I feel broken and overwhelmed


#1

hi, everyone.

in case you didn’t read my post in the “meet and greet” thread, my name is alison, i’m 16 and i gave my heart to Jesus on november 22, 2007, after three years of cutting, depression, anxiety, self-destruction, homosexuality, suicidal thoughts and one suicide attempt, that was not fatal only because God intervened with a miracle and saved my life and my soul. ever since that night, i have been searching for Him – and after reaching out to me for several months while i was in a psychiatric hospital, in november of last year He found me, and He has been my everything ever since. if you’d like to know more about me or my testimony, please don’t hesitate to contact me – i’m extremely open about my life and my experiences, and you don’t ever have to worry about bothering me or offending me. i have been healed of so much and saved from so much, and it’s my deepest hope and prayer that i will be able to show the world that there is hope and healing available in God, including people on here who may need Him.

i joined this community a few days ago, and so far it’s been an incredible experience. i feel comfortable enough, actually, to begin to share my heart and thoughts with you, in the hope and prayer that some of you will be able to help me in some way. i would truly appreciate it if you kept me in your thoughts and prayers, and shared any similar experiences you may have had with this, or maybe offer some advice.

basically, over the past year, i’ve been a nondenominational evangelical Christian, but i am now returning with all my heart to the faith i was raised with – the Catholic Faith, and it’s leaving me extremely confused and upset, because there’s so much i need to learn. i feel broken and overwhelmed, and i don’t know how i’m going to manage when there’s so much i’m facing at the moment. i’m currently reading a book called This is the Faith by Francis Ripley, and it’s a complete explanation of the Catholic Faith. i love the Catholic Faith now – it’s so beautiful and precious to me once more – but a lot of things are bothering me and making me upset, and i was wondering if any of you would be willing to talk to me and help me.

1) i’m terrified of going to Purgatory. the thought literally leaves me in tears. i’ve committed many mortal sins in my life, obviously, as my testimony makes clear, and so now i’m terrified that i’ll have to suffer in Purgatory for what i’ve done in my past and what i may do in the future. i’m praying with all my heart for the grace to abstain from sin, and i’ve started praying for Mary, the saints and my angel to help me. i hopefully will be able to go to Confession tomorrow and officially start my new life, but right now i just feel so broken because i feel like i’m not good enough for Heaven, and i’m afraid of dying because i know that i couldn’t reach Heaven in my present state, and i feel like if i went to Purgatory, it would mean that God had rejected me. does this make any sense? can someone please talk to me and help me reach a state of acceptance with this? i believe in Purgatory and i pray constantly for the suffering souls there. is it wrong for me to be afraid of going there? i don’t want to sin anymore! i hate it when i sin – i end up hating myself, which is a sin in itself, and it’s a constant cycle! please help me.

2) i wish i was good enough to be a saint. i love God with all that i am, but i’m not holy and i’m not perfect and i feel like i have to be. “be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” i’m a perfectionist by nature, and even in that i sin! i have too horrible a past to be a saint. i feel like there’s some demonic oppression in my life right now, trying to bring me down and depress me so that i can’t move forward in my spiritual life and in my healing. i just love Jesus and feel like i’m not good enough for Him, like if i died my worst fear – Purgatory – would come true, and that He would reject me because i’m not good enough like the saints or like so many holy and amazing people on here. it’s not exactly jealousy that i feel, it’s more of a hatred for myself, which i know is a sin, and that makes me hate myself more! please help me. can someone please help me?

please … i need some help … i trust that someone will answer this post. would you mind keeping me in your thoughts and prayers? i will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers as well, i promise you, and continue to pray for the graces i need to make it to Heaven. i just really need help right now, as i’m in a very stressful place, and my view of how i think God sees me is becoming distorted. please help me …

God bless you all.
love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#2

Hi Alison,
1) i’m terrified of going to Purgatory.
Funny thing about that… once you get to purgatory you know your final destination is heaven… so don’t worry… just be happy to make it there. Nobody is good enough… and we all have struggles and pasts… Go to confession, pray and ask God to help you to be more like him.
2) i wish i was good enough to be a saint.
That is what we all are supposed to strive for. But we are human and we do make mistakes. God loves us for who we are. That doesn’t mean don’t try to improve… just don’t beat yourself up for being human.

You kind of have the sequence wrong… if you die and go to purgatory, it is a cleansing place so that we can enter heaven since we know that nothing unclean can enter… so making it to purgatory is a great thing, because one day you WILL be in heaven.

