I'm loosing my faith

Hello,

I used to be a strong believer but I have been feeling distanced from God. Three weeks ago, our Priest died. I prayed for him, but then after a thought popped into my head. I thought 'That stinks, he spent his whole life serving God and now he's just dead.' I was surprised by the thought and a little offended.

I didn’t know where it came from. I used to read the Bible every night, but I got out of the habit. I promised God I would go to confession but I still haven’t. Last night at about 2:00am I couldn’t sleep so I tried talking to God. I didn’t feel like I was being heard and then I had another foreign thought.
I thought, 'this is stupid, there’s nothing there. You’re filling your head with thoughts for someone who isn’t there, or doesn’t hear you.’ I am losing my faith. I no longer have that strong belief in God. I thought that if I told everyone I believe strongly, it would come back. But it hasn’t.
I keep having atheist thoughts, ‘there is no proof God exists’, ‘He probably hates you now anyway so you might as well give up’ ‘you only want to believe you don’t just die;. These thoughts are changing my belief. I feel like I have been disillusioned. I started crying because I honestly believe that when I die I will go to neither heaven nor hell, and that life will just end. I don’t want to feel this way. I want to believe.
I asked God to give me a sign, and when I woke up yesterday morning, or the morning before, I had a huge bug bite in between my eyes on my forehead. I thought if He gave me a sign I would believe, but I still don’t feel like God exists. What has happened to my faith? And how can I get it back?

Feelings are ephemeral. They cannot be trusted. Please talk with the new priest at your church about these feelings of doubt you are experiencing.

Everyone experiences dark periods during their life where they feel separated from God. Keep speaking to Him. He does hear you. :slight_smile:

I am currently going through the same thing so I understand. Unfortunately I don’t have any help, otherwise I would have taken it myself! :wink:

I think this is really good advice.

I have struggled with doubt issues for most of teenage and young adult life (I am only 23). Thomas the apostle is my confirmation saint. Nowadays when the doubts come they don’t really bother me anymore, because I know the blessings of faith. If you want to look for intellectual reasons to believe in God, I would recommend looking at apologetics from philosophy, particularly the five ways by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologiae. If you are doubting your faith specifically, not necessarily just the existence of God, I would look to the apostles, and their testimony. They died for what they knew to be true, never forget that.

If you are experiencing a spiritual dryness, I have some good advice for you. I actually called in to the Drew Mariani show today and talked about this. This may sound counter-intuitive, but for those who feel they are lacking in faith, I would recommend going to where your faith is challenged and stand up for it. In my case, it was sidewalk counseling. There is a huge spiritual battle that goes on when you sidewalk counsel. You can see the darkness that surrounds the abortion industry, and the lives of the people involved with it. You can see how peoples’ lives are changed by God when they turn from away from it and repent and seek God. Ironically, I think the more I experience ridicule and hatred for standing up for what’s right, the stronger my faith in Jesus becomes. Actually, that is what Jesus said would happen. Those who are persecuted for His sake are blessed by Him, and for those of us who have difficulty believing, He blesses us with the priceless gift of faith.

If anything, just pray and ask God to help you live your faith in some way. An active faith will grow strong and will not die. Live your faith and you will find great joy and your belief will become strong.

I was in confession once, and confessed that I felt really spiritually dry. I was putting in the time, going through the motions, saying the prayers— but my heart just wasn’t in it, and that really disturbed me.

I was told to say three Hail Marys. :rolleyes:

So I went to confession to a different priest and asked for advice for the same problem, since it wasn’t something easily solved by three Hail Marys. He told me I needed to read— in my case, he recommended I find a saint I liked, and read something about them, something they wrote. It ended up being pretty cool, because you could read about someone else’s problems, frustrations, and spiritual difficulties— but you could also fast-forward to their triumphs over those issues and their amazing relationships with God.

