My faith is now 100% dead love


#1

Today I finally have come to terms with it.
I feel like my fatih has become like a loveless marriage. Yes, I believe in God. Yes, I accept every single catholic teaching and live them out. I am not an atheist. I do my darndest to avoid sin.

But it’s all commitment now. 100%. There is no real love left.

The emotional dimension is history. I want to make this very clear: I’m not experiencing the typical period of spiritual dryness which inevitably comes, usually after an initial period of bliss.

What I am experiencing is a total loss of affection for my faith. I hate to say it. That’s why I’ve lived in denial about it. I love my faith. But I don’t like it much anymore. Even the most important parts about it: Going to mass, prayer, receiving the eucharist all are done coldly without the slightest hint of affection or joy.

It’s no coincidence. It really all started about two years ago. I was so completely and utterly let down by a number of god-related events that I slipped into a one month phase of atheism. I returned to the church but slowly its become a loveless relationship.

God seems to have been very successfuly replaced. Unintentionally, I now have the same joy, love, stimulation, ferverent submission and faith that I once gave to Christianity for secular philosophy. Aristotle, Kant, Plato and Sartre now fulfill the metaphysical longings of my heart. I now turn to them for consolation and answers. I now want to devote my life to their teachings just as intensely as I did before to God. (All of this is unintentional, of course).

I guess the biggest problem is the family. Not my family, but the concept of one. As a young man I bought into the ideal of a christian family (pope john paul ii type stuff, familiaris consortio to be exact). However, I grew incredibly skeptical about it two years ago. Now I not only disbelieve in it, I downright despise it. Likewise, all the devout christian women I know nauseate and enrage me. I’m only attracted to the most liberal secular feminist women I know who are anything but devout mothers to be. I feel like I’ve been deceived and subconsciously all the love I had in Christianity went down the toilet with it.

I don’t think there’s anything I can do to bring back the love in my relationship with God. But is it immoral to carry on like this, emotionlessly and coldly? I try my hardest not to sin and I follow all the customs of the church. But is that enough?


#2

Have you spoken to a priest?

I will pray for you.

I believe that God is waiting patiently for your return to Him. He still loves you with all He has.


#3

I can offer little in the way of comfort. You are obviously under great spiritual attack.
I have been feeling the same way off and on for awhile and am under considerable emotional strain.
I pray you persevere in your devotions, particularly mass and communion, even if they do seem pointless.

As to the philosophers, I don’t necessarily think that these are bad things to look into.
Others may have more insight into this than I.

From what I have read of the greaty mystic Saints, each has endured great deadness at one time or another. Not months but Years. If I recall correctly, Mother Theresa of Calcutta went through an extended period of doubt and deadness. This caused some controversy when it was released to the public after her death.

May God be near you and show his presence to you soon.

Peace
James


#4

Dear Reed987,
Please talk to your Parish Priest or a Priest you feel comfortable with. This is sad and I can tell you want help.
Please know that there are others that have been in the same position you are in now. At least you are honest in your writing, and Blessed by the fact that you still live your life trying not to sin and you obey the Church Laws.
I will be praying for you!!!
God Bless,
Angel Face


#5

Faiyh, Hope and Love are all intimately connected. If you completely lack one, the others can’t really be there, either. Fallible, human faith is far removed from divine certainty, and emotional affection (or lack thereof), is far inferior to divine charity; a complete lack of joy in your worship is an indicator of a lack of divine hope.

It’s fine to enjoy - even be fascinated by - philosophy and philosophers; but philosophy cannot fill the needs of religion, and philosophers cannot save your soul.

Do you believe Jesus of Nazareth is God in the flesh? Did he die for your sins? Did he resurrect himself, and does he have the power to resurrect you?

We need to get back to the heart of worship, reconnect with the core of faith. But this requires divine grace. I will pray for you, that whatever is blocking your enjoyment of the sacraments be lifted by the Holy Spirit, and you may re-encounter the glory of Christ. I would recommend cultivating a devotion to Our Lady.
Conversion is a life-long pilgrimage.

Peace


#6

When Satan plaques us with “unintentual thoughts/desires”, dwelling on them deeply can only lead to despair. Spending time in “Adoration of the Eucharist”, telling Him what is in your heart, your pain, your doubts and your lack of love (with true humility) will bring you the answers you so desperately need. God alone is enough.