I will certainly remember you in my prayers… but you also will need to learn what you don’t know about our wonderful faith… oh… and WELCOME HOME!!!


#3

BlestOne - -

thank you so much for taking the time to respond. i truly appreciate it, and thank you so much for that you will think of me and keep me in your prayers.

yes, i was a bit frantic when i wrote this, but i’m starting to calm down. i have many strongholds that are still in my life from my past, but every day i just do the best that i can, and i continue to trust God for my healing. i will definitely pray more, read the Bible more, go to Confession more, study the Faith more … do all that i can to become the best person i can be. today, i’ve decided, is the new beginning of a new life for me … thank you so much for the encouragement. my issues with Purgatory have to do with strongholds from my past, but i trust that God will lead me through this and help me become all that He wants, needs and calls me to be. thank you so much, again, for responding. God bless you. if you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to contact me. and know that i will be keeping you and everyone else on here in my constant thoughts and prayers.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#4

…ya could send me a philly cheesesteak and a soft pretzel…

Kidding! I grew up in your neck of the woods… I miss it terribly!

Matter of fact I have a niece your age in the West Chester area…


#5

Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless.


#6

Dear Alison:

Welcome home to your Catholic faith.

Please don’t overwhelm yourself with self-imposed stress.

Catholic faith is very rich. Take your time to learn, do not rush yourself. I recommend you to start from the basics. If you have not been confirmed, you may want to join the confirmation class at your parish. If you have been confirmed, start with attending Mass with your whole heart. Pay attention to each of the readings and homily. Understand the meaning of Mass, the true presence of the Eucharist. Receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. There is abundant grace in the sacrament of confession. You may also want to join your parish’s youth group.

Know that we are all work in process. It is good to set up the goal for holiness. But keep in mind to take one step at a time. Don’t be anxious.

Do your best each day, follow St. Therese’s “little way” (you can google it if you are not familiar with it), and relax.


#7

Alison,

Welcome back home to the Catholic faith! We’ve missed you, it’s good to have you back.

Don’t fear purgatory. It’s evidence of God’s love and mercy. Nothing imperfect can enter heaven (the Bible tells us so), and most of us, including myself, are not perfect. Because God loves us so much and wants us with Him, He gives us the gift of purgatory as an opportunity to get “cleaned up” before we enter heaven. Without purgatory, those of us who love God and try to serve Him would never get to heaven because we’re not quite ready when we die.

Suppose you’re on your way to a wedding celebration (which is what heaven is — the marriage supper of the Lamb — God loves His Church so much He that wants to marry us!). On the way, you fall into a mud puddle. You still want to go to the wedding, but you’ll want to take time to get cleaned up and change your clothes first. You love and respect the bride and groom too much to offend them by showing up with filthy clothes.

Purgatory is like that. When you die and meet Jesus and know how absolutely wonderful and perfect He is, you’ll WANT to be purified before spending the rest of eternity with Him. It will seem like the right thing to do. You won’t want to be in heaven until you’re ready. You will be grateful for purgatory, which will purify you of any remaining attachment to sin you may have when you die.

Purgatory is in a sense better than life on earth because once you are in purgatory you are absolutely certain that you will eventually be in heaven. Once you are in purgatory the possibility of hell is out of the question.

Don’t worry about not being good enough to be a saint. Without God’s help, none of us is good enough. With His help, we can do anything! Trust in Him. Your desire to please Him is itself very pleasing to Him. He loves you more than you can imagine.


#8

I thank the Lord for your return to his Church. The Catholic faith is extremely complex, and you will never stop learning theology. Don’t worry about not knowing everything, because it is truly impossible to know everything about the Catholic faith. Our Church is the original Church that was founded by Christ; we have 2000 years of history, writings, spirituality, and theology.

Do not worry about Purgatory. In fact, thank God for Purgatory. The very existance of Purgatory proves the mercy of God. Without Purgatory, many people would go to Hell for minor sins and imperfections. Most people aren’t good enough for heaven, but they don’t deserve hell. That’s why there is Purgatory - it is for the people who aren’t as holy as saints, but aren’t evil enough to deserve hell. Purgatory is our last chance to rid ourselves of any sin and inperfection so that we can go to Heaven. It may be hard, and you should look at it not as punishment but as preparation for eternal happiness in Heaven. Just as a mother must go through the terrible pains of labour before she receives her child, we must go through the pains of Purgatory before we receive our reward.


