Insatiable

Hello,

I would discuss this with my pastor, but he’s been very busy lately so that’s why I’m posting here.

Lately I’ve not only felt dissatisfied with who I am and what I own and what my budget allows me to do, but I am also unsatisfied with what I am (and am not), with what I own (and do not), and what my budget allows me to do (or not). I try to relate this struggle back to Christ, but even he is beginning to feel like so little.

For example, being someone who has tended to obsess over music, and who has also tended to spend more than enough per paycheck on CDs, I find that I’m beyond bored with all the music that I own. I find myself browsing online music stores alot, picking out things I want, but I don’t purchase them because I know the thrill is in the acquisition and that this CD or that CD will only make momentarily happy.

I’m also bored with my life. I’m bored with the routine of waking up, going to work, reading at night, praying, then falling asleep. I’ve going out and doing things, such as seeing movies, or visiting coffee shops, but I’m bored with that too. I see people in happy relationships, and I lament that I don’t have someone to be with; in so lamenting, though, I tend to overlook the wonderful relationships with friends and family I do have.

School is getting ready to start soon – where I am planning on pursuing my teacher’s licensure – and that will provide a change of habit…but only for a while. Even that will grow stagnant, I’m sure.

I try to be thankful for all that I have and don’t have: I sometimes pray, “Lord, thank you for my shoes, and thank you for my stomach problems since it is teaching me trust and patience, and thank you for my medicines, and thank you for not making me successful since I am greedy and prideful.” The effect of such prayers only lasts for a brief while before I immediately find myself once again craving something extra…

I’m very conflicted because I want to be at peace with all that I am fortunate to have and all that I am, but it’s hard when I’m constantly bored with it all…

Sometimes the Lord is simply trying to teach us to trust Him more than we trust ourselves, to realize He ultimately is the only one who knows what’s best for us. I experience restlessness on occassion but find that in the end the greatest joy I can find is in Our Lord.

While I certainly don’t know your personal circumstances and cannot pretend to have all the answers (if any), I lift you up to Our Lord in prayer, that He may guide you to Himself in faith, hope, and love.

In Faith and Hope in Christ,
Stephen

Sounds like you have a huge problem. Some of it comes from not setting goals, some from not seeing and valuing the things that are important in life, part from not developing interests that are longer lasting, and part from not looking forward and allowing hope for a better future fulfill some of your aspirations.

Part of life is routine, and repetitive but even the mundane can bring joy and satisfaction if your outlook or perspective is right.

Having someone to share life is a huge part of being happy for family and couples. But for some folks even this is not truly necessary. Memebers of the clergy have no problem being alone or not having a significant other to share things with.

Something as simple as a cup of coffee or hot tea, can be very satisfying and enjoyable if you simply learn to savor the moment.

Acquiring things (as in music in your case) can quickly lose it’s appeal once you already have it. Do you take the time to listen to and enjoy the music that you already own, or is it simply the search and asquisition that makes you want to persue it ???

You may want to develop other interests or hobbies as well or get involved with activities where you meet more people or meet more often with the friends and relatives that you already have. Keeping busy always kills boredom.

Also boredom like a lot of emotions is something that you can control. You can let yourself get bored or you can refuse to let boredom settle in. Get active, go out or simply read a good book or enjoy a cup of tea. It doesn’t take much to chase it away.

Hi Epistemes,

What you’re describing sounds to me like what I’ve heard referred to as “holy dissatisfaction” - a spiritual restlessness in which we find ourselves unable to be satisfied with created things and circumstances in life. This feeling may be a sign that spiritually we have become nearsighted, and are focusing too much on the temporal.

This restlessness prompts us to put our hope in God rather than seeking peace and joy in things of this world which are passing. When we seek God first, then we will begin to appreciate and enjoy created things not in themselves, but because they are gifts from God. We will even begin to find joy in suffering.

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

It is not within our power to just flip a switch and change our attitudes; we need God to do that. And for that adjustment to happen we need to spend time with Him in prayer, and allow Him to be the potter who molds our earthly hearts.

“Ep”… The first thing that came to my mind… I’m wondering if a parish retreat of some sort, might help you. Ya think? Maybe there’s something in your bulletin, coming up. We have stuff all the time… that I’m not able to attend, but would like to.

Not only are retreats, wonderful spiritual “refreshers”… but I’ve heard they are often a great way to forge new friendships as well.

Just a thought. Hope it helps.

Yes, I have lost focus to a certain degree. I’m not very optimistic, either – though I never have been. I’ve always been a staunch pessimist – and have been proud of it, too, in the past. I have some short-term and long-term goals, though I must admit I’m not very excited about any of them right now. I mentioned my teacher’s licensure, for starter’s, but I’m hardly optimistic about finding a job since the pickings are so slim. I have a job already, but in four years I’ve gone nowhere in it, and when I am outsourced, possibly to make less than I currently do, I must confess that I don’t expect any different. I just feel like I’m drifting, and have been drifting for the past 3 years.

