Looking for someone who relates to advise


#1

After a long time of keeping God at arm’s length I feel like I’ve finally realized why I’ve been doing it.

I am afraid of being close with God and, at this point in my life, I’m just really torn about it BECAUSE, everybody knows, (to paraphrase Mother Teresa) When you get close to Jesus you’ll be by him on the cross and you’re going to get poked by the thorns. And I recall some other saint that quipped that that is the very reason that Jesus doesn’t have that many friends.

Everybody knows that this is the name of the game. It’s the whole point. For us to suffer like HE did in order to win graces, heaven, and to save souls. Don’t anybody even try to deny it or soft-pedal it. Life with Christ is suffering (at least while here on earth). It’s just a fact.

Earlier in my life I was much more willing to accept this, be okay with it, and whatever He had planned. But at this point, I am very tired of hurting and feeling lonely. My mother died at age 48 of breast cancer less than three weeks before my second son was born. My life bears the evidence of that loss every day. I am just a couple months from delivering our third child and just miss her so much. Also, being a married mother of two (three in May) I just can’t deal with the thought of having to suffer over something happening to my husband or children and being asked to accept it as part of getting closer to God.

I honestly do not know what to do. I have been continuing to go to Sunday Mass in order to be able to be close to and commune with my Mother AND for the sake of continuing SOMETHING in my faith life AND for the sake of how we’re raising our children. But that’s about the extent of it.

I did see a priest a few times for spiritual guidance and he directed me to turn everything back over to God and trust him with it, but I’ve been stuck there ever since.

I do want to be close to God again, but I’m afraid of what he’ll do to me and I’m still hurting from the last blow. How does anybody manage this?:crying:


#2

I feel for you about your mother.

It is really hard to lose your mother. I couldn’t share my life or my children with her. She never got to know my children. I remember times when I cried all day, at the knowledge I couldn’t share even an ordinary cup of tea and a chat, and that she didn’t meet my boys.

But you get poked by the thorns whether you’re near God or not. It does help if you let Him near because there are things only He can help you with, and only faith and trust in His personal love can get you through.

When I wasn’t close to God I had as many thorn pricks as if I’d fallen into a very large cactus. There is still plenty of thorns…But now, in my heart I can lean my head against Jesus chest, bury my face in his neck, like a child. Sometimes it’s the only thing I have that really helps.

Life provides the blows, in abundance. Life is dificult anyway. God has been my place of safety and hope.

The quote is from St Teresa of Avila/Jesus, and even though she was in a convent it was some time before she actually came close to God, some time before her real conversion to Him. Maybe you could ask her to pray for you.

As it happens, Jesus didn’t base the judgement of souls on suffering. He told us that our judgement is based on how loving we are, how good to those in need around us. If you read Matthew 25, verses 31-46, you will see this.

“Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You; or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and make You welcome; naked and clothe You; sick or in prison and go to see You?” Jesus replies “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.” “In so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least, you neglected to do it to me.” [Matthew 25:37-40, 45-46] He goes on to say that it is these who were kind to others, not neglectful who are welcomed into heaven.

“Our soul awaits the Lord, He is our help and our shield; our hearts rejoice in Him, we trust in His holy name. Lord God, let Your love rest on us, as our hope has rested in You.” [Psalm 33:20-22]


#3

Even saints had their rough times. St. Teresa of Avila once prayed, “If this is how You treat Your friends, no wonder You have so few of them.”


#4

God doesn’t send you blows you cannot endure.
And after twenty or thirty blows you’ll get used to it and your faith will be as hard as tungsten steel.
Trust me, I’ve only had blows (even from Church people) for the last 30 years and although I feel lonely because I feel so different my faith is as hard as rock.
God sometimes puts your faith to the test.
My opinion is that He allowed the Devil to test me.
But I didn’t waste my time.
I prayed, I read plenty of books, I talked to priests (they never helped all that much, they don’t know about the Cross, they live cozily in their churches) I protested , I kicked and yelled, but I didn’t lose the faith.
Of course, nobody likes suffering.
But I feel nothing can be as hard as to make me lose my love for God in the future.


#5

No retreat…no surrender!


#6

Spiritual direction is an ongoing process. Not all spiritual directors are priests although having one as your director allows you also to receive the sacrament of reconciliation when you go for direction. However, contact your local diocese for a list of spiritual directors or contact a local retreat house to help you as well. Not all directors will be appropriate for you. You many have to try a couple before you find on that will click with your needs. Pray with all things. And God will help you on your journey.