Alone with God but United with All.

You are in my prayers,

Big D


#7

Talk to your priest about this. Philosophy is fascinating but it doesn’t explain things or give worth to things the way that your faith will. There is not one trillionth of the love found in Christianity in philosophy, though it’s so interesting to study. I can see that you are under a spiritual attack and I’ll pray for you. Good luck.
God bless you


#8

For our Christianity to grow strong and healthy, I think our faith has to go through something similar to a “midlife crisis”, a period when one begins to doubt almost everything, even the existence of God. This is normal. This Crisis period, if properly attended to, should help us then to have a more “ informed faith”. Saying “I don’t think there’s anything I can do to bring back the love in my relationship with God” is like providing an answer to the problem you want addressed. You don’t give up on your faith just like that. Your present attitude becomes immoral when you know the truth and you close your heart to it.
Trying not to sin and following the rule is not what following Christ is about. His love poured out as blood supposed to fire your soul to becoming like him who is LOVE. Notice that I use “becoming”. The Christian journey is a continuous one, and an arduous one for that matter, and only those who have faith can make it to the end. The evil one is real but don’t give that evil one the chance of losing the beatific vision. The Love of Christ, made alive at Mass will help you through. Keep up the struggle; you are not alone.

One last word, Jesus doesn’t just love you, he is IN LOVE with you. Trust in that love and let your crisis be drowned in that ocean of love. Peace be with you.


#9

1 Cor 2:2:
*For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. *

Forgive me, but I see a lot of ‘me’ and ‘I’ in your rant against The Church and Our Lord.

Things aren’t working out the way you think they should. You’re seeking emotional solace and shunning (or trying to flee) absolute Truth by seeking a philosophy that caresses your current state in life.

Before I go on, let me tell you, that I know what you’re going through. I went from a $50K job, to literally being on the verge of homelessness (I’m only about $100 away from that reality). Do I blame or curse God for my current condition? No. Do I shun Him or turn to something else that might make me ‘feel’ better? No.

Why not? Because I spent some time before a crucifix. Because I realize that Christ, who created everything, left everything to live a life as a despised beggar, to live as a misunderstood itinerant preacher, and to die an excruciating death not because He was concerned only with His own feelings and emotional comfort in life, but because He would rather gladly suffer death - a torturous death - so that we could share in His inexplicable and mysterious joy!

Please, don’t put so much weight on temporal things! Unite your suffering with His - He will comfort you. Did He not say (Matt 11:29);
*Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.
*
If you cannot come to and go beyond this point in your faith (with Him), then what was your faith based on to begin with?


#10

There is true beauty in the theological writings of the saints, if you only wish to find it and pray to find it. :slight_smile: Do not give up seeking! And do not seek the wrong way, but work on your intentions with God’s help, relying on Him and putting in all that is your part.

‘Blessed the one who with understanding has loved weeping and with compunction rained tears upon the ground, like fair pearls before the Lord.’

St. Ephrem of Syria


#11

Hi Reed. :slight_smile:

As has already been said, talking to a priest would be a good idea.

As for my own opinion on the matter, I believe this: In no way, shape, or form does love require an emotional feeling in order to survive…at all…ever. The emotional feeling may go with it (and it’s very good if it does as it makes love easier) but love is a choice, an action, something you do not something you [necessarily] feel. Consider, God commands us to love Him, and to love others. We vow that we will always love a spouse when we marry. If love is something one can be commanded to do, something one can vow to do, it must be something we can do willingly. Yet we all know that we cannot always control what we feel; thus love cannot be something so uncontrollable as an emotion.

It seems to me that love, at least as a Christian is commanded to give it, is defined by committing yourself to the well-being of another, regardless of if you feel mushy, romantic, or completely emotionless about it. If you commit to sincerely caring about a poor person’s well-being, for instance, you are loving that poor person, whether you have the slightest hint of emotional attachment or sentimentalism. It is the same with God. It is a little different, as God is not like a person in terms of “being in need” but loving Him is still something one makes a choice to do, not something about which one is at the mercy of fleeting emotions or feeling “the magic” of the relationship. One loves God when one chooses to continue to serve Him, when one chooses to do those things which give Him glory, when one chooses to pray even if the prayer feels dry, when one chooses to recognize that God is great, glorious, and beatiful even if one isn’t feeling those things on an emotional level. Basically, in choosing to live [or try to live] a good Catholic life for God out of sheer loyalty to Him [even if nothing else], one is loving God.

