Losing my Faith. Despairing. Help


#1

I look around me and I see unrelenting suffering of everyone and everything in the charnel house we call the world. I see a world that is dying through pollution and environmental damage. I see people abused, animals abused. Torment and misery. If there is a hell I think we are in it.

I cannot feel God’s presence. I cannot understand how ,if there is a God that He would abandon us to this suffering. I cannot see any good coming out of suffering. I cannot see any point to anyone being born or any of us carrying on. If I didn’t have a husband and son whom I love I would not carry on. As I am losing (or have lost?) my faith I don’t fear hell as a result of suicide. I’ve stopped going to Church - there is no point. I’m angry with the Catholic Church for heaping condemnation on me and increasing the suffering of so many of us by not listening and offering nothing but “go to mass, say your formulaic prayers, support the priests” as solutions. I’ve done that for years and still I’m here, still feeling like this, no respite. Just the knowledge that if there is a Catholic God I’m going to hell anyway…so what is the point?

I am being treated for long term and severe depression. I also have a serious, life threatening, chronic and limiting health condition despite being in my early 40s. I can’t sleep. i have nightmares when I do sleep. We have serious money problems. I have a very difficult and demanding wider family. I’m constantly ill and exhausted, have to work fulltime despite it killing me, we haven’t had a proper holiday in over 10 years and I just want it all to end because I can’t take anymore. I’m actually envious of the dead.

But I don’t think this has anything to do with depression. I think I’ve just woken and realised that either there is no God or that He has abandoned us. Either way, I despair. I want all of this to end because I’m trapped and there is no way out.


#2

You are in my prayers! :(:(:frowning:

I just want to point something out. Rwanda experienced a horrible genocide. Now Rwanda has the highest proportion of women in Parliament. Hell exists. If suffering did not exist on Earth, maybe we as humans would deserve Hell more than we do. Earthly life now is not the ideal. We were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Some of the things that we see as the smaller sins “abortion” compared to the bigger sins “starvation” are actually bigger sins in the eyes of God. Many of the world’s problems could be solved if we humans accepted more responsibility and pursued higher moral character.

I question some of the things that you question. My question is more along the lines of: We as humans can end some suffering, but others seem to present themselves. Slavery, colonialism, racial discrimination, and the Holocaust ended. Now, communism, abortion, gay marriage, contraception, the threat of nuclear war, oppression in the world etc. all present themselves. I wonder - how do we get the energy, hope, and motivation to keep on reforming if something new and evil keeps arising and some of the people doing the improvements are the ones that we have the most problems with. :confused::confused::confused:

It is helping me a little to read saint’s works to understand more about the creation and purpose of the world, as well as the purpose of life on an individual basis instead of a large-scale basis. It may just be that each of us has their cross that helps them to Heaven or (rejection of this Cross) spurs them to Hell. It is also important to remember that, though poor, many people in the developing countries are happier than we are. In fact, according to the World Value Survey, the happiest country in the world is one of the poorest ones. Little abidcations of moral character can often spiral out of control and create an evil society. (Did you watch the movie, the Dark Night to see how this works in pictoral form?)

The Way of Perfection (St. Teresa of Avila) catholicfirst.com/TheFaith/CatholicClassics/StTeresa/way/wayofperfection.cfm
Interior Castle: (St. Teresa of Avila) sacred-texts.com/chr/tic/index.htm
Mystical City of God themostholyrosary.com/mystical-city.htm
In Defense of The City of God Mystica Civitate Dei: dailycatholic.org/issue/05Jun/jun10tim.htm - to summarize the research of three priests on the official decision of the Holy Roman Catholic Church regarding The Mystical City of God by Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda and to ascertain thereby whether it is permitted for anyone of any authority whatsoever to forbid the reading of this extraordinary book.
The Way of the Cross by St. Josemaria Escriva escrivaworks.org/book/the_way_of_the_cross-point-4.htm
Rosarium Virginis Mariae by His Holiness Pope John Paul II: To the Bishops, Clergy, and Faithful on the Most Holy Rosary vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20021016_rosarium-virginis-mariae_en.html
The Violence of Love by Archbishop Oscar Romero plough.com/ebooks/ViolenceOfLove.html (Assassinated in El Salvador for speaking out for the rights of the oppressed)
Merit oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Merit
Divine Office universalis.com/lauds.htm


#3

You might also want to read Cardinal Francis Nguyen Van Thuan. How faith survived in a Communist prison ad2000.com.au/articles/2003/may2003p10_1322.html

He was imprisoned for 14 years in prison and house arrest (I think 10 of them were in solitary confinement but I am not sure) :confused::confused::confused:


#4

Dear Fran,

These are some scriptures which inspire and comfort me:

In Luke 4:18 Jesus says he has come “to proclaim liberty to the captives” (to those of us trapped), and “to let the oppressed go free.”