If you’re feeling blank, try visiting a Catholic bookstore and buying the book that jumps out at you. I had no idea who St. Gertrude the Great was before I did that, but her book jumped off the shelf at me— and it was so full of thought-provoking tidbits that I ended up buying copies for my mom and sister as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

If you’re feeling doubtful, try a book about apologetics. “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” is logical, methodical, and fabulously readable for what could be a potentially dry subject.

People experience such difficulties on their spiritual paths all the time. Use your troubles as a catalyst and opportunity for growth. Good luck!

So you think all these thoughts are just popping into your mind from nowhere? I think they’re coming from someone who’s real happy you’re seriously considering them. So you’ve got out of the habit of reading the bible and going to confession and now you’re questioning the existence of God and if He loves you. Another point in Satan’s favor.

I suggest getting to confession asap. Confess your sins for sure but also mention your doubts. Get it all out in the open so God’s grace can go to work.

Also, pray that the priest who died will pray for you.

Read the account of Jesus’ death that Fr. Serpa often posts on the Forum.

When the negative thoughts come slam the door on them and pray, “Jesus, I trust in You.”

Wear a blessed miraculous medal, scapular, or St. Benedict’s medal.

Pray every day. Pray more when you don’t feel like it.

Read the daily mass readings every day. You can find them on USCCB.org. This will get you back into the bible.

Like ComSciGuy, I think the fact that the apostles, who knew Jesus best and witnessed His life, death, and resurrection and spent their lives telling about this even though they were tortured and killed, is good evidence of the truth.

You are most definately being LIED to by the enemy of your soul, Satan. Remember that scripture teaches us that he is the father of lies. The thoughts crossing your mind come from the evil one. As for God not answering you by signs etc. Sometimes God does that, but not always. Remember “Doubting Thomas”…Jesus reminded him that he believed because he could see, but “blessed are those that believe without seeing” !(Definition of faith as in Hebrews) We live by faith, not feelings.

I will pray for you tonight but please go to your priest and make yourself available to the sacraments which will help you stand against the wiles of the devil. God loves you and I can tell you want to remain His child so trust in Him and recieve the sacraments. Also pray daily (with or without feelings)

Blessings in Christ,
mlz

As you can see, I was an atheist once. I still doubt. Each wave of doubt comes and goes and my faith is stronger than before. Do not despair! Doubt needn’t be the worst of things. When nights are dark and we feel far from God, we chase Christ through the streets like the bride in Song of Songs. We search frantically for our Lord like the Blessed Virgin Mary searched for her Son. And so, too, we shall search for Christ and we will find him in our Father’s house. Go find him in the Eucharist!

Perhaps this will help. I have come to see my faith, in part, as a narrative. I see all worldviews as narratives. Every worldview, faith based or not, are presuppositional. And behind these presuppositions are castles in the air - things we must accept as true to build the stairway to abstraction. This imagery lends itself readily to story. We cannot remove any worldview from the dynamic of thought. Every worldview competes with other worldviews within a dynamic. Catholicism, through our liturgy, the climax of which is the Eucharist, the transsubstantiated body and blood of Jesus Christ the suffering king of the Universe, the human incarnation of God who is love, is the greatest show on earth. There is no better story, it’s the story of the world, it’s YOUR story. There is nothing truer or more beautiful in the whole world.

God bless and hang tough. I will FOR SURE be praying for you, friend! I will leave you with this:

Veni, Creator (1961)^

Come, Holy Spirit,
bending or not bending the grasses,
appearing or not above our heads in a tongue of flame
as they harvest or when they plow in the orchards or when snow
covers crippled firs in the Sierra Nevada.
I am only a man: I need visible signs.
I tire easily, building the stairway of abstraction.
Many a time I asked, you know it well, that the statue in the church
lift its hand, only once, just once, for me.
But I understand that signs must be human,
Therefore call one man, anywhere on earth, not me — after all I have some decency —
and allow me, when I look at him, to marvel at you.

Well you should have been. If he was truly the servant of God I presume you took him for, then he isn’t dead but alive in Christ.

