Non-existent spiritual life


#1

I have been back at mass and the sacraments for nearly a year now. A break of around 13 years between where I didn’t pray, go to mass or anything.

I attend a TLM, and I have battled this year to focus, to not let my mind wander, to prepare for confession, to pray. I went on a retreat about 3 months ago, I kept my resolutions for a month.

I’m stressed and work is crazy, and instead of turning to my faith, I feel I’m losing it, pushing it away. But I can’t concentrate and do what I need to.

Going to church I feel like a fraud, I’m there just so people can see I’m doing my duty, even when was praying, the thoughts going through my head are, God sees that this is just you pretending to be oh so holy.

I feel rather desperate and I’m not sure what to do.


#2

That is the LIAR OF LIES putting those thoughts in your head. he sees you are turning back to your Faith and of course he wants to distract, discourage and not let it happen. GO TO CONFESSION be free of your sins and come back home.


#3

Turn to Jesus Christ and give him your life before you begin the practice of religion

Always keep Jesus at the center of your life and He’ll get you through the hard times, and then religion will begin to be connected to Him, rather than your issues.

Jim


#4

I recommend that you develop an “interior life” - that is, a life of prayer, a life of grace. Every day, I recommend that you pray the Our Father at least twice, with one of the two times very, very slowly, taking time to meditate/reflect upon/deeply listen to and consider every part of that prayer as you very slowly and carefully work your way through it. In order to find help in learning to meditate upon the prayer, look up the presentation and discussion of the prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. A link to the part of the Catechism on the prayer, Our Father, begins HERE.

I recommend this because the Our Father is the greatest prayer - the one Jesus Himself - God Himself - taught to us. This prayer contains all that we ought to and need to pray - but it is probably the prayer most likely to be prayed poorly! Most people race through it without thought or attention to what that are saying - a great loss to them.

If you can begin to discover what is in this prayer, you will never, never be able to pray it carelessly.

And I would recommend that you pray God the Holy Spirit, specifically, for the grace to believe according to the virtue of Faith that you received in Baptism, and to hope according to the virtue of Hope you were given at Baptism, and to love according to the virtue of Charity you were given at Baptism. These theological virtues are neglected, ignored, left dormant by - very sadly - many Christians. To discover those virtues within, and to begin to live by them and in them, is to literally come alive in Christ.


#5

Periods of desolation can sometimes be a benefit to us. Try to view them as opportunities to draw closer to God. An invitation to adjust your spiritual life and go deeper.

Absolutely continue going to mass, continue praying even if you are experiencing dryness. Trust in God. Talk to him about the dryness you feel. Ask him to help you make adjustments.

Consider reading more about Mother St. Teresa. She was very experienced with this and wrote extensively about it.


#6

Sometimes God is most active in our lives when we feel him the least.

So you will Abandon God because he doesn’t console you? It’s great to lead a sacramental life. I’ve learned to pray more when I feel god less. It please him more.

Bk


#7

Don’t feel ashamed! Most people, even including great Saints, have suffered spiritual “dry spells”.

Don’t panic and certainly don’t fall into despair! God is still with you.


#8

You’re not going to have the spiritual life of St. Teresa of Avila right away of you just went back. In fact it took a long time for St. Teresa of Avila to develop her own spiritual life.

When you are training a muscle to work, you spend a long time doing boring exercises before you can do anything great with that muscle.

Just keep on doing.


#9

I used a quote and a prayer that helped me when I felt in a similar situation…
The Quote = I can’t get it all done. It is a reality, not a failure. Do what I can do with my full attention. Celebrate what was done rather than obsess over what was not. - I cannot remember where I picked this up and I believe it is paraphrased.

The Prayer = Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
– St. Teresa of Avila

You sound like St. Therese. She identified herself as a “little soul”, too weak to climb the stairway of sanctity but with a burning desire to be a saint placed in her heart. She believed that God would not give her that burning desire and allow her to fail at becoming a great saint. She learned to trust in her littleness recognizing that God would lift her up to the heights of the great saints. You should check her out, her “Little Way” sounds like just what you may need to grow in faith.

Pray everyday asking Jesus for an increase in faith, a strengthening of hope, and a perfecting of love. These are supernatural virtues that are gifts from God. He wants to give them to you but He also wants you to ask for them.

You are in my prayers. God bless.


#10

You’re in my prayers. In times of doubt, I believe it is Satan working his hardest.


#11

It is not purely a religion. It is not merely a faith. It is a relationship - a loving, dedicated relationship. Love desires the good of the other. Love does not count the cost.