He knows what this fallen world is like and he beckons us (never forcing us): “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Mat 11:28-29)

I do believe that it is God’s will to free us from a “God-abandoned reality.” He is wise enough and gentle enough to untangle the most unanswerable situations, which I believe he wants to do for us.

As a fellow believer in Jesus, I do pray that God’s love and His rest may penetrate the layers of burdens that you are under. God be with you.

In Christ,

Abby


#5

Fran . . . You are getting a close-up, horrifying view of the extremely real evil in the world. And you are seeing with blinders off the full consequences of the Fall from the Garden of Eden. Your soul is desiring that Garden of Eden back, but because you don’t appear to be seeing even a glimmer of the light that exists, you doubt that it does exist. The fruits of the Spirit are peace, joy, love, mercy, gentleness and compassion, but you aren’t experiencing them as you wish, even though you long for them.

You sound to me like a soul lost in a labyrinth, and because it has lived in the labyrinth so long and has grown so accustomed to seeing only darkness, it doubts the existence of anything above this underworld.

I’ll certainly pray for you, that you might see a glimmer of the light that many people know exists experientially, for certain. I’ll pray for you every day, that you might see some of that light and take heart. Jesus said that He came that those who see might become blind, and that those who ARE blind RIGHT NOW may see. As all you can see around you now is darkness, that is what you need . . . a little light, something attractive to see and hold onto. Something to appreciate, to give a little hope and meaning, some comfort. Even if it be as little comfort as Simon of Cyrene was to Jesus, when he helped Him carry the Cross up the hill of Golgotha.

There is light. The sun shining glorious in the sky above your head is its symbol, the symbol of God’s grandeur, and the beauty of the world that surrounds us every day is the symbol of the spiritual graces and beauties that exist and that God intended us all to have. They are graces we would still have, if not for the Fall.

But here in this world, even though it looks so dark, there is still light.

I know I don’t have a right to recommend anything, being so far in all circumstances from what you are feeling and enduring right now. Something that helps me personally (I don’t know whether or not it would help you) is trying to think about some of the good things I have received. Little blessings that I still have, things to be grateful for, which I don’t normally even think about. Then, thanking God for them, I find peace and a little joy.

I have no idea whether or not that will help at all.

Rituals and formulaic prayers are not what Catholicism is, you know. The rituals, customs and formulas are means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. Catholicism is unity with God. That’s the essence, something we aspire to, and it is the totality of Heaven’s meaning. Try not to think of the priests, the Masses or the prayers as ends, but as means. They are there to help you find the peace you desire, rather than being there just to take up more of what little time you currently have.

May Jesus bless you.


#6

My dear friend

There is a way out. We cannot escape the trials of this life. You are suffering from depression and that is hy you feel this way. Your in a deep black chasm. We can’t understand everything often but none of these problems are Gods fault. We made the mess and he’s trying to fix it. Hang in there and you’ll see just how much God has done for you and all one day. You’ll be dazzled when you see the goodness of God and in awe of his boundless mercy and generosity. But you must make it to the next life to see and appreciate this. You are unhappy because you don’t like these trials but God knows what’s best for you. Try to trust him and you’ll see the great purpose and reason behind all this eventually. You will only be more miserable if you abandon God. Try to accept things as they are and over time embrace it all as Gods will for you for now. In exchange for your acceptance God will give you heaven and maybe many others like your family, friends. It all has a purpose. The trick is to just trust God, even when we don’t understand it all. Heaven and hell are not like we imagine because they are beyond our imagination. Heaven is sheer bliss and hell sheer agony. If you make it to heaven you will laugh at the little you had to put up with in this life to get it. I know that’s not much consolation for you now. But it’s true. Trust in God and persevere no matter what. It may require heroic virtue often. But don’t you want to be a hero? You can become a Saint in glory if you accept and use this suffering wisely. It’s no lie.

I am praying for you.

God bless and peace to you:thumbsup::slight_smile:


#7

Thank you to those of you have replied, and particular thanks to those of you who have said that you are praying for me.