If more people in our modern world knew what love truly was, assuming many of them truly want to maintain it rather than just offering it lip-service, divorce rates would plummet to a happy low and “loveless marriages” would only exist for those who wanted to give up. It is the same with religious commitment and religious love. It seems like you do love God, but at this point, whether it lasts only a while or indefinitely, you simply don’t have the emotional feeling often associated with love. Your emotions may be dead right now…but love is a choice, defined by commitment and action, not feelings, and so love is dead only if we choose for it to be so.

Continue living a good Catholic life, and do it because God wants you to do so. Continue to love * others, knowing that they are made in the image of God. Continue to read Scripture and reflect on Catholic Truths, valuing them as God’s word, even if Classical philosophy attracts you more (this doesn’t mean you can’t ever read Classical Philosophy, just commit to also reading Scripture and studying the Faith, and acknowledge these as objectively inspired, beautiful and sacred even if you don’t feel it on a subjective level). Continue to acknowledge God’s glory even when it doesn’t inspire emotional awe in you. Continue to pray, talking with God even when you don’t feel like it, just as you should with a beloved family member no matter how dry you feel, if you knew that family member deeply wanted to hear your voice. Determine yourself by choice, with such a strong will as to surpass stubborn, to never give up on your relationship with God, and make keeping your faith and supporting Him and His will your highest priority, something you refuse to abandon no matter what else “feels better” or how emotionally dry or cold you may feel. This last factor that I have just mentioned is essentially loyalty, which in my opinion is the defining trait of love, and loyalty is something you choose and continually renew with complete freedom, not something that comes and goes without your willing it to be so. And loyalty-based love, when fully appreciated for what it is [as is rarely the case in our age], should be far more flattering to the beloved than emotion-based love ever could be.

If you do these things, it is my opinion that you are loving God even if your emotions remain completely unmoved. In fact, due to the difficulty of loving in the absence of fond emotions, the love you will be offering God may be far superior, since it is then something you will be giving willingly and from the soul, despite all difficulty involved, instead of something inspired and made easier by forces beyond your control, namely emotions and “feeling” like the love is there. Feel free to pray for the emotions [but do not demand them and do not allow yourself to believe God is “letting you down” if they do not come], and feel free to seek to encourage them in yourself through reflection and such, as that is well-intentioned, but do not confuse desiring the emotion in good intention with needing the emotion as if your love isn’t real without it. I simply don’t believe that is true at all.

Please do not despair by allowing Satan to trick you into thinking you have “lost” the love. It is not something that can be lost, only thrown away willingly. And based upon your post, it doesn’t seem you have willingly done so. There is nothing immoral nor even, in the true sense, cold about continuing to remain committed and loyal to God [essentially, continuing to love Him] in the absence of feeling affection. If anything, it may be all the more noble to do so even despite the lack of emotional incentive.

You will be in my prayers, and may you make the choice to never stop loving our Lord, Who is worthy of love even when we do not feel like giving it. I hope this is helpful. :slight_smile:

Blessings in Christ,
KindredSoul*


#12

Ahhh… KindredSoul comes through again. I was waiting. :smiley:

The feeling of love can be taken from you, but the love itself is not really the feeling.

Love is the effort to support (to keep healthy, happy, and prosperous) and is usually stemmed from the deep desire within. But those desires are tricky lil devils that can be persuaded by all kinds of influences. That is why you have a conscious mind to “rule over” your heart. The ideal is to have perfect harmony between your heart and your mind, but that would make you too strong for the world to handle, so a great many things are used to remove that harmony so as to create doubt, discomfort, and weakness.

This is the make of all addictions as the person longs for that feeling and becomes disparate to find it by any means. But once removed, the other sources for the feeling are merely an illusion and they fade as well in time. It becomes an endless struggle to feel that you are alive.

