Moving from thought to love

Hello everyone, I’m one of the “elect” to be baptized this Easter Vigil. For years I’ve been very interested in classical Greek philosophy, esp. of Plato. The more I would get into it, the more and more logical I would become, and the more I would practice the virtues he promulgated. While logic is, of course, a great thing to have, and while his 4 virtues were the same from Song of Songs and from the Catechism, I also became more and more disconnected from my feelings, not such a good thing =(
Now, while I’ve come a great long way, with the help of the great RCIA program I’m in and of people around me, I want to grow closer to The Lord and have a greater love for Him. I’ve read the list put on here of St. Alphonsus, and I’m speaking to our priest tomorrow, but I thought I’d ask for opinions here as well, as different points of view often do a great deal of good. Thank you all so much, God bless!

If I understand correctly, you are asking how to grow in love of Jesus. I suggest Eucharistic Adoration and praying the Rosary. Both have helped me a lot.

if you are attracted by philosophy you will find the thought of the scholastics, led by St. Thomas Aquinas, congenial for study. I suggest looking at Prof. Peter Kreeft’s books at ignatius.com Ignatius Press. He is a Prof at Boston College and his forte is demonstrating through the study of philosophy the essential link between faith and reason. Begin with his book on Socrates, and the Shorter Summa as an intro to Aquinas. All his books are excellent. He could not write a bad book if he tried with both hands for a week.

Oh, BOY! :dancing: Am I glad you asked! :smiley:

In addition the the excellent advice of the other posters above, I offer these thoughts:

As a math “whiz” all my life, and as an engineer, and whatever else has influenced me, I do not believe I can “will” myself to believe anything. I can ponder it, and I can think I understand it, and I can even think that I believe it, but deep down it isn’t always what my heart believes – and what I’ve found is it is in exactly these cases, where my head says one thing by my heart has reservations, that my mind is about to be opened to new ideas and new ways of looking at it, that satisfy both heart and mind.

This is particularly true when I can’t believe something others are telling me, even though they illustrate with many examples why they believe they are right in the eyes of the Church, and consequently God, and why it should be obvious to me or I’m denying the truth.

It doesn’t work like that with me. For example, I can think all I want, “it is wise to turn the other cheek,” but if I don’t feel it, then I can go around claiming obedience but in my heart I am only acting.

Starting 10 years ago, I began a wonderful, though at times it didn’t seem wonderful to me or others, journey that has reconciled my heart and mind to where I feel totally peaceful. If my mind is wrong, it has no “need” to be right to the extent that it will cling to things that don’t seem right just because my mind can’t stretch further.

So is my heart something that keeps my mind honest? Or is my mind something that guides the heart? I see it is a simultaneous interaction, and it useful to discuss only academically, like pondering a “chicken or egg” dilemma.

First, until my SD told me, I never knew there were any forms of Catholic prayer that involved no words at all; that would be contemplative prayer forms. I’d never heard of “resting in God,” or “silent prayer,” or Divine Union, and I was 42 year old cradle Catholic at the time! :eek: So I’d say if you’ve never heard of these things or haven’t explored them, you might consider that. Reference, “Expressiona of Prayer, CCC 2700-2724.”

Next, limit the things you believe you understand absolutely and completely, to the bare minimum. Such as “I believe in God,” or “I wish to and must live a life of love.”

Anything outside of that, no matter how unlikely it seems, remains open and in humility we accept that it is only our opinion. Even if every Catholic on the planet including the pope agrees with me on what sounds like a simple concept, that doesn’t make it right. Whatever I think about ANY issue, I like to ask myself, “what if I’m wrong,” and see where that leads. “What would a world be like if I were wrong. Or what if what I understand that other person is saying my be right even though it sounds absolutely wrong to me,” or “how can I see this truth from a different perspective, that might reconcile it with what this person (who may be less educated than I am) is apparently trying to convey to me?”

Now, others may take issue with this, but I say even those things you hold dear, also consider, “what if I’m wrong.” I found this especially useful when I experienced moments of doubt. That is because when I am trying to decide at any given moment what to do, if I am doing it for God then I might be led to do it a different way than if it were for selfish motives. If my selfish motives desire something different than what God would want, then my selfish motives must not be in line with God, and I ask God to transform me to want to do what’s right because it’s right, even if it is beyond my understanding why. So as an engineer, I think I need a way to make decisions that doesn’t depend on my being right about anything at all. So I pray for my spirit to be renewed and purified to the degree that even in moments of doubt, I am moved to do the same thing as I am moved to do during moment of strong faith.

Alan

P.S. on my first meeting with my SD, he noticed that I really wanted to understand things. He said an excellent reading for technical people who wish to keep an open mind, is Job 37-40.

Thank you all so much! I will definitely investigate and try each of these :slight_smile:

Alan: I’m currently a High School Senior, but next year I’ll be going to school for architecture, so I’m right in there with you on that front (trying actually to do largely if not exclusively architecture for the Church) :slight_smile:

In the original post, the thread started states that he/she is growing in virtue and practicing virtue but seems to be simultaneously disconnected from one’s emotions.

It seems that if a person is practicing virtue and growing in virtue, the emotions would definitely be involved but you might not be that aware of it. Over time, a person may “enjoy” doing good things more and more. Doing good things becomes “more fun” to a degree.

Over time, a person can enjoy eating better to a degree and eating better can be “more fun” to a degree.

Over time, a person can enjoy physical exercise to a degree and physical exercise can be “more fun” to a degree.

Over time, a person who previously acted rude a lot can enjoy being more respectful to a degree and being respectful can be “more fun” to a degree.

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