I’m trying to do my best, I really am.


#8

I’m also suffering from chronic, severe depression and some serious health situations. I know that if I let myself that I could totally despair. I refuse. I have a strong will and use it to choose Him (even when I’m not feeling so disposed). The writings of the saints/Saints keep my intellect from choosing otherwise. The Eucharist whenever possible and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament keep me going (plus the grandkids, when I can see/talk to them).

Originally posted by Lief Erickson
Rituals and formulaic prayers are not what Catholicism is, you know. The rituals, customs and formulas are means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. Catholicism is unity with God. That’s the essence, something we aspire to, and it is the totality of Heaven’s meaning. Try not to think of the priests, the Masses or the prayers as ends, but as means. They are there to help you find the peace you desire, rather than being there just to take up more of what little time you currently have.

:thumbsup:

:crossrc:

PS. Reading the 39th chapter of Job has helped me a number of times.:shrug:


#9

My friend, Faith is not feeling like you understand everything about God, it can be, but real faith does not feel, it trusts. Believe it or not what you are experiencing (suffering) is a blessing not a curse. “Whom the Lord loves, he chastises; and he scourges every son whom he accepts.” -Hebrews 2:6 Saints such as St. Francis of Assisi thought themselves abandoned by God if they were not experiencing sufferings, THE CROSS. The suffering around you is not purposeless: it is at points like these where you are truly believing and more spiritual progress in faith and love can be made now than at any point in your life because you are acting on pure faith in trust in God. You are not the only one who did not fully understand the drama of human suffering. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsename feared pain TRULY was confused about suffering TRULY, felt abandoned TRULY, but the one thing he did not do was despair, and the one thing he did not do was get down from that cross. Do not despair, but Trust in him. You can trust him because He wants nothing but your salvation and happiness in all things though it does not appear that way, he DIED AND SUFFERED for you so that you could overcome your own sufferings and death. Unite your mental sufferings and misunderstandings to that of the Christ Crucified and in Agony. You have more faith than you think. I’ll pray for you, I know you can do it.:thumbsup:


#10

Btw, if you feel like all the church tell’s you is rules and more rules, maybe you should think about why the Church would tell you not to kill, not to steal, to go to mass on sunday. Like a child being told not to run onto a busy street or being forced to go to school, the child does not understand why at first and complains until he needs a job. then he will thank his parents for raising him like they did. God gives you “rules” through THE CHURCH because HE LOVES YOU. You need Holy Mass, you can not get closer to God than in the Mass. Once a week is the bare minimum.
timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20081228/letters/why-go-to-mass-on-sunday
heartlandparishes.org/Evangelization_Mass.htm


#11

I have been asked before how I can believe in God when there is so much suffering in this world.
It is sometimes very difficult to find a “right” answer then.
Maybe that’s just it though: We can’t know all the "why"s. We are in this world right now and see only IT really, with our human eyes. We can only BELIEVE that there is more out there. More also in the sense that whatever suffering we go through here on earth we go through for a reason. We can’t know the reason right now, we can only have faith.

I compare it with this sometimes: I have been through really hard times in my life when I was afraid I would never feel happy again. Sometimes those phases were quite long. And then later, looking back, I saw the reason why I had to go through that particular difficult stretch.
Maybe in the big picture, our lives here on earth are also just a “difficult stretch” we have to go through, and later we will see why it had to be this way.

I don’t believe there is more bad than good in the world. There is so much goodness too. In tiny little ways sometimes. We can see it everywhere. Buds of goodness. Let’s keep them growing!! And NOT despair.

I remember thinking about what the purpose of life really is and coming to the conclusion that what we can always do is spread love in little ways. In everything we do, for everyone we encounter. We touch so many people in our daily walks of life.

Depression… well I guess it’s difficult to say sometimes what is depression and what is, how to call it… just the effect of the sad things we see. But if you have been diagnosed with depression before that should be a red flag for you! Because that is exactly what depression does: Makes you see things as hopeless. The hopelessness itself is a symptom of the illness. So you have to keep that in mind too: You might be going through a phase of severe depression right now. Which means, even if you think you will always feel that way, that is not true. That is the depression talking.

Now I’ll finish writing and say a prayer for you!!

Kathrin


#12

I would highly recommen the a book by Father Jonathan Morris called The Promise: God’s Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts

I found it to be an excellent response to the question of suffering. Please look into it.