#9

Alison, you should read about the lives of the some of the Saints - they were a lot like you! :yup: You’re well on your way. If you’re afraid of Purgatory, well, you’re supposed to be! But here’s what you can do:

“Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

And offer up all of your suffering and good works to Jesus to cover the punishment due to your sins (Colossians 3:25), and for the sins of others - take care of those who are “sick and in prison” (Matthew 25:43), as you are doing when you pray for those in Purgatory. And remember, you were less culpable for your sins before you came to a fuller knowledge of the truth (Luke 12:47-48). So keep striving for perfection, but don’t despair when you fall short, let Jesus put you back on that straight and narrow path through the power of His sacramental graces (and don’t underestimate the power of the Rosary!)

Lord, have mercy on your servant Alison. Remind her of the good news - Your mercy is infinite; Your grace is sufficient; and Your justice is perfect. And I don’t need to remind you of this, but she’s only 16! She’s way ahead of me! Lord, have mercy on me! :bowdown:


#10

Dear Alison,

Something to help ease your fears - the teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux (a Doctor of the Church) on Purgatory:

God’s Mercy is Greater: The Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux on Purgatory
by Father Dr. Hubert van Dijk, ORC

Here’s her teaching in a nutshell: “One does not need to go to Purgatory”

The common teaching within the Church is that Purgatory can hardly be avoided. While still only a novice, the saint commented about this with one of the sisters, Sr. Maria Philomena, who believed in the near impossibility of going to heaven without passing through purgatory:

“You do not have enough trust. You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God, Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory.”

St. Thomas Aquinas, when asked what one needs to do to be a saint said, “Will it.”

If it is your will to become a saint, and you show it by persevering in living the Christ life, then the Holy Spirit will work to sanctify you. We just need to be patient with ourselves and with God, since our sanctification is His business.

A blog post you may find helpful:
Placing our growth in His hands

Becoming holy is a process; it’s not something that usually happens overnight. Like any journey, you move forward one small step at a time.

Look how far you’ve come already, and thank God each day for what He’s done to change you. Then trust that He will continue to transform you as long as you are willing to continue your journey with Him.

With prayers,
Becky


#11

thank you for your response. :slight_smile: i will definitely take your advice, and start to pray more from the bottom of my heart, remember to hope in God - He has given me so much hope already - and remember not to worry. i will pray for the grace to do this, and i trust that God will help me. i have a feeling that now that i’ve reached a breakthrough in my spiritual life and returned to the Catholic Faith, the devil’s trying to drag me down into the darkness of fear, but i won’t let him push me around anymore. thank you so much for responding - you’re right, worry is useless, and i refuse to let it control me any longer. thank you again, and God bless you.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#12

thank you so much, InLight247, for your beautiful, heartfelt response to my post. :slight_smile: i feel much better already, because of all of your incredible responses. this community is so amazing, and i am so grateful and amazed that God led me to such an incredible place where i can grow and learn and help others.

thank you so much – it’s great to be home. :blush: after a year as a nondenominational evangelical Christian, i never saw the beauty in it that i see in the precious Catholic Faith. it’s comforting to me, and i love being able to pray to the saints and to our Blessed Mother. it’s amazing to return to the faith of my childhood, and i want to thank you from the bottom of my heart - all of you - for making the transition and return so amazing and comfortable for me. i already feel much better. thank you.

i actually feel much better than i did when i posted this thread, again, thanks to all of your beautiful responses. i have a tendency to stress myself out spiritually, but with God’s help as i continue to pray, i know that He will lead me through and strengthen me for the future. thank you for the advice, though. i will definitely continue to read and research the Faith, but i will be more patient with myself and turn to my amazing pastor for his help as well, and of course pray for it all, knowing that God is always right beside me and will help me through this. i have been confirmed, but i did not receive the Holy Spirit at the time, for i considered myself an atheist at the age of thirteen, so i posted the question on here of whether i could have ‘a second chance at Confirmation.’ i will definitely begin to attend Mass with my whole heart - i’m so excited for Sunday! - and do the best that i can. i actually asked my parents if i could go to Confession tomorrow, so i’ll definitely let you all know how that goes. i actually already belong to my parish’s youth group, and it’s been an amazing experience that has helped me grow so much, so i’ll continue to rely on that as well.

thank you so, so much for your incredible response. i feel much better - i have hope now, because of all of you. thank you so much. God bless you.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#13

Allison;

I went for lunch today with several people, and among them was a very wise lady. In the midst of all of the foolish conversation (of which there was a great deal) she was only able to interject one thing that could be heard - she said, “The easiest and the fastest road to Heaven is to praise and thank God for everything that happens, no matter what it is.”

