Not getting it...


#1

I’m not sure why I’m writing this here. Writing this in a public forum where people seek help would seem to indicate that I have some hope of help for myself. Maybe I do, but I have no idea what could help at this point.

I’m not trying to be dramatic about it, but here’s the deal: I’m a sinner–I know that. I don’t expect that living a good, faithful Catholic life will make me any less of a sinner. But I would expect that there would be some barrier, some moment of pause before sinning that comes from receiving the Sacraments and praying. Well, not for me. I know full well that what I do is wrong, but I do it anyway. I know I can go to Confession and be forgiven, but how can there be any forgiveness when I know–despite an aversion to the sin–that I’m going to do it anyway?

But that’s not the problem, really. I think I’ve finally realized that, well, it’s not that I don’t believe, necessarily. It’s that whether it’s all true or not seems irrelevent. It might be true, it might not. Either way, God created me knowing where I would end up, and based on my life and abilities, it seems pretty certain where I’m going. And even though I don’t KNOW where I’m going to end up, it’s impossible for me to love a silent God who may or may not have created me for a particular location.

It’s an old problem for me. Basically, I can’t summon enough imagination to love a silent, distant God. I want to, and I love the Church, but in the end it’s all speculation. If prayer, receiving the Eucharist and Bible study don’t do “it,” I don’t know what will. I’ve been trying, and I’ve tried “letting go,” but I just feel like I’m knocking on the door to Heaven but I’m really just being an unwelcome stalker. I’m really starting to believe that faith and God’s love are for some people, but not for me. And here’s the really sick thing–part of me almost welcomes the idea of damnation, because at least in Hell I could scream at the being who created me, for creating me.


#2

Montanaman I am going to get some excerps from the Diary of Saint Faustina and the Divine Mercy and paste them here.God Bless
It so happened that I feel again into a certain error, in spite of a sincere resolution not to do so – even though the lapse was a minor imperfection and rather involuntary – and at this I felt such acute pain in my soul that I interrupted my work and went to the chapel for a while. Falling at the feet of Jesus, with love and a great deal of pain, I apologized to the Lord, all the more ashamed because of the fact that in my conversation with Him after Holy Communion this very morning I had promised to be faithful to Him. Then I heard these words: if it hadn’t been for this small imperfection, you wouldn’t have come to Me, know that as often as you come to Me, humbling yourself and asking My forgiveness, I pour out a superabundance of graces on your soul, and your imperfection vanishes before My eyes, and I see only your love and your humility. You lose nothing but gain much…


#3

The Goodness of God.
The mercy of God, hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, the voice of the Lord who speaks to us from the throne of mercy: Come to Me, all of you.

[size=3]Conversation of the Merciful God with a Sinful Soul.
Jesus: [size=4]Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul. I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me. Child, do not run away from your Father; be willing to talk openly with Your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish his graces on you. How dear your soul is to Me! I have inscribed your name upon My hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.

[size=3]Soul: Lord I hear Your voice calling me to turn back from the path of sin, but I have neither the strength nor the courage to do so.

Jesus: [size=4]I am your strength, I will help you in the struggle.

[size=3]Soul: Lord I recognize Your holiness and I fear You.

Jesus: [size=4]My child, do you fear the God of mercy? My holiness does not prevent Me from being merciful. Behold. for you I have established a throne of mercy on earth - the tabernacle - and from this throne I desire to enter into your heart. I am not surrounded by a retinue of guards. You can come to Me at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and desire to grant you grace.

[size=3]Soul: Lord, I doubt that You will pardon my numerous sins; my misery fills me with fright.

Jesus: [size=4]My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire World. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed Myself to be nailed to the Cross; for you I let My Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.[/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size]


#4

Tell souls not to place within their own hearts obstacles to My mercy, which so greatly wants to act within them. My mercy works in all those hearts which open their doors to it. Both the sinner and the righteous person have need of My mercy. Conversion, as well as perseverance, is a grace of My mercy. I myself will attend to the sanctification of such souls. I provide them with everything they will need to attain sanctity. The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that it - trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts.


#5

Montana man, thanks for your honesty…did you read what you wrote? You almost reveal all the answers. Hey, you are not the only one who feels like you do , at least some of the time.

Here is some advice from one of the biggest sinners going. I may be much older than you so take it for what it’s worth.

Most of us feel remote from heaven. Most of us have repeated the same sins over and over. But I ask, are you truely sorry for the sins you are confessing, do you know how much it hurts God for you to sin? Just something to think about.


#6

Montana,

You can’t ‘do’ Christianity of your own power. I respect your honesty it is self truth like this that makes a huge difference. I often find myself going to God saying “I don’t know what I need”.

He shows me what I need and gives me what I need to do it. If you fight this war without him you’re going to get hammered. Just go to him with everything you wrote here and be just as honest.