I will pray for you as well, please don’t lose hope:)


#13

I have also suffered from severe depression, not now though, but I know what it is like. Your post sounds very much like someone who is suffering from depression. You made a comment about how you are trying the best you can. I believe that you are, but often our best doesn’t cut it. That is why we need Jesus.

Place yourself in His loving arms and let Him take care of you. Amidst the sufferings of the world, He brings hope and healing. He has a plan for us and it is a plan for good, not for evil. God allows evil at times, but He is able to bring good out of it if we allow Him to. Do we trust Him who created the universe and created you and I? We don’t need to understand all that is going on in the world–we need to trust in Him, to open our hearts to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Open our hearts to the healer of souls. I am not just speaking to you, but to myself also. I need to open my heart up more to the One who loves me infinitely! He loves you and has not abandoned you. At times when I find myself despairing, all I can pray is “Jesus I trust in you, Jesus I trust in you, Jesus I trust in you.” This prayer always brings me peace, maybe it can bring you some peace and hope. I will pray for your physical and emotional healing. May God pour out His grace upon you and fill you with hope and healing.


#14

Fran, the fact that suffering exists doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us.

The suffering exists because of sin,because the human race has turned away from God.

God will take it all away when He will make all things new.

Think of it this way… He had a choice: to either take away our suffering right away, or, to SHARE IN IT, and THEN take it away… out of love for us, He chose to share in our suffering.

Have you ever watched the movie the Passion?
Jesus suffered infinitely more than any of us. He not only went through unimaginable physical pain, but spiritual and emotional as well, to the point of sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.

So He sympathizes with our suffering, and He will take it away someday.

For now, though, we have a choice: our suffering can either take us to hell or to Heaven. If we embrace our crosses and offer our suffering for other souls, if we use this as an opportunity to share in Christ’s pain (this is an honour!) then God will turn it to good and use it to sanctify us. If we let it discourage us and lose faith and trust in God, then it won’t sanctify us but destroy us.

As for the suffering of others… it is horrible, indeed, but we are called to help them. As we help others, who are in pain, who are suffering, we are helping Christ. He is pleased by this.

Try to trust God. When we distrust, we reject His graces that He wants to give us to help us.

God bless hugs

prayers for you…


#15

I’ve stopped going to Church - there is no point. I’m angry with the Catholic Church for heaping condemnation on me and increasing the suffering of so many of us by not listening and offering nothing but “go to mass, say your formulaic prayers, support the priests” as solutions.

Can I offer a suggestion?

I think the Church points us towards the Sacraments because through them, Jesus gives us graces. When we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, if we do so with humility, God heals our souls. When we receive the Eucharist, *we receive Him into ourselves *and it’s the greatest gift Jesus can give us, a gift of Himself… He gave His life for us at Calvary, now He gives us His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Total self gift! We respond in the same way… this is what the Mass is.
Catholic prayers were used by the Saints and they teach us what to pray FOR…
that is why the Church gives us these things as solutions.
However if we receive them with a distrust in God, and distrust in His goodness and mercy, they don’t help us as much as they could. So we should always ask Him to help us grow in our faith.

In my experience, when I don’t go to Mass, it gets really difficult for me to grow or even keep faith, and I end up falling into despair like you described. That’s because there are special graces present in the Mass. Sometimes I struggle with depression too. If we come to Church to meet Jesus in the Sacraments, if we really call out to Him and ask Him to come and heal us, and if we openly accept Him into our hearts in the Eucharist… He will come…


#16

Thank you to those of you have replied. I really appreciate your advice and your prayers. God Bless.


#17

No advice, just to tell you that I will keep you in my prayers, your family and its needs as well.


#18

Are there any agencies that could help you, by the way? Can you apply for partial disability or something like that?

Kathrin


#19

Well, there you go. You DO have a husband and a son. And I’m pretty certain that this all is related to the depression. It’s amazing how those things in our bodies called hormones can really affect us. Just take a look at this:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=323306

Work with your doctor (or get a new one, if need be.) Get some fresh air, exercise and don’t give up! I’m praying for you. Also, please seek out an “Anointing of the Sick” from a priest. This is not an overnight thing. It takes patience. You can get Anointed periodically.

Know that you are not alone. Peace. Padre Pio pray for us. Amen.


#20

One other thing, when I didn’t think I could stand “things” any longer, I discovered a book by Fr. Benedict Groeschel entitled: Arise from Darkness. That really helped me.


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