I think that God must have inspired her to give that advice so that I could pass it on to you, because I think that if you follow that simple wisdom - just to thank God for everything that happens, you will become a very holy person, and you will avoid having to go to Purgatory. :slight_smile:


#14

thank you so, so much for your beautiful response, PhilotheaZ. this is such an absolutely incredible community, and i’m so amazed at all of the responses i’ve already received. i’m so glad and grateful that God directed me here, for i feel that He led me to this place for a reason, and to help me. thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond in such a heartfelt way. i truly appreciate it. thank you so much – and thank you for welcoming me back Home. :slight_smile: it truly is comforting and an amazing feeling to know that i’ve returned to the Truth. i see so much beauty in the precious Catholic Faith that i didn’t see or know when i was still a nondenominational evangelical Christian, and it’s comforting to know that the Holy Spirit has led me back Home. even when i considered myself nondenominational, God led me back Home – which gives me all the more reason to trust in Him.

i actually never thought of Purgatory that way – thank you so much for changing my perspective. that’s so true, that it shows how loving and merciful God is, and how could i not have trusted before that it wouldn’t be good for us? everything that God does is good and for a reason and for our benefit. i can’t believe that i didn’t trust Him – obviously, i’ve been letting the devil get to me again, but i refuse to fall back into that darkness and start beating myself up. instead, i’ll just have to pray for the grace to be stronger, thank God for all of you and for leading me to this incredible community and thank Him for revealing the truth to me about Purgatory – which i will thank Him for as well. i’m feeling much better about Purgatory and about my spiritual life, thanks to all of your incredibly beautiful responses. i’ve never thought of it that way before, and it makes so much sense. thank you so much. thank you, PhilotheaZ. i truly appreciate it, with all of my heart. God bless you.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#15

thank you so, so much, Dempsey1919, for taking the time to read and to respond. :slight_smile: i feel much better than i did when i first posted, for i definitely have been comforted and revived by all of your posts, and i am filled with so much hope and joy at the moment that it’s hard to contain it. thank you so much for welcoming me back to the Church – it’s true that it is extremely complex, and i will definitely be much more patient with myself and pray for the grace to be the best Catholic i can be. but i definitely also see so much beauty in the precious Catholic Church, beauty i didn’t see when i considered myself a nondenominational evangelical Christian, which just convinces me even more that God, in His love, mercy and grace, led me back to the Truth again. praise Jesus!

i am no longer worried about Purgatory, thanks to all of your incredible responses and beautiful, heartfelt posts, and now i’m just thanking God to overflowing from the bottom of my heart for comforting me and for what Purgatory truly means. i’m so far from afraid – i have hope now! hope in Him. hope for the future, and for Heaven. you’re absolutely right in that the existence of Purgatory proves the love, grace and mercy of God that has been manifested in my life once again today. i can’t believe that i didn’t see it before, but the darkness has fled from my eyes that are now opened to the Truth, and there’s so much hope now. it’s incredible! now that my fears of death are gone, i can rest and i can breathe again, and i can feel my energy back. there was definitely something demonic in my discouragement, i think, or maybe it’s because i haven’t read the Word in a while. [definitely a horrible weakness of mine, but i’m working on it, beginning tomorrow morning, and praying for the grace to be strong and consistent.] i love the metaphor you gave me of a mother delivering a child, and it’s so encouraging and fills me with so much hope. thank you so much for your response – i truly appreciate it. God bless you, Dempsey1919.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#16

thank you so, so much for your response, Luke65 – i truly appreciate that you took the time to read and to respond. :slight_smile: i am interested in reading more about the lives of the saints, especially Mother Teresa, as i took my Confirmation name from her, and i’ve always admired her, and i hope and pray that i can be more like the saints, even now as a teenager. thank you so much for the encouragement – sometimes i feel that i’m moving backwards, but i have to remember to hold onto the hope that i have in God, and remember that He will bring me through in His strength, grace, love and mercy, and i also have to remember that the way i see myself is usually not the way God sees me. i tend to be extremely hard on myself, but i’m praying for the strength to overcome that, and to be all that God wants me to be. after reading these incredibly inspiring and encouraging posts – these amazing responses – i’m filled with so much hope, encouragement and joy once more, and i remember to trust in Him again – for i had forgotten that He wouldn’t have created Purgatory if it weren’t ultimately for our benefit and from His goodness and mercy. i’m no longer afraid of Purgatory after reading these responses – my fear has been replaced with Hope and Faith. :slight_smile: thank you so much for the Scriptures, though – i will definitely be sure to remember them. i will definitely continue to strive for perfection, but continue to keep my eyes and heart focused on Jesus alone and not on my success or failures. besides, when i succeed, it’s not of my own work, it’s God working through me! so i can’t claim credit for anything i do, anyway. i don’t yet know how to pray the Rosary, but before i sign off the Internet tonight, i will look it up, and will begin praying it tonight, along with the Trinity Rosary. oh, thank you so much, Luke65, for your beautiful prayer – God has definitely comforted me and reminded me of the Good News, and i feel so hopeful and joyful right now to overflowing, i can barely contain myself. i’m sure i’m not way ahead of you, though, but thank you so much for the encouragement, and God bless you.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#17

