"In this world but not of this world"

I’m going through a bit of an existential crisis right now, where the demands of society seem to be clashing with the demands of my faith. I’ve been doing a little research, and one thing that keeps coming up is living “in this world but not of this world”. How does one go about this, exactly?

Secondly, I’ve been trying to explain to my therapist that I don’t want to become too attached to anything that exists only in this life i.e. everything but God and his people, as too much worldly attachment seems to lead me to sin, yet she’s been going on about being “grounded” and “in touch with my body”. She doesn’t really understand me when I tell her that I want to be poor. I’m feeling a bit of a conflict in interests here. Any advice?

Be IN the world but not OF the World------in other words, DON’T become materialistic and attached to things of THIS world. Face the fact that everything is transitory in this world and we are more Spirit than Body. Become attached to GOD, CHRIST, and THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOT one’s Car or One’s House. That’s what is meant by that statement. :thumbsup:

OK, first spiritual poverty - in the manner of speaking about things such as Franciscan living, etc is not just about material poverty. The easiest way I had it broken down to me was that basically nothing I owned was mine - it was shared. This does not mean I cannot have things or even that I cannot own them but that I must share them. It also means that it goes further than just things. For instance my body is not my own - it is shared with God - therefore I only make right use of it when I follow the rules of chastity. If you have a home or an apartment and someone needs a place to stay (safety and scandal rules applying of course) then your door should be open. These are some examples for you - I hope it helps. I would also recommend studying St Bonaventure on this particular subject. He has much to say on Spiritual poverty.

On a more practical note also you may want to consider a Catholic counselor if you have not or maybe see if your priest or spiritual advisor will get involved with your counselor to help explain some of these things.

Good luck to you - I hope it helps - Pax et Bonum.

I don’t think that means we’re not supposed to have attachments or any type, or that all material possessions are bad. Granted, if you have a house and feel attached to it because you earned it honestly and worked hard for it, that doesn’t mean that if you somehow end up losing your house the entire world ends. We’re supposed to not value our possessions above God, hence not making false idols.

Personally, that statements means that we should be active agents of God in this world, and participate in a manner that shows through our actions that we seek to spread the gospel. That means participating in processes that society engages in, such as voting, education, volunteering, etc. but that does not mean we adopt the values of secular society. Through our actions, we are supposed to change the world, not let the world change us.

It sounds like your therapist does not have an understanding of where you are coming from. Psychology is a good tool when the therapist understands, due to having the same faith, where his/her client is coming from.

If you are interested you may want to check out this site:


that sounds more like a “new-age” therapist. If she’s a Christian, it’d be strange. Try a Catholic counselor or at least a Christian counselor.

Yeah, I’m a little hesitant to say the least, given how she wants to use EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) on me this next session (Monday).

I also meant to post this for you.

I also meant to post this for you.

Thanks, Joandarc (Joan? Jo?). You’ve been a real help, in this thread and many others. I’ll look into that thread.

EMDR isn’t some New Age technique, it’s been researched and there’s plenty of evidence on its effectiveness based on MRI scans. It may seem odd at first yes…but it’s medically researched. If you have qualms about this therapist, I would suggest a Christian-based one who uses EMDR.

Joan is fine – It’s not my real name but I love my patron Saint. God bless.

In the world but not of it.

That was something that I was struggling with for about 10 years.
Basically, what I realised after a lot of prayer was that we have to put God at the centre of our lives. We must let him lead us in everything. In that way we will know His will, will follow it and not be of this world. I guess this sounds a bit vague but it really is the question of shifting the focus. I used to live a rather secular lifestyle where my will competed with God’s will and I was miserable and confused as a consequence. After I made the decision to allow him to lead me things started to change. It was a gradual process for me which resulted in a radical change of heart.

My advice is to pray (especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament) and ask God for this grace. Your life will definitely change as a consequence. A Christian counsellor would be a good idea too.It made all the difference to me when I was going through some tough times.


I don’t know if this will help but it may:

***How to Be a Monastic and Not Leave Your Day Job: An Invitation to Oblate Life ***by Brother Benet Tvedten

St. Benedict was disgusted with Rome when he lived there. He eventually learned how to live in the world but not of it. Maybe you can glean something from this book or from The Rule of St. Benedict.

I’ll be praying for you.

P.S. I know where you are coming from. I work in a fire house. You might as well say I live/work in a locker room because that’s the atmosphere.

It’s best not to be too materialistic. I grew up in a poor family so I never had the opportunity to become that way. I don’t even had cable or the internet. Not because I can’t afford them but because I don’t want to become too tied to the digital and materialistic world. :cool:

I agree… the technique is certainly not sketchy.
But if your therapist doesn’t understand where you’re coming from then I would also suggest looking for a Christian-based one…

Watch out for “therapists.” Their training is taken at secular schools that promote secular and often unGodly attitudes and behaviors. Therefore you might as well be speaking a foreign language when you talk about your spiritual concerns. Years ago I am certain many of our conflicts were resolved by talking to our Godly priests, religious, family and friends, if not resolved by frequent fervent reception of the Sacraments especially Confession and Communion from FAITHFUL Reverent priests. But with all that’s lacking nowadays…Seriously, seek out a nourishing parish - hint - look at how respectfully and reverently - or not- they conduct Mass and Exposition, or whether its all about the choir or the rock star priest or socializing in the aisles. and GO frequently. Read the lives of the saints. And I agree with the others - seek out a Catholic psychologist/psychiatrist…at least you’ll speak the same language. Try some of these: idpsy.com/, saintmichael.net/, and straphaelhealing.com Keep the faith, and close to Him who loves us most of all.

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