I’m in a situation in which I feel as if my faith is slowly diminishing. I was born Catholic but I didn’t start practicing my faith until I was 15. I’ve never had any serious doubts about what believed in. However, a few weeks ago, this horrible feeling came over me. For some reason, I find it very hard to believe in God and in the promises that He has made to us, including the promise of Eternal Life. I’ve become obsessed with the idea that this life could be all there is and it causes me much pain. All I can think about is death. I’ve become more depressed and I can’t enjoy life. Inspite of all this, I still continue to go to Mass, Confession, and I pray the rosary every day. I still find myself talking about Our Lord with others more often than before. I still believe. It’s just that my mind is telling me that everything I believe and hope for is a lie. I was wondering if anyone on here have ever gone through something similar or if anyone could just pray for me.
Sometimes going through such struggles brings one even closer to their faith, my friend. When you pray your Rosary each day ask Mary to help you with your doubt. She will help you. And of course ask Our Lord to help you through this time, and he will do so. When you go to Confession tell your priest about your struggle, he will offer you much love and wisdom. Many blessings to you, and thank you for reaching out to us–you are doing the right thing!
Know what St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta all had in common?
They all experienced “Dark nights of the soul,” periods of spiritual retrogression and the feeling that God had left them, in some cases (such as Mother Teresa) lasting years. They came out of it through unwavering faith.
Since you are praying the rosary, I’ll just suggest a couple of other things:
Talk with a priest you trust
Call Catholic Answers Apologist line
Meditate on God’s unfathomable mercy for you (try the Chaplet of Divine Mercy along with your Rosary)
Read “Story of a Soul” and see “Therese” if possible
Ask the saints to pray for you after every rosary
Most have gone through this in some form or another. If you can, do something simple, like go on a short backpacking trip. Shhhh, listen. Look around you. See the stardust at night. Bring some Wordsworth and read “Tintern Abbey” by camfire light while you roast marshmallows and make s’mores. How can God not be good!
Try to articulate, out loud, all of the things you are thankful for, including the potentially banal, like fruit smoothies, no-lace shoes, sunshine, tulips, Allison Krauss’ voice, a Mendehlsson concerto, not shaving, standing on your tip-toes, beads, a full-moon, the sound of a trickling stream, your nose…
(in case you despise camping, substitute your own life-affirming activity for the above)
Spend an hour each week – or at least some time alone with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. You can be with a Tabernacle or with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Pray the Rosary there. It won’t happen overnight, but you will receive grace in abundance for it.
Also, go to Communion often. When we eat food we metabolize it and change it. When we receive Jesus, He changes us.
Also, spend time in intercessory prayer. There are great blessings in praying for someone else and not just yourself. As a mom, I can attest to being thrilled any time my sons have a non-selfish thought. God will be even more pleased and grant you grace for it. :gopray:
Darn! I knew I forgot something. Good job Mamamull!
Eucharistic adoration is essential to helping you grow in your spirituality.
My name is Stephen, i’m new to these forums. I’ve been familiar with Catholic Answers since my father converted to Catholicism three years ago. (Our family has been completely protestant for at least four generations). I’m currently participating in RCIA and will enter the Church this Easter. Having enjoyed forums extensively in the past, i hope to find these a learning experience.
Darkest Hour, i am in the process of reading “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis and honestly, i’ve been blown away by what i’ve finished so far. The introdution alone is a fantasic profound read! The book is a concise, easy to read affirmation of core Christian belief. Lewis is a master of logic and if you haven’t read “Mere Christianity” yet, please do. If you have read it, please do again. I know i will every year from now forward.
May God give to you the peace that surpasses all understanding!
Have you ever read the following prayer. Everyone goes through such trials. God permits it, so we can prove that we love Him. We are like little children being weened off the breast at times like this. persevere and when it is over you will be much better for it. When sufferings come, we always think they will never end. But they do. I will keep you in my prayers. The following prayer has a great punch line.
http://www.populationprayer.com/prayer_request.gif Foot Prints**
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was
walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the
sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene,
he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one
belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.When the
last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked
back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that
many times along the path there was only one set of
**He also noticed that it happened at the
very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really
bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.
'Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all of the way. But I have noticed
that during the most troublesome times in my life, there
is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why
when I needed you most you would leave me.
The Lord replied,
“My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your time of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints, it was then
that I carried you.”
I’ve never had any serious doubts about what believed in. However, a few weeks ago, this horrible feeling came over me. For some reason, I find it very hard to believe in God and in the promises that He has made to us, including the promise of Eternal Life.
You said you’ve never doubted before, and maybe this is part of the problem… or part of the solution to becoming ever closer to Christ! I find that when I let myself become too emotional with my faith, neglecting to read the bible, pray constantly, seek goodness and purpose in everything around me, it’s easy to lapse into doubt. I agree with Stephen H. Mere Christianity is an awesome book- really explaining the basic Christian doctrine simply and honestly. Although your heart may not be in it initially, your mind will be!
Josemaría Escrivá has written some beautiful meditations in the books Furrow, The Way, and Christ is passing by. They may help your heart.
Don’t give up! You aren’t “losing your faith”, you’re struggling with it, just as Doubting Thomas did, just as many others before you do, just as many do now! Nothing wonderful comes to us without struggle. God bless. My prayers are with you.
[quote=DarkestHour1980]I’m in a situation in which I feel as if my faith is slowly diminishing. I was born Catholic but I didn’t start practicing my faith until I was 15. I’ve never had any serious doubts about what believed in. However, a few weeks ago, this horrible feeling came over me. For some reason, I find it very hard to believe in God and in the promises that He has made to us, including the promise of Eternal Life. I’ve become obsessed with the idea that this life could be all there is and it causes me much pain. All I can think about is death. I’ve become more depressed and I can’t enjoy life. Inspite of all this, I still continue to go to Mass, Confession, and I pray the rosary every day. I still find myself talking about Our Lord with others more often than before. I still believe. It’s just that my mind is telling me that everything I believe and hope for is a lie. I was wondering if anyone on here have ever gone through something similar or if anyone could just pray for me.
I go through phases like this too at times, and whats worse, since one gets tired of all of life’s problems, I sometimes get tempted to look into easy answers such as temptation to read on magic and wicca, but then I OVERCOME that temptation, I would never get involved in anything like that.:bigyikes:
Pray the Rosary, go to weekly confession, and PLEASE talk to a friendly, serious, kind, young, and ORTHODOX faithful priest: ,ake an appointment for “spiritual direction” and tell him all this you think and feel.
I’ve had doubts about certain aspects of the faith in the past. However, I’ve never doubted any of the core Christian beliefs as I do now. Never before have a doubted that there was a loving God who wanted to take me to Heaven. I often go to St Therese. I had always heard that she went through somethintg similar to this. At first I thought that this was God’s way of punishing me for my sins of the past but I know that God doesn’t work that way.
I used to look at athiest and wonder how anyone could go through life without God in it. Now, I feel as if I’m just as bad as they are
[quote=DarkestHour1980]I’ve had doubts about certain aspects of the faith in the past. However, I’ve never doubted any of the core Christian beliefs as I do now. Never before have a doubted that there was a loving God who wanted to take me to Heaven. I often go to St Therese. I had always heard that she went through somethintg similar to this. At first I thought that this was God’s way of punishing me for my sins of the past but I know that God doesn’t work that way.
I used to look at athiest and wonder how anyone could go through life without God in it. Now, I feel as if I’m just as bad as they are
Yes this helps me a lot, all the time. A simple thankful thought
is praising God.
Dear Darkest Hour,
I will add your name to our special intentions book for prayer at Mass this Sunday, praying that you will not loose your faith in God.
I too had many doubts a while back, went through a difficult life changing event and left the Church for many years…I was spiritually dry and thought God even gave up on me, because I gave up on him.
Little did I know how much he really loved me and wanted me to come back to his Church.
