong? The first commandment is: love God. The second is: love neighbors as yourself. Abraham was called to sacrifice Issac to God, in my non humble opinion - God wanted to test him to see if he really loved God 100% with his heart, soul, strength, and mind or if he loved Issac more than he loved God and so give him merit for his willingness and ability to sacrifice Issac.

Maybe one might not be able to expect to feel close to God. For all one knows, one might live a lifelong existence as Job through no great fault of one’s own. So a sort of peaceful resignation in life is the most that one ought to hope for. :o :confused: :shrug: I wonder though - if expecting nothing means that one gradually becomes more grateful for the good that one does see in life so in a few years I may progress in gratitude if I keep up my prayer life and commitment to following the will of God when I know it.

Thank you for your kindness in reading this post and shedding light on any questions that I may ask. :stuck_out_tongue:


#17

That was very heartfelt and my heart saddens as I read that. I believe your thoughts and feelings are more typical than people will care to admit. My advice would be to keep Asking, Seeking, and Knocking. Ever notice the acronym is ASK. Maybe a little more emphasis added by the Holy Spirit to the English speaking.

I be praying for you and others as I submit.

Blessings this day!


#18

Just ask for what you want. If you have a medical problem that is different but if not ask our Lord to pour out his Holy Spirit on you and set you aflame with the love of God. Keep it up and he will give you what you want, but how we feel does not determine how much we do or don’t love God. If we persevere without feeling great we show the greatest sacrificial love for God and this is very pleasing to him.

A great prayer for you is-

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.


#19

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