We can’t even have the slightest faith or true belief unless it is given to us. We need him the way a two year old needs a parent. The two year old might not understand that the electrical outlet is dangerous and some lessons are painful. God knows what you personaly need, be it help with unbelief, faith, humility, etc etc … ask him and dont give up.

-D


#7

[quote=Darrel]Montana,

You can’t ‘do’ Christianity of your own power. I respect your honesty it is self truth like this that makes a huge difference. I often find myself going to God saying “I don’t know what I need”.

He shows me what I need and gives me what I need to do it. If you fight this war without him you’re going to get hammered. Just go to him with everything you wrote here and be just as honest.

We can’t even have the slightest faith or true belief unless it is given to us. We need him the way a two year old needs a parent. The two year old might not understand that the electrical outlet is dangerous and some lessons are painful. God knows what you personaly need, be it help with unbelief, faith, humility, etc etc … ask him and dont give up.

-D
[/quote]

Darrel, what you wrote is just what I needed to read today, thank you!


#8

[quote=montanaman]I’m not sure why I’m writing this here. Writing this in a public forum where people seek help would seem to indicate that I have some hope of help for myself. Maybe I do, but I have no idea what could help at this point.

I’m not trying to be dramatic about it, but here’s the deal: I’m a sinner–I know that. I don’t expect that living a good, faithful Catholic life will make me any less of a sinner. But I would expect that there would be some barrier, some moment of pause before sinning that comes from receiving the Sacraments and praying. Well, not for me. I know full well that what I do is wrong, but I do it anyway. I know I can go to Confession and be forgiven, but how can there be any forgiveness when I know–despite an aversion to the sin–that I’m going to do it anyway?

But that’s not the problem, really. I think I’ve finally realized that, well, it’s not that I don’t believe, necessarily. It’s that whether it’s all true or not seems irrelevent. It might be true, it might not. Either way, God created me knowing where I would end up, and based on my life and abilities, it seems pretty certain where I’m going. And even though I don’t KNOW where I’m going to end up, it’s impossible for me to love a silent God who may or may not have created me for a particular location.

It’s an old problem for me. Basically, I can’t summon enough imagination to love a silent, distant God. I want to, and I love the Church, but in the end it’s all speculation. If prayer, receiving the Eucharist and Bible study don’t do “it,” I don’t know what will. I’ve been trying, and I’ve tried “letting go,” but I just feel like I’m knocking on the door to Heaven but I’m really just being an unwelcome stalker. I’m really starting to believe that faith and God’s love are for some people, but not for me. And here’s the really sick thing–part of me almost welcomes the idea of damnation, because at least in Hell I could scream at the being who created me, for creating me.
[/quote]

My friend, I think you need to see what the apostle Paul had to say about all of this.

Read Romans 7:1 - 8: 39. I am sure you will be blessed to know that we all struggle with the same problems, but there is power to overcome. Let me know how you fare, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.


#9

Montanaman,

I can relate. I live with a constant nagging doubt. However not *knowing *is something I have accepted will always be the case for the remainder of my life. Barring a private revelation which, much like a little child searching for Santa Claus, I often find myself fantasizing about.

However there are some things I know for certain. There is enormous (at the least, complete, at the most) truth in the teachings of the Catholic Church. These truths are not readily apparent and are under a constant barrage of argument and outright dismissal because they so readily appear to remove our freedom and our pursuit of wordly pleasures. Yet, when deeply contimplated we see that these truths are what brings more joy and peace and betterment to all. This fact I have found miraculous. When I embraced the churches teaching (Jesus’s teaching) that divorce is simply not an option on the table to resolve unhappiness in marriage; then, and only then did things get better.

This, of course is a datapoint of one and can be dismissed as not having any divine meaning. However, the more an more I grow to understand more and more of the teachings of our faith the more and more they make objective sense (approach truth).
I hold on to this as *proof, *(if you will) of the existance of God.

Another possible suggestion. Simple, very simple.
If you have trouble loving a silent God, try loving love; try loving righteousness. Then, if this is successful, come to the realization that God is love and righteousness.

Peace of the Lord Montanaman


#10

Boy Montanaman, it sounds that you are experiencing your own Agony in The Garden. Confession is forgiveness. In our own human fraility we are sinners, all do from original sin. I go to confession and most often it is over the same thing that I struggle with. But I need to set my pride to the side and humble myself in front of our Lord.

Your words have touched me very much. A very dear friend of mine told me when I go to the Eucharist take my sorrows, struggles and joys to the Lord. I have never thought of approaching the Lord in that manner. What wonderful blessings have come from bringing my problems to the Lord in the Eucharist. The actual presence of his body and blood. I will keep you in prayer.