I finally found my way back and can honestly say…life has a new meaning, my most troubling doubts have mostly disappeared.
Does your Church has a Spiritual Director that you can talk to?
Keep going to Mass and Communion, pray to the Holy Spirit to help strengthen your faith and show Gods love for you.
May the Lord be with you!
I will be praying for you and offering my Communions for you.
I will also be praying that my son will come here and share with you, his own experience. He searched for God for many,many years. Finally, God revealed Himself to him in miraculous ways. It took a long, long time but when He came alive for my son, it was well worth the wait.
I was once told I would live my prayer life like St Monica, praying for her son, who is now and forever the great St. Augustine. That prophesy proved to be very true.
To grow in faith we must be challenged and Satan is most definitely attacking you. I have been attacked in this way as well. I was a cradle Catholic that never understood the faith and fell away. I lived a life completely divorced from God until I overdosed in ‘93. By the grace of God I was able to start looking objectively at life and started trying to discern the truth and finally returned to the Church over the next few years. Since my Confirmation in ’97, I had no doubt in my mind what the truth was. Only recently have thoughts like yours entered into my own mind. When I’m attacked, I recall history, the firm teaching of the Church, the Apparitions of Jesus and Mary and the miracles that accompany them, the Incorruptibles, etc. I ask daily that my trust in God be strengthened. I see you practice martial arts, so do I, know that you are at war with the Liar of this world, he is your true enemy and not the thoughts he places in your mind and tries to propagate. Protect yourself with the armor of God (Eph 6.10-18) - Pray, study your Catechism with the Bible, History, etc - and don’t forget the quiver of arrows which Satan detests most because they do him the most harm…the Rosary.
In Christ’s love
I am sorry you are feeling so lost, I have also been there, although perhaps not to your extent. It sounds as if you are being spiritually attacked! Do not give in to Satan’s ploy to stop you from being a faithful lover of Christ. Pray the St. Michael prayer daily, to help protect you from evil. Pray to your guardian angel for protection. Sprinkle your dwelling with Holy Water or Blessed Salt.
Evil is real and the enemy does try to steal what is good from us. Please know I have prayed for you now.
I feel somewhat similar as the way you feel and trust me, I do understand you. I’ve found out that we can go through such “depressions” when there are big changes happening in your life and they don’t have to be good nor bad, just major changes. We all go through spiritual highs and lows, but since you are still practicing your faith and “trying” to find where your beliefs really are, then that just means they are there. It’s just that because you can’t feel them right now, doesn’t mean they’re not there.
After such dark moments, there is a huge hope and when you look back, you’ll see it as something that God let happen so you could comeback with more enthusiasm to spread His Word.
This is a spiritual battle we fight. Somedays, the war is intense. In order to fight, we ALL need to turn to the Eucharist, confession, rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and frequent prayer.
This battle is fierce to those that are faithful - why would the devil bother the lukewarm? You said you started practicing your faith when you turned 15. If you are relatively new to practicing your faith, then the enemy is going to try anything he can to sway your spiritual growth. He has all the tricks and knows what thoughts to place in your mind.
When you feel doubt, say, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.”, say the St Michael prayer, or just even ask the Holy Spirit to help you increase your faith. Sit at Adoration and let Christ fill your spirit.
I will pray for you.
I found that praising God, even when I didn’t feel like it, helped me during a time of desolation. Although I felt like I could not hear God’s voice during this difficult time, I did hear Him ask me to perservere…so I did. In time the desolation ended. I also agree with Brian’s answer.
I’m not really new to the faith. I came back to the Sacraments when I was 15 but I’m 23 now. If God allows it I’m going to reach the old age of 24 in a couple of weeks.
I went to Mass today as I do every Sunday and recieved Holy Communion. I wasn’t sure if I should have or not. Never in my life have I been so comsumed with death. It’s still all I can think about and one of the priests told me that that’s no way to live life. I just keep having these “what if” thoughts about my faith. My thoughts keep telling me that everything I belive is just a big lie. I’m still not giving up. I want to trust in Jesus completely.