thank you so, so much, beckycmarie, for taking the time to read and to respond. i will definitely check out that teaching, but thanks to all of the beautiful responses and heartfelt posts i’ve received, i am no longer caught up in fear and anxiety, but instead am filled to overflowing with so much incredible hope, peace and joy at the moment – i can hardly contain myself after all the encouragement i’ve received on here, and i don’t know how words could be enough to thank all of you. i definitely want to be a saint with all my heart, and i trust that as i continue to pray to Him and trust in Him, God will lead and guide me to be all that He wants, needs and calls me to be. i will definitely check out that blog post as well – thank you so much for taking the time to recommend it. i’m afraid that impatience has always been a weakness and a sin of mine, but i will definitely pray for the courage, strength and grace to overcome it in God. i have come extremely far in the past year, not because of anything i’ve done but completely because of God’s Love, and i will definitely begin to thank Him each day – i can’t believe that i haven’t done this already! i will definitely trust in Him once more, with all my heart, just as i love Him. thank you so much, again, beckycmarie – i truly appreciate your response. God bless you.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#18

thank you so much, jmcrae, for taking the time to read and to respond, and share that beautiful piece of advice with me. :slight_smile: i can only hope and pray to God for the grace to be so wise one day, as i grow and mature in Him, and trust in Him with all my heart. i will definitely take that advice, and begin to thank God for everything that happens in my life, the light and the darkness, the good and the bad, for Heaven and for Purgatory, which no longer causes fear in my heart, but instead hope, thanks to all of the amazing, incredible responses and the awesome encouragement i’ve received. thank you so much for responding and for sharing that with me – i truly do appreciate it. God bless you.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#19

Hi Alison,

I don’t have a lot to add, but wanted to respond. Welcome back to the Church and you appear to be on the right track. I hope you can make it to Confession where you’re find great peace and strength. Your journey sounds incredible, but thank God, he was there to help you out of so many troubled times. Thank you for sharing this with us. I found your story very inspiring.

About purgatory, I pray that when my time comes, that’s where our Lord will send me, that means that Heaven is not too far away.

About becoming a Saint. That, my friend, is (or should be) what we all aspire to be.

God Bless and Take Care

Praying that your journey is filled with joy and peace…


#20

Alison, you want to be holy, be a saint…so here are the word of one of the most popular saints of the 20th century…

Saint Therese of Lisieux encourages us in our attempts towards holiness in our vocation to love and serve. Of her own response to the call to be holy/a saint, she wrote,

**“This desire could certainly appear daring if one were to consider how weak and imperfect I was, and how after seven years in the religious life, I am still weak and imperfect.

I always feel, however, the same bold confidence of becoming a great saint because I do not count on my own merits since I have none, but I trust in God who is Virtue and Holiness. God alone, content with my weak efforts, will raise me to Himself and make me a saint, clothing me in His infinite merits. I didn’t think then that one had to suffer very much to reach sanctity, but God was not long in showing me this was so and in sending me the trials I have already mentioned.” **Therese remarked that such holiness may “not be evident to the eyes of mortals.”

We draw hope from this saint of ‘the consecrated ordinary’, whom Pope John Paul 2 declared a Doctor of the Church on October 19, 1997. Many Sisters in her Carmelite community were unaware of the holiness of her ‘ordinary’ deeds of kindness, and doubted that anything worthwhile could appear in her obituary circular. I implore God for ‘everyday’ love and trust such as Therese maintained before temptations of doubt and suffering. Like her, in ordinariness made holy by union with Jesus our God who lived ‘the ordinary life’, we must become shining lights in an era when disbelief, humanism and self-absorption prevail.

We ask God to give us dynamic confidence that holiness is not reserved for a favoured few. As Saint Paul taught, “each soul is God’s favourite” and God desires fulfilment of each person’s call to love God above all and others as self. Every person has a unique vocation and purpose, intended to enrich each other person’s soul for all eternity.


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