Losing zeal...what's going on?

Like I might’ve mentioned before, ever since converting to the CC, my zeal and spirit for the Faith is weak and lukewarm.

I HATE IT!! :banghead: (that is, the fact that I have lost my zeal. I don’t hate the CC! :stuck_out_tongue: )

Why? Because I NEED that zeal!!! Before entering literally on the 20th of November, remember how zealed I was and had a burning desire and love for the Catholic Church? Now it’s dim and gone!

Worse, it’s as if I’m taking it for granted and that really upsets me because I wasn’t taking it for granted before! I should be more happy than before coming. What’s the deal here?

I’m even more ticked off at the fact that I don’t have a burning zeal for the most sacred Gift on earth: the Eucharist!! That zeal and faith is dim too though I still do believe our Lord is in there but now it feels like I’m taking THAT for granted! NO!!! I desire to have that zeal and Faith but I just can’t get it even when recieving the Eucharist!

I have visited our Lord in the Eucharistic Adoration the last three Saturdays and this last Saturday in His Presence, I felt worse. I told HIm how I felt. Heck, I even prayed the Rosary there too!

What is going on here? :frowning:

the readings for Advent are exceedingly appropriate for new converts.

Immediately following his baptism by John, Jesus was driven out into the desert by the Holy Spirit for 40 days, where he was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and angels ministered to him (paraphrased from Mark’s Gospel, chapter one)

Immediately following one’s reception into the Church, the new convert can expect testing and temptation from Satan. that is why continuing in the habits of prayer, reading Scripture, and instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice should continue for at least a year following one’s initiation into the Church. You must have those ministering angels to help you deal with that temptation.

You have just learned the basics and graduated from boot camp. Now is time to learn to live it and to be faithful. Have you ever heard the expression “the honeymoon is over.” What applies to marriage applies to every new love affair, including that with the Church.

[quote=puzzleannie]the readings for Advent are exceedingly appropriate for new converts.

Immediately following his baptism by John, Jesus was driven out into the desert by the Holy Spirit for 40 days, where he was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and angels ministered to him (paraphrased from Mark’s Gospel, chapter one)

Immediately following one’s reception into the Church, the new convert can expect testing and temptation from Satan. that is why continuing in the habits of prayer, reading Scripture, and instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice should continue for at least a year following one’s initiation into the Church. You must have those ministering angels to help you deal with that temptation.

You have just learned the basics and graduated from boot camp. Now is time to learn to live it and to be faithful. Have you ever heard the expression “the honeymoon is over.” What applies to marriage applies to every new love affair, including that with the Church.
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WHAT?? Does that mean I’m going to be like this for another year??

“The honeymoon is over” makes sense so to speak though in this case with the Church.

What if I converted at Easter? Same stuff going on?

If you want a good example of someone who at times struggled with lukewarmness, read Journal of a Soul by Blessed John XXIII. I’m about half-way through, up to his being Bishop in Bulgaria. It’s basically notes/a jounal he kept throughout his life, beginning as a young seminarian, about 18 years old through the Papacy. It’s been a big comfort to me, reading about his struggles with pride, with distractions during prayer and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. To know that a man as holy as he was dealt with the same issues that I deal with is an amazing thing. He had trouble with lukewarmness and look what God accomplished through him!

We all go through times of zeal and times of just getting by. Keep praying, keep going to adoration. That zeal you felt is a great thing, but it’s the quiet, constant faith that gets us through life.

I am guessing that your zeal was the zeal for a milestone - joining the Church.

Over time, the zeal will replaced by the Holy Spirit, love of Jesus, and the Grace of God as you pray, give alms, partake of the sacraments, and read the Word and CCC more. IMHO that’s a much more fulfilling feeling, and you will get it to be sure!