What is lacking is certainly not God’s love! You have that always and everywhere. How is your love of God doing?

The absolute best that you can do in restoring that loving relationship is to spend time with your beloved. But how to do that?

Go to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - Jesus Christ in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Go and sit in His presence. Gaze upon Him and let Him examine your heart. Be as patient with Him as He has been with you. And, when you become aware that He is there, you will be changed.


#12

Hello. You warm my heart.

What you posted reminds me of the publican in the pharisee vs the publican gospel.

Do you know how much grace God gives you and how happy you make Him when you do these things even while feeling like a “fraud?”

Where do you think feelings like “I can’t do this” (discouragement) and wanting to give up (discouragement, hopelessness) come from? They’re not from God, that’s for sure. None of us can do the Catholic life alone. We need God desperately.

I haven’t been doing the things I used to do --> weekly adoration, going to at least 1-2 daily Masses a week, daily rosary, daily spiritual reading & I thank you for the reminder to do these things, and when I can’t, to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Lord and any saint I can think of at the time to help me. I have been working on a degree though, that for 2 years I’d never thought I’d get, and somehow I am now in my last semester. I believe that Someone has helped me with this and is continuing to help me.

Have you considered going to a retreat lately? Read any good (by good I mean has the Imprimatur & Nihil Obstat) Catholic spiritual books? Have you listened to any good talks by good priests? EWTN has bunches of them on all sorts of topics.

Also, have you discussed this with the Lord?

I had something interesting happen to me last week. I struggle with depression, PTSD, etc. & ad nauseum, and I was really late for a class, and I mean I was bracing myself to do the walk of shame. I got there and no one was there. It turned out that the instructor had skipped class too. I’d been lately complaining to the Lord that I was so tired of feeling low and that life seemed humorless. This gave me a reason to smile for hours.

Give things time and let the Lord take care of things you can’t. Just do what you can, for now, you can’t do anything about what other people think, but you can do something about your own thoughts.

Tell the Lord your mind wanders. But show up for Him. He can surprise you, though it may be in His timetable. Give your wandering thoughts, your stress, the craziness at work, your lack of concentration to the Lord. And keep giving them. God will answer but He likes to write His own scripts to His answers.

Hope this is helpful, but if not, please ignore. Placing you in the enclosed garden of the most sacred heart of our Blessed Virgin Mary.


#13

There is the mustard seed! I planted an apple tree pip earlier this year and to my surprise it grew around seven inches and had leaves everywhere and it’s stem is about 4mm thick! Now it has virtually become inactive but the stem is green and it will hibernate until next spring. Soon I’ll pack a little hay around it to protect it from the coming frosts and snow.
I see this, and next spring I’ll feed it again and I just know the little tree will grow and one day will give me much fruit. This will please me and I’m sure it will please God too since the tree would have fulfilled its purpose.


#14

Life, including the spiritual life, is a journey. It has ups and downs. It has periods where you feel close and others where you feel remote. Learning to accept that is key.

We tend to be focused on the negative. So we will overestimate or value the times when we feel down or distant. One way to combat this is to make sure if you only do one thing you take time to be grateful for all that is good in your life. Take time each day to thank God for that.

Those are just feelings. But we really do have a duty to worship God. So you being there is doing the right thing, even if it gives you no good feelings.


#15

I know people will flame me for this, but I would suggest not attending TLM. Maybe another mass will flow easier for you and you wont need to battle to focus so much. Just try it once or twice and see if there is any difference for you.


#16

Thank you
I don’t want to believe that I think, because I can’t see how Satan can think I’m “special” enough for him to waste time


#17

You’ve given me a lot to work with. Thank you


#18

I grew up with TLM, so I don’t find any other mass as fulfilling. They rather make me more edgy. :blush:


#19

That’s a kind ‘like’ chrissyP and I thank you for your charity, sometimes my answers can be a bit wierd!

You say you’re stressed and work is hectic, it’s not surprising then that you are mentally pulled in two seemingly different directions, it happens to me too when I’m in the world so to speak. God is with you always, always. You’re prayers are heard always and He knows you’re stressed I am totally sure. It might be helpful to take a little time out at work a few times a day and take that time to simply say a little prayer, then refreshed return to the fray. He will help you to cope and this will help you to refresh your beliefs.
God bless you.


#20

I need to take the time. I have not because I’ve only seen it as a waste. But it’s needed. A necessity. I must make the effort.
My mind is rather weird to so I guess that helps :blush:


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