#7

The crosses of Jesus are special gifts of His Mercy. When you recieve them, offer them up to Jesus and ask Him for more love to love Him with. This will please Him.

A good way to bear crosses patiently is to think of Jesus on the Cross: He reigns on the Cross and we share in His reign when we suffer. It is the hour of glory and we are privledged to share in it! But some cannot understand, for they do not have the Holy Spirit; for this reason, we must pray and set a good example for others.

By our prayers we obtain gifts from Christ, by our actions we exemplify the life of Christ. Prayer and actions are united in Him.


#8

Before I became a Franciscan I was married. We had three children and a good family life, including a good relationship with extended family such as our parents and sibligns on both sides.

One day my wife drove me to the airport. My father, two sons and daughter were with her. When I landed on the other side I was told by an airline official to call home.

My mother answered and said there had been an accident and I should return immediately. I shuddered. I got on the next plane home.

When I arrived at the hospital they put me into a small room. A social worker came in and told me that my wife and father had been killed in an accident on the way back from the airport. My son was in intensive care and I could see him. My other children had walked away without a scratch.

My son was brain dead. He was being kept alive by machines. The bleeding in his brain was coming from too many places for the surgeon to fix. There was no medical hope that he would ever wake up, because his brain had been smashed by the collision. Other than that, his other organs were functioning as long as the machines were attached.

That night I sat there with hin and watched the monitors. I observed one of the monitors and there was a spike. I asked the nurse what that meant in the hopes that she would tell me that he had some brain activity. She looked at it and said, “His brain is now so swollen because of the blood that it has sponged up that it can no longer fit into his skull, so it is herniating.”

After two consulations, the verdict was in. His brain had imploded. They could keep him breathing and his heart going indefinitely, because his heart and lungs were only seven-years old. I would have to find a home for him, because there was no use keeping him in the hospital. They could do nothing for him.

I went home and told my two children, then 9 and 4, that their mother was dead, their grandpa was dead and their brother was going to die within the hour. I invited them to come to the hospital to say good-bye. They did.

My daughter brushed her brother’s hair and washed his face. The younger brother held his hand for about an hour. I told the two that I was going to turn off the machines. They just nodded. After an hour my daughter said, “It’s time Daddy.” I asked the doctor how to turn off the machine. He pointed to all the right buttons and I pressed each one. In seven minutes my son stopped breathing and his heart stopped.

I remember crying because I was frightened. I was alone with two young children and a widowed mother. I also remember feeling very jealous, because my family was going to the very place where I wanted to be. I wanted to be with God and see him.

My love for the Eucharist has always made me feel very special in the eyes of the Lord. When I’m there I’m with a friend who loves me very much. All I could think about that night was how much I wanted to see this friend face to face, not under the appearance of bread and wine, but as he really looked.

Years later my son said to me, “My mom and brother died because they did what they came to do. I’m not angry, because they went home. I just miss them a lot.” My daughter once said to me, “I’m not lonely without mom, I’m just homesick, because home is not the same without her and my brother.”

Today, they are adults. I never married. I joined he Franciscan Brothers and became a celibate. I studied theology and psychology. I work among children and families who have loved ones with brain damage and I minister to their souls. I’ve learned that those who love and have lost a loved one either to death or to a tragedy such as a handicapping condition or health impairment, need to hear the voice of God that says, “I love you more than anyone else, because you hurt.”

I’m not sure if this helps you or not. But our holy father Francis always told us that God loves all his sons and daughters, but like the parable of the talents says, he gives more to some. He distributes his love accordingly. Those who have lost more are also loved with a deeper tenderness. God’s tendernes toward us is just. It is always proportionate to what he takes away.

Please pray for me and I for you.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OFS :slight_smile:


#9

JReducation, I’m moved beyond anything I can say by what you have shared. I can only look forward to meeting you and your amazing children in heaven. You are one of God’s special treasures.


#10

I agree with Trishie that bad stuff is going to happen regardless. Having Christ near us is really what gives us the strength to endure them and hopefully the opportunity to turn our pain into something meaningful.