What you had and are now missing is called “consolations.” They are good feelings that God allows us to have in prayer or reception of sacraments or other aspects of our Christian life. But, God doesn’t want us to depend on consolations because that would keep us babies in the faith. He removes them in order to make us realize our total dependency on him, and him alone, not on how practicing our faith makes us feel. Jesus said we would have to take up our cross daily and follow him, and he meant just that. Giving God praise or going to Mass or praying every day are duties that often go against our own self-interest. All of us would like to live on cloud nine the whole of our lives, but God knows that wouldn’t be good for us. So, like any good parent, he disciplines us–like soldiers preparing for battle. Because living the life of Christ in this sinful world is a constant battle–against the world (its allurements), the flesh (earthly desires) and the devil (temptations to doubt and fear). We can only face these things if we are disciplined in our lives, living on faith in Christ and his Church, and not on our feelings.

Yes it’s hard sometimes, it’s no different I expect for cradle Catholics as it is for converts.

It is a cross, then again Jesus said it would be.

Luke 14:27 27 And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Douay-Rheims

Reading the lives of the Saints might help, even they experienced moments of Spiritual dryness.
Saint Faustina said to pray even when we don’t feel up to it, can’t recall the correct words, but it is in her diary.

:twocents:

Oh, puzzleannie, you expect too much, and that’s ok. Your zeal and enthusiasm all along was rather refreshing and addicting to this cradle catholic but don’t despair now that it’s ‘gone’ (it’s not really gone, you’ll see).

Perhaps you were on fire for our benefit at the time, and now that you are fully joined with the Church you have another mission to accomplish, with less zeal.

Gosh, what to say to help you through this…except to refocus a bit. The Catholic Church is Christ’s gift to us, but it is still a means to the end. The end is Jesus Christ and on that, we should always remain focused.

You will get a ‘charge’ from the Eucharist and Reconciliation, but baptism, confirmation and marriage are one-time events so all the anticipation and excitement you had for those are fulfilled. So now’s the time to redirect your attention from the meanings behind the events to the rituals and devotions themselves.

The rosary is a beautiful meditation on scripture, it is powerful and it pleases Jesus.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet is also a wonderful meditation and prayer, most powerful when said at the 3:00pm hour.

Mass, of course, is as exciting and fulfilling as you prepare yourself for. Go with a small bucket and you will receive a small bucket…Go with a big bucket and you will receive a big bucket is how I read a priest explain it one day. The key there, is to arrive 20-30 minutes before mass to pray and just sit with the Lord as you open your heart, mind and soul to the sacrifice you are about to offer - for whom and for which purposes.

It’s kind of a bummer that we have to work so hard to keep that zeal going. It seemed so much easier when the Spirit was moving us toward Him…we were going along for the ride saying “Are we there yet?” And now that you’re here…well, it’s up to you now.

Keep praying to the Trinity and Mary and you will feel their presence in your heart. It won’t be a flame as before, but more of a kindling…make peace with that, though, for that ember moves mountains when needed…it is comforting to feel it alive within you. If you don’t feel it, pray and pray some more. Read up Catholic topics of interest to you. There’s so much more to learn about being Catholic than what you received through RCIA…keep pursuing more history, more writings, those will charge you up as well.

[quote=YinYangMom] There’s so much more to learn about being Catholic than what you received through RCIA…
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Not to mention that I still want to be part of RCIA!!! So that I can learn more!
:smiley:

For me, the “zeal” comes and goes. It seems pretty cyclical. When I’m in full “zeal” mode, I’m reading passages from the Bible, attending daily Mass, praying a Rosary every night, you name it.

When I come down a bit, I may not go to church as much and the daily Rosary becomes more of a weekly thing, but that’s when I spend more time researching Church history or watching EWTN.

It seems like there’s a time for research and a time for prayer. They just don’t always come at the same time.

Just make sure you never skip your weekly obligation to attend Mass.

[quote=Jabronie]For me, the “zeal” comes and goes. It seems pretty cyclical. When I’m in full “zeal” mode, I’m reading passages from the Bible, attending daily Mass, praying a Rosary every night, you name it.