I didn’t know where it came from. I used to read the Bible every night, but I got out of the habit. I promised God I would go to confession but I still haven’t. Last night at about 2:00am I couldn’t sleep so I tried talking to God. I didn’t feel like I was being heard and then I had another foreign thought.
I thought, 'this is stupid, there’s nothing there. You’re filling your head with thoughts for someone who isn’t there, or doesn’t hear you.’ I am losing my faith. I no longer have that strong belief in God. I thought that if I told everyone I believe strongly, it would come back. But it hasn’t.
I keep having atheist thoughts, ‘there is no proof God exists’, ‘He probably hates you now anyway so you might as well give up’ ‘you only want to believe you don’t just die;. These thoughts are changing my belief. I feel like I have been disillusioned. I started crying because I honestly believe that when I die I will go to neither heaven nor hell, and that life will just end. I don’t want to feel this way. I want to believe.
I asked God to give me a sign, and when I woke up yesterday morning, or the morning before, I had a huge bug bite in between my eyes on my forehead. I thought if He gave me a sign I would believe, but I still don’t feel like God exists. What has happened to my faith? And how can I get it back?

I suspect you may be mourning the loss of your old priest. It would be advantageous to make an appointment with your new priest to help you through the ordeal.

Many of us have similar struggles from time to time. It will pass if you let it. :slight_smile:

Hi,
I’m sure you’ve heard of the devil. But do you really believe “that he goes about the world seeking whom he may destroy”? Do you really believe that? Not just give it lip service? If you really believe that then that should answer your questions as to why you thought those thoughts.

You do know that he can make suggestions to you? I mean just like anyone else? He can place thoughts in your mind and guess what kind of thoughts he is going to place there. When you can’t figure out why and where troublesome thoughts come from, and its a real puzzle, and supprising, guess who.

His best temptation is discourgement. That is what he leans on the most, to get you to give up. He will use it over and over in so many different ways. I’m not exaggerating even a little bit. He means buisness and he means to make you give up in any way he can.

If its any comfort, the thoughts you have been describing have happened to me as well. But I usually catch on right away when I ask myself, “how could I have thought that, that’s aweful.” Then I make the sign of the cross reverently. That is the best of the best to get rid of him. He can’t stand that. It works better than any prayer I’ve ever tried. It is instantanous. He and the trouble he brought both go away.

Right now he is using discouragement on you to make you give up. And by what you’ve been saying and the way you are saying it, he is getting there. Make the sign of the cross reverently and thinking about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit next time and see what happens. That is the meanest thing you can do to him because he can’t stand God.

When Constantine needed a sign to assure him of victory in battle, he saw a sign in the sky, the cross. He won.

That was one of the first things I learned when coming back to the Church and not feeling like I had been forgiven after confession. It’s not about our feelings; it’s about our will, and about trusting God no matter what.

Read the little book, Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. He gives logical reasons to believe. He was an atheist before his conversion to the Church of England.

I have also been going through this same sort of thing for a while now. I have just bought a new bible and now feel excited about reading it again. I had to look at the old one to find out the differences and where to highlight the new one. That got me interested in reading the bible again. As for not going to confession… Just go! I usually get in some type of a slump especially if I feel like I have sinned or have something to confess and don’t go to confession right away. I find that as soon as I go I have that burden lifted.
My wonderful feelings that I had before though have never came back as of yet. I finally decided that I would make myself read and pray wether I wanted to or not. I wouldn’t rely on my feelings any more. My salvation is more important than any feelings I might have and I have to keep that in my head. I really liked the idea of ready about a saint that you feel attracted to. St. John of the Cross talks a lot about the “dark nights”
When I used to feel like this I would just pop in a Fr. Corapi CD and now I don’t even want to think about him and it makes me more depressed so now I have to get a little bit more creative!
May God bless you and I hope you come out of your dark night soon. I will be praying for you also! :thumbsup:

Prayers for you before the Blessed Sacrament tonight.

mlz

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