It’s pathetic, but I can’t even answer the question, “What is important in life?”

Part of life is routine, and repetitive but even the mundane can bring joy and satisfaction if your outlook or perspective is right.

Having someone to share life is a huge part of being happy for family and couples. But for some folks even this is not truly necessary. Memebers of the clergy have no problem being alone or not having a significant other to share things with.

You’re right, I don’t need a significant other to make me happy. In fact, my past experience has typically proved the contrary! :stuck_out_tongue:

I know that it’s all based on outlook or perspective, because there have been plenty of times when I have been content and even happy with everything, but now I wonder if I wasn’t just ignorantly blissful? I’ve lost that outlook, though. I’m tired of eating sandwiches and Ramen for lunch, but I don’t need to be eating what I’d like all the time, either – even though a cheeseburger is much more exciting! (And yes, I know a cheeseburger here, cheeseburger there moderation is what I need, and is what I do, but I take no delight now in the cheeseburger which I enjoyed last Friday.)

Something as simple as a cup of coffee or hot tea, can be very satisfying and enjoyable if you simply learn to savor the moment.

Acquiring things (as in music in your case) can quickly lose it’s appeal once you already have it. Do you take the time to listen to and enjoy the music that you already own, or is it simply the search and asquisition that makes you want to persue it ???

I sold or gave away alot of my CDs when I embarked on a misdirected Franciscan spirituality late last year. Now I’m left with the few fads and obsessions which wouldn’t sell or I figured I would want later. None of them are particularly appealling right now, though. I’ve got a few CDs in my amazon.com Shopping Cart, but I don’t dare purchase them because I know it’s only a fleeting moment before I tire of them, also.

I’m also trying not to be such a consumer. I used to be a consumer whore, buying, buying, buying, buying, devouring devouring, devouring, devouring, and I’ve cooled my engines. I’ve said, “Nope, I bought these four books, and I’m going to take my time reading them.” When I buy a CD, I try rationalizing the same thing: “Okay, I’m going to buy this Coltrane CD and I’m going to listen to it a hundred times, and I’m going to enjoy it for what it’s worth, before purchasing something else.” But I purchase it, I listen to it, and then I’m immediately like, “Well, that’s done.”

You may want to develop other interests or hobbies as well or get involved with activities where you meet more people or meet more often with the friends and relatives that you already have. Keeping busy always kills boredom.

I’ve thought of taking up writing poetry, but every time I sit down to write, nothing comes. And I’ve thought about taking up watercolor, but I don’t know anything I want to paint. I read. I’m reading more fiction now, which is mildly satisfying compared to all the spirituality I was reading. I’m trying to be more well-rounded. There’s not much else I’m interested in.

I am teaching the youth catechumenate at my Church on occassion, which has been put on hold due to the holidays and school vacation. I thought I was going to be an RCIA sponsor, which I was looking forward to, but nothing’s come of that, either. The local homeless shelter needs volunteers to stay the night, but I can only do it on weekends, when everyone else can, too.

I’m thinking of taking up going out to bars more often again, but I’m afraid since I give in so easily to peer pressure and just came from a sinful past involving this very behavior.

Nothing like that, that I’ve seen lately in the bulletin – and, trust me, I always check the bulletin for ways to be involved!

This sounds like me. In my restlessness, I feel very far from God. Praying has been difficult for me, lately, too. My mind even wanders during the rosary and LOTH.

Bummer. :frowning: Well, I’ll keep you in my prayers. Sounds like you’re in a kind of dry spell. I get them a lot, too. It’ll pass. Hang in there.

Your SD will be able to help you discern this - but I suspect you’re experiencing the night of sense. See this section from Spiritual Theology and scroll down a few paragraphs to read about the night of sense:

Passive Purgations

Or you may try the Knights of Columbus. We almost always have an event or two going. I’ve gotten to the point where I only have time to run 2 events per year (I used to run 3 or 4) and they keep me busy all the time. I also usher and attend all the other KC functions and I travel about 2 or 3 times per year. That plus a full time job and bowling in a league 9 months and a few rounds of golf keeps me busy all the time.

It’s gotten to the point where we named our bowling team “No Spare Time”, and it’s literally true.

Prayer does help, but you may also see if there are some singles social clubs in your parish or community. IF you ever do get kids, boredom is the furtherest thing from your mind. We have 3 and their sports schedules had us hopping 7 days a weeks, games and practices on top of other games and practices.

sounds to me like you have found the true value of things. The world and all it has to offer cannot truly satisfy us. You have embraced the world and found it wanting. That is good. Maybe God is calling you to a greater commitment to Him.