When I come down a bit, I may not go to church as much and the daily Rosary becomes more of a weekly thing, but that’s when I spend more time researching Church history or watching EWTN.

It seems like there’s a time for research and a time for prayer. They just don’t always come at the same time.

Just make sure you never skip your weekly obligation to attend Mass.
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So true…reading the threads on these boards helps me keep a bit of the zeal going during my day…learning more in bits and pieces helps. I’ve got a list going of websites I’d like to spend time visiting and reading…another list of books to read…

Puzzleannie, really, the people here have provided a wealth of resource links for you to dive into. Reading some of those books, stories, listening to some of the talks available on line will recharge your batteries anytime. Check them out.

We all go through peaks and valleys in our spiritual life. There will be times of lukewarmness,and maybe even doubt, and times of great zeal. It is the times of lukewarmness that is most important in growing spiritualy. A person who continues to pray and obey God even when they do not get any spiritual satisfaction from it pleases God because they do his will even when they don’t feel like it. You should read about the dark night of the souls many saints go through, especially Faustina.

Enabling Prayer

I don’t know if I can help you fully with your problem because I, too, have struggled with personal prayer all my life. However, I take comfort in the fact that even the greatest mystics experienced periods of dryness and alienation from God. Nevertheless, their advice is to hang on to prayer like a drowning person would hang on to a rope. God’s grace eventually, somehow, dispels the darkness, and sunshine returns. That is, at least until the next bout in the ups and downs of life, as we hopefully grow and mature.

Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos

everyone experiences these spiritual highs and lows, but remember that spiritual highs, like the one you were experiencing at the time of your conversion, are just that…highs, and they can go as quickly as they come. At some intense conferences like Steubenville, they sometimes will warn the teens not to become “conference junkies”, meaning don’t rely on the highs of incredible retreats to get you through the year…a couple of days of incredible worship and faith with Jesus will not suddenly put you through a whole year…you need to be constantly fed, with the Eucharist, to maintain that light within you.

the real test of our faith is that we remain strong, faithful, and believing we’ve hit our lowest point, when those highs are gone and all we have left is our sinful selves and Jesus…it’s like a marriage, that we’re still just as adoring and loving and faithful even when all the excitement of the “honeymoon” is over.

[quote=YinYangMom]Puzzleannie, really, the people here have provided a wealth of resource links for you to dive into. Reading some of those books, stories, listening to some of the talks available on line will recharge your batteries anytime. Check them out.
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Correction: This part really was for ParisBlues. :o

Sorry, Puzzleannie! :wink:

do you have a Adoration Chapel in your community?
perhaps spending time ther will help, if not pray before the Blessed Sacrament. ask our “Our Lady” to help you become closer to your faith!

[quote=Paris Blues]WHAT?? Does that mean I’m going to be like this for another year??

“The honeymoon is over” makes sense so to speak though in this case with the Church.

What if I converted at Easter? Same stuff going on?
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what I was trying to say is that Satan immediately assails the new convert through temptation to seek emotional satisfaction, consolation and a feeling of pleasure from doing what is one’s duty in prayer and praise and service to God, in reception of the sacraments, in prayer etc.

The new convert should continue in the period of mystagogy, with regular meetings with his RCIA team for a year following his initiation into the Church, so that he may have support during these trials, and so that he may embark on lifelong learning and faith formation.

I just wanna say thanks for posting this thread.

I’ve been struggling…really struggling…for a few months now. My daily Mass attendance dwindled…and pretty much disappeared. I recently hit a very low point in which I feared my faith in God was GONE.

It was an act of the will to continue my belief in God. There was no major event, just an experience while contemplating the Trininty in which suddenly my mind could not grasp this very huge truth…and I falted and fell.

I’ve been wondering if my potential call to religious life was onlya shadow or a consolation or a misinterpretation…something…and I have been really fighting lately. This decline began slowly, then in an avalanche after I told my Spiritual Director that I was discerning.