Often the mind is left too uninformed to be able to support the heart and thus the heart takes off in another direction and the mind has little to do but follow suit. It is really just the story of Ahdam and Eve over and over.

Jesus prescribed a method for keeping or restoring the harmony and “raising that dead spirit”. But as with so many examples, the real key is in how much you are willing to give up in order to restore your soul.

Fasting, meditating, and all kinds of things have been used in such an effort. The bottom line is to simply give up everything until your heart can agree in harmony with your mind and visa-versa.

If you really want to raise your dead spirit and restore your soul, just lay down and accept that you really want nothing else and refuse to continue until you are whole. What is the point in struggling against yourself for the rest of your days?

Give up and give over. Jesus has plenty of life to provide for you if you are truly willing to give up the disjointed passions and thoughts you have fallen into.

But it is all just advice. :smiley:


#13

Love is in the will. :slight_smile:

We should do what we can to order our emotional lives properly towards God and not give up on that, but at the same time accept what is our current limits and remember that love is in the will. Frustration is not the way. :slight_smile: Peace is the way.

One of the best ways I’ve found to enkindle love is gratitude by thinking about all the blessings God has given us. And it is quite true that we can do nothing good, and nothing good exists without God, so this is quite easy to do.

It’s as simple as stepping outside and taking a breath of air and thanking God one can do it and realizing what a splendid thing it is to be able to be alive.


#14

Faith, love, and hope are not feelings.

They are acts of the will (as well as being gifts).

The only difference between the let-down after the first fevors of conversion and what you are experiencing now is of degree. It’s not of kind at all.

C. S. Lewis, through the mouth of the demon Screwtape, said, “Our cause is never in more danger than when a Christian looks out over a landscape from which all sign of God has disappeared, asks why he has been forsaken, and STILL intends to obey Him.”


#15

Love is a choice, not a feeling, and sometimes we have to learn to love despite feelings :slight_smile: nothing wrong with you… keep on following God in your choices… the feelings come and go. God bless you


#16

You sound like a saint.
Why? Because most great saints experienced some sort of spiritual dryness…a dark period of the soul. It is okay, just keep living for God even when it doesn’t feel overpowering and he will refresh and renew you when the time is right.


#17

I might get yelled at for this but I’m going to loosely quote something Joyce Meyers said.
“When you’re feeling spiritual deadness the best thing you can do is get involved in the service of others.” My suggestion would be to get involved with a Catholic group helping the needy. Share in their spiritual joy. What goes around comes around.

And I’ll pray for you.


#18

You can’t say it’s unintentional when you open the pages of the philosophers’ works. God has seemingly left you in this perhaps genuine dark night (if you see that your are still living faithfully and growing in virtue), but instead of being patient with His working in your soul, you have filled that “emptiness” with what seems to satisfy the longing you have for God with something far less than Him. Your finding solace in philosophy is really no different than someone else filling that “emptiness” with a TV marathon of Miami Vice. The subject of philosophy is certainly loftier (well, to the exclusion of some of those philosophers you name), but it’s the same “hole” that’s being filled for want of attending on God through the night.


#19

It sounds as though you are experiencing the “dark night of the soul”, a period which many people must live through. Everything feels dead, your faith gives you no comfort, and in fact, faith itself seems like an impossibility.
Pray the Rosary every day and see what happens. Go to Confession and ask your priest about this sitution. But please continue going to Mass and just go through the motions for now. You’ll be glad you did later, as you come out of this dry spell.


#20

Hi Reed,

I hope that advice people have offered will be of help. I’d just like to ad my own experience and what I’ve learned from it. For several years I went through something similar to your experience of a dying faith and no love for God. I went to Mass, I went to confession a few times a year, thought about faith but never really prayed. I was conflicted because I lived among atheists who seemed to do just fine without God and who seemed to care about social justice and world affairs. And of course, their morality depended on what suited them. Much more appealing than how we are called to live. Looking back it seems to me that I lost my love for God and the faith because I allowed secular values to seduce me into prioritising them and believing they were true wisdom. It is easy and attractive to put oneself into the centre of everything. Philosophy does that no matter how altruistic it seems on the surface. I took me awhile to figure it out and to admit that the answers it gives were not enough for me.

I hope you will not give up on your faith and see that you are going through a crisis that can be solved.


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