Your comments remind me of what an abbot once said to me: he said he used to get up, go to work, come home, watch TV, listen to music, go to bed and repeat the process, day after day, and he couldn’t see any point in any of it. He joined a monastery and gave his life to Christ and suddenly he was satisfied and he felt his life had a purpose.

Maybe God is calling you to give your life to Him, Epistemes, by showing you how futile the world is in making us happy and that only He can satisfy us. :slight_smile:

Interesting, Nick - I hadn’t thought about Epistemes’ question from the perspective of vocation. I once heard that a priest explained identifying your vocation this way:

Imagine a room with three chairs. One chair is married life, one chair is single life, and one chair is religious life or holy orders. If you’re not sure what to do, pick a chair and have a seat for a while. Try out the married chair - no don’t run off and go get married, but do things that might lead to marriage, like dating.

If you’re unsatisfied, try the single chair. If that one doesn’t work for you, try the religious or Holy Orders chair. Just like with the married chair, you don’t have to say vows the first day; you get a period of discernment to find out if that is truly your calling.

yes, Beckie, and it sounds as though Epistemes has tried dating and single life and its trappings and found both dissatisfying, so maybe now he could try a deeper commitment to the Lord in priesthood or religious life. This is from one who is in a similar position in many ways :slight_smile:

Sounds like Nick has some good advice for you. :tiphat:

Pray about it! :highprayer:

With prayers for your vocation - whatever it may be!
Stephen

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfood.” ** Matthew 5:10-13 **

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea, write this: "The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation, says this: “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” ** Revelations 3:14-16 **

A theif comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.** John 10:10 **

Maybe it is the trust and faith in Christ that he has our backs and cares more about our ultimate happiness and joy than we ourselves do that allow us to live life in abundant, blessed, powerful, loved, and happy ways by having increased confidence to build his Kingdom in the religious, political, and social sense and trust in his Gospel!! :slight_smile: :confused: REVIVAL!!

Maybe do you ever put yourself out there for the kingdom? Do you ever take prayerful risks in lovingly sharing the word with people around you, even a word that is not politically correct. I once had an extremely intelligent friend who was very pessimistic about life and suffered depression and I noticed a key aspect of his life was that he spent a lot of time comparing himself to other people and wondering what they thought of him and why. He was rabidly cautious about involving himself in causes that he supported unless the peer group that he esteemed involved themselves as well. However, pretty much everything of the Kingdom strikes me (perhaps I am incorrect and naive) as politically unpopular at first until a bunch of people have been persecuted and died for it. E.g. opposition to the end of slavery, social support of Genocide, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage cause, early Christians eaten by lions) St. Maria Faustina was often upset about what others thought about her in her Diary, and Christ told her to put her trust in himself, not in creatures. Persecution is sometimes a sign of faithfully following Christ’s word.

It may be better to take risks sometimes because if you are wrong and you say the Rosary, go to Daily Mass, and submit all actions to a spiritual director, God will correct you as he corrected St. Paul and another person in the New Testament (was it St. Timothy) and use you deeply for his benefit. I personally find great joy when I allow myself to trust, love, and invest myself in an issue of great concern to God and I meet the most loving and supportive people while there. Some examples are soup kitchen ministry, volunteering to help unwed mothers, and Darfur genocide activism.

I have only read a little of Archbishop Fulton Sheen but he wrote a book, “Life is Worth Living” that might be worth a look. :wink: Have you ever thought about studying the lives of the American saints, blesseds, and venerables as inspirational? I wonder why there are so few :eek: allformary.org/AmericanSaints/

There is no Resurrection without the Cross. Maybe this quotation might inspire you as it inspires me. :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue: :slight_smile:
“When we know that the way of love – this exodus, this going out of oneself – is the true way by which man becomes human, then we also understand that suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people, he becomes hard and selfish. Love itself is a passion, something we endure. In love, I experience first a happiness, a general feeling of happiness. Yet, on the other hand, I am taken out of my comfortable tranquility and have to let myself be reshaped. If we say that suffering is the inner side of love, we then also understand why it is so important to learn how to suffer – and why, conversely, the avoidance of suffering renders someone unfit to cope with life.” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

P.S. Many young single ladies exist volunteering at soup kitchens when the Catholic community at university or church encourages it. :slight_smile:

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among 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. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among 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. Amen. *

Thanks to everyone who has responded with such thoughtfulness. A few personalized replies:

I seriously doubt it. Seeing all things as empty of any real value *at all *is a mindset typically practiced by gnostics, not faithful Catholics. Or, if I have found the true value of things, then it probably won’t last. I can recite the alphabet backwards drunk, but I can’t hold on to a piece of wisdom to save my life. :rolleyes:

[quote=beckcmarie]Your SD will be able to help you discern this - but I suspect you’re experiencing the night of sense. See this section from Spiritual Theology and scroll down a few paragraphs to read about the night of sense:

Passive Purgations
[/quote]

I don’t have an SD yet, and I don’t know how much my pastor knows about Carmelite spirituality – but reading it myself, I’m pretty it’s just dissolution of the soul I’m experiencing. In all truthfulness, with no humility needed, I can’t see why I, of all people, should be allowed to go through the night of the senses when I’ve done nothing to progress an inch along the path towards God. Anyone who is experiencing the night of the senses doesn’t say to themselves, or to God, “Why can’t I experience the night of the senses?” That’s devilish pride talking!

I’ll just buy my CDs and continue striving in prayer. (I don’t mean to sound rude.)

This is an excellent guide for discerning whether or not you are in a dark night of the soul or not. :slight_smile:

[Signs for discerning whether a spiritual person is treading the path of this sensory night and purgation.]

  1. Because these aridities may not proceed from the sensory night and purgation, but from sin and imperfection, or weakness and lukewarmness, or some bad humor or bodily indisposition, I will give some signs here for discerning whether the dryness is the result of this purgation or of one of these other defects. I find there are three principal signs for knowing this.
  1. The first is that since these souls do not get satisfication or consolation from the things of God, they do not get any from creatures either. Since God puts a soul in this dark night in order to dry up and purge its sensory appetite, he does not allow it to find sweetness or delight in anything. Through this sign it can in all likelihood be inferred that this dryness and distate is not the outcome of newly committed sins and imperfections. If this were so, some inclination or propensity to look for satisfaction in something other than the things of God would be felt in the sensory part, for when the appetite is allowed indulgence in some imperfection, the soul immediately feels an inclination toward it, little or great in proportion to the degree of its satisfaction and attachment. Yet, because the want of satisfaction in earthly or heavenly things could be the product of some indisposition or melancholic humor, which frequently prevents one from being satisifed with anything, the second sign or condition is necessary.
  1. The second sign for the discernment of this purgation is that the memory ordinarily turns to God solicitously and with painful care, and the soul thinks it is not serving God but turning back, because it is aware of this distate for the things of God. Hence it is obvious that this aversion and dryness is not the fruit of laxity and tepidity, for lukewarm people do not care much for the things of God nor are they inwardly solicitious about them. There is, consequently, a notable difference between dryness and lukewarmness. The lukewarm are very lax and remiss in their will and spirit, and have no solicitude about serving God. Those suffering from the purgative dryness are ordinarily solicitous, concerned, and pained about not serving God. Even though the dryness may be furthered by melancholia or some other humor - as it often is - it does not thereby fail to produce its purgative effect in the appetite, for the soul will be deprived of every satisfaction and concerned only about God. If this humor is the entire cause, everything ends in displeasure and does harm to one’s nature, and there are none of these desires to serve God that accompany the purgative dryness. Even though in this purgative dryness the sensory part of the soul is very cast down, slack, and feeble in its actions because of the little satisfaction it finds, the spirit is ready and strong.
  1. The reason for this dryness is that God transfers his goods and strength from sense to spirit. Since the sensory part of the soul is incapable of the goods of spirit, it remains deprived, dry, and empty. Thus, while the spirit is tasting, the flesh tastes nothing at all and becomes weak in its work. But through this nourishment the spirit grows stronger and more alert, and becomes more solicitous than before about not failing God. If in the beginning the soul does not experience this spiritual savor and delight, but dryness and distaste, the reason is the novelty involved in this exchange. Since the palate is accustomed to those other sensory tastes, the soul still sets its eyes on them. And since, also, its spiritual palage is neither purged nor accomodated for so subtle a taste, it is unable to experience the spiritual savor and good until gradually prepared by means of this dark and obscure night. The soul instead experiences dryness and distaste because of a lack of the gratification it formerly enjoyed so readily.
  1. Those whom God begins to lead into these desert solitudes are like the children of Israel. When God began giving them the heavenly food, which contained in itself all savors and changed to whatever taste each one hungered after Wis. 16:20-21], as is there mentioned, they nonetheless felt a craving for the tastes of the fleshmeats and onions they had eaten in Egypt, for their palate was accustomed and attracted to them more than to the delicate sweetness of the angelic manna. And in the midst of that heavenly food, they wept and sighed for fleshmeat [Nm. 11:4-6]. The baseness of our appetite is such that it makes us long for our own miserable goods and feel aversion for the incommunicable heavenly good.

From St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul karmel.at/ics/john/dn_10.html

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