Now I am without a Spiritual Director and I think in that desert.

So thank you all for your wonderful insights. I’ve thought some of the same things posted, but you have all given my very cloudy thoughts some form and something to focus on going forward.

I knen not to expect consolations…but this has been far more than a lack of consolations–I don’t know how to describe it.

Paris, thank you so much for sharing yoru struggle. You actually have voice what many people are, have, or will experience on their journey of faith.

God Bless You!

I take comfort in the fact that even the greatest mystics experienced periods of dryness and alienation from God. Nevertheless, their advice is to hang on to prayer like a drowning person would hang on to a rope. God’s grace eventually, somehow, dispels the darkness, and sunshine returns.

Paris Blues, what “St. Benedict” is describing here, and what you describe, is what St. John of the Cross calls the “The Dark Night of the Soul.”

The great mystic, St. Terese of Avila also describes in her metaphor of the spiritual mansions a stage of dryness that is the equivalent of St. John of the Cross’s “Dark Night of the Soul.” If you are experiencing dryness, it means you’ve actually advanced quite far in the spiritual life. St. Therese of Avila describes in her book, The Interior Castle, seven stages to the spritual life in this world, the highest being the Seventh Mansion of Spritual Marriage (the sixth is, by the way, is locutions, raptures and ecstacy). Aridity or spiritual dryiness lies within St. Terese of Avila’s Third Mansion. I say congratulations, Paris Blues, for Aridity is a sign that you’re actually advancing spiritually.

Now, Paris, this Aridity is an OPPORTUNITY for merit. You can react to this aridity in a number of ways: despair, anger, frustration, (negativity) or you can simply endure it as a form of moral suffering. And … you can offer this suffering up to God, uniting your moral suffering with the suffering of Christ at Calvary when he cried “Father, Why hast Thou forsaken me?”

Think of the Path toward God as being a country road. Sometimes the road is straight, the weather great, the sun shining. The road is easy to navigate. At other times it is night time, the weather is bad, and the road has rain-filled potholes.

Judging by your posts, I’d say you are driving in a dark, dirt road in freezing rain and fog. You can pull over on the side of the road and cry, fret, and be angry over it, or you can keep driving. And as you drive, PRAY that you stay on the road. Also, drive more slowly than you normally would. Take care in severe weather.

I’ve been through Aridity. It does come and go. It lessens with time though. It is a period of testing, strengthing of your virtues and character. Aridity makes you tough. It gives you a thicker skin.

Here’s another metaphor: God wants to keep us in shape. Aridity is like suddenly being forced to embrace an intense exercise and diet program for a certain period of time. Exercise, especially the beginning, hurts! The body hurts when it is getting in shape. Once you start an exercise program, the best way to prevent sore muscles is, ironically, to keep exercising. The exercise feeds the muscles with Oxygen, which eats up the excess Lactic Acid (the anerobic byproduct responsible for soreness in muscles). The more oxygen your sore muscles get, the less sore you feel. I’m sure you’ve noticed this if you’ve ever taken up an exercise program. Anyway, the continued exercise in this strange metaphor represents continuuing to receive the Sacraments and continuuing to persevere in prayer, despite the moral suffering, despite the pain. If you presevere in all these things, you’ll find a reward at the end: a healthier and more invigorated spirit.

My advice is, basically, to keep praying, go to Mass MORE than you normally do, and to try your best not to give in to negativity. Just keep driving, and sooner or later, the fog will lift, the freezing rain will stop, and the Sun will shine again.

Take the advice of Dorrie, the blue fish in Finding Nemo, when she says, “Just keep swimming!” Sorry for quoting a kid’s movie. It’s late and I couldn’t think of anything else. HA!

You might also consider reading: Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross and The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila.

God Bless you!

P.S. Paris Blues, I’ve never had an Arid period lasting for an entire year. Mine have lasted at the most 4 months, and at the least, two weeks.

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