For some reason I am reminded of a television movie I saw called “God on Trial”, (SPOILER ALERT) in the movie a group of Jews in a concentration camp essentially put God on trial under the charge of breaking his covenant with the Jewish people whilst they awaited being taken to the gas chambers.
They ultimately ruled guilty, so to speak.
And when the Nazis came and began dragging them off to the chambers, one man, who I will call Arrogance, fell down crying at the feet of one of his fellow convicted Jews, who I will call Faithful. Arrogance is shaking with fear over his impending death as he looks up at Faithful and says “What do we do!? What do we do now that God is guilty!?” Faithful calmly looks down and at Arrogance as he quietly comes to terms with their shared tragic fate, and said something that I will never forget.

“Now, now we pray.”


#11

We are all God’s special treasures. Have you forgotten that humanity is the Father’s gift to the Son? God so much loved humanity that through the action of the Holy Spirit the Son of God became the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.

Yes, we are treasures. Can we be anything less? The glorified Son of God deserved nothing less than a treasure as a gift. We are the gift that the Father gave to the Son and which the Son redeemed for the Father. We are the gift that the Holy Spirit protects and guides for the Father and the Son.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OFS :slight_smile:


#12

I’m not tryinbg to be offensive.
I just want to tell you about my encounter with the Franciscans here in Genoa Italy.
11 years ago I was 46 and I wanted to see whether I could join the Franciscans, in any capacity I could.
I have always been attracted by St. Francis.
My favourite Saints are Francis and Jean Vianney, the curate of Ars.
I like poverty.
Right now, after I lost all my belongings, I am living with no money, just the few bucks my mother gives me, and a few clothes.
I am quite happy being poor.
Plus, I always look for people who need help…
I went to see the Franciscan who was in charge of recruiting.
It was a disastrous rendez vous.
Not only he received me in the room whether they stuck all the useless things, rateher than in his office, but he didn’t let me talk.
He contradicted everything I said.
He was not interested at all in what I had to say
Of course, I got what I wanted: just an idea of what Franciscans are today, at least in Genoa.
If their bosses are like that, I’m not interested at all in joining.
I have never felt so humiliated in my whole life.
I am quite happy been a lay person.
Knowing the Church people like I have known them during my whole life, I now keep well away from them.
Thanks God the Catholic Church exists; but I am waiting desperately for some kind of renewal because I cannot imagine the Church getting more corrupted, selfish, proud and sinful than it is today.


#13

Ben, it’s not so much that your post seems offensive, it’s that it doens’t have anything to do with this thread.

JReducation just gave a power heartwarming testimony that truely related to the nature of the thread and moves the soul. I found it sort of offensive the way you launched into two little strings of negative remarks against the priesthood in both of your reply’s.


#14

I don’t know you at all. But the impression that I am getting from both of your posts is that you seem to promote a rugged individualistic spirituality of suffering, rather than an ecclesian and communal one. I find that disturbing, not offensive. I’m let wondering if this position has something to do with some bone that you have to pick with the clergy and members of religious orders.

When we live with bones to pick, it is very difficult to engage in an ecclesial and fraternal sharing of suffering. In those cases, we suffer more than we need to suffer, because we do it alone.

Fraternally,

JR :slight_smile:


#15

Thank you for your comments.
I don’t know.
I think you are right.
You see, one big problem is that I am too sensitive.
I am different from others.
I feel that ordinary people can take the blows of life better than I.
To me, they just hurt and hurt, and they have been hurting for the last 30 years.
I went around the world and everywhere I went people hated me.
I am not the kind of person who endures that easily.
I guess I wouldn’t have made a good soldier.
Even worse, people hurt me while I was trying to do good to them and I cannot understand why.
It hurts me more if those people are religious people, priests and nuns, like it happened to me, because I expect LOVE from them, the love they preach.
You know I spent six years with some nuns and I was sick with depression and they put me to live in a shack with no water, no electricity, no toilet and no heating and with mice eating my clothes.
Yes, I want to ask you all: what should I think about things like that.
Please help me get this out of my mind.
I dearly expect help from you.
If I tell these things it is not just because I want to defame the Church.
It is because I cannot find a satisfactory reason that will put my mind to rest.
If I tell this kind of thing to people, people reject them and I am left with more hurt. By telling these things and getting rejected all the time, I actually do nothing more than hurt myself.
I should keep quiet and endure the hurting ? Forever ?
You are decent people. I trust you.
As Christians, you must not reject me or give me sanctions.
You have to help me heal my woulds.
I hope you will do so.
Love and hugs


#16

The story about the nuns hurts me even more because during the time I was living in the shack a couple came to live in the monastery and because they were paying some rent they got decent accomodation


#17

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