#11

I’m so sorry to hear you are loosing faith in the Lord… and a most difficult thing to admitt . I was in your shoes many years ago…I walked away from the Church for one reason or another.
But somehow I found my way back, call it the Holy Spirt ( I think it was ) my love and faith has never been stronger.
If you give up now…just remember that the Lord loves you no matter what, and will be waiting for you to come home.
I will pray that your heart will be opened to the grace that God longs to give you.


#12

[quote=montanaman]I’m not sure why I’m writing this here. Writing this in a public forum where people seek help would seem to indicate that I have some hope of help for myself. Maybe I do, but I have no idea what could help at this point.

I’m not trying to be dramatic about it, but here’s the deal: I’m a sinner–I know that. I don’t expect that living a good, faithful Catholic life will make me any less of a sinner. But I would expect that there would be some barrier, some moment of pause before sinning that comes from receiving the Sacraments and praying. Well, not for me. I know full well that what I do is wrong, but I do it anyway. I know I can go to Confession and be forgiven, but how can there be any forgiveness when I know–despite an aversion to the sin–that I’m going to do it anyway?

But that’s not the problem, really. I think I’ve finally realized that, well, it’s not that I don’t believe, necessarily. It’s that whether it’s all true or not seems irrelevent. It might be true, it might not. Either way, God created me knowing where I would end up, and based on my life and abilities, it seems pretty certain where I’m going. And even though I don’t KNOW where I’m going to end up, it’s impossible for me to love a silent God who may or may not have created me for a particular location.

It’s an old problem for me. Basically, I can’t summon enough imagination to love a silent, distant God. I want to, and I love the Church, but in the end it’s all speculation. If prayer, receiving the Eucharist and Bible study don’t do “it,” I don’t know what will. I’ve been trying, and I’ve tried “letting go,” but I just feel like I’m knocking on the door to Heaven but I’m really just being an unwelcome stalker. I’m really starting to believe that faith and God’s love are for some people, but not for me. And here’s the really sick thing–part of me almost welcomes the idea of damnation, because at least in Hell I could scream at the being who created me, for creating me.
[/quote]

I have heard of something on deliberate venial sin. We all may do this but some moreso than others…I am hoping you are not speaking of mortal sin, but the same thing applies where you have to put forth an effort, but with mortal sin you must stop immediately because it is serious and you will not be able to recieve the grace to overcome it in the future through the Sacraments of the church…Anyway, this may be a form of a habit. Look at like quitting smoking or biting your nails, you have to first recognize it, and then begin to recognize it. As long as God knows you are putting forth an effort, He can see that you are continually repentant…you could find the sin and keep bringing it to your confession and updae the priest on your progress and get advice on how good or bad you are doing. And pray for the grace to overcome your habitual sins.
A note on repentance, please not that protestants seem to think that repentance is once and then you are saved…but the real meaning of repentance is to “rethink” your life and make necessary changes…you just have to get up and keep trying like Jesus did when he fell on his way to calvary.
If you need better advice than this, write and let me know…I may not be that smart, but at least I can throw out some ideas;)


#13

montanaman, my brother, you don’t have to be in hell to scream at God. i don’t want you to be angry at God, but i’m pretty sure He can handle it. so scream at Him. He might actually answer :slight_smile:

we’re all praying for you.


#14

That really speaks to me, Mijoy - so thank you!
It reminds me of the beautiful quote from St John of the Cross:
“Where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love”.
Or the prayer of the man in the gospel “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”.
Sometimes we realise we are going through the motions, so to speak, and we don’t know if our heart is really with God; whether our deadness and dryness is our own fault (though usually we can discern this if we are honest with ourselves) or whether it is some trial sent to strengthen our faith.
I think in those circumstances we must just keep on carrying out our practice of the faith - going to Mass and confession, praying. Don’t let doubt cause you to drop any of those practices because it means we are keeping the door open to God’s grace. He can change your heart, set you on fire, who knows what?. And you ARE in fact open to Him,as can be seen from what you have said in your post. You have been blessed with the gifts of honesty and self-knowledge - these are great graces! Don’t close any of the doors. Your prayer to Him is just what you have told us. He knows you through and through, and if you recall from many gospel episodes, He loves those who are open and honest and not hypocrites. I’d rather be where you are than complacently thinking I am a good fervent Catholic! He came to save sinners, not the virtuous. Thanks be to God, that means there is always hope for us all!
:blessyou:


#15

Montanaman,

Have you spoken of this to your confessor?


#16

[quote=montanaman]I’m not sure why I’m writing this here…but I have no idea what could help at this point.

I’m not trying to be dramatic about it, but here’s the deal: …But I would expect that there would be some barrier, some moment of pause before sinning that comes from receiving the Sacraments and praying. Well, not for me. I know full well that what I do is wrong, but I do it anyway.

But that’s not the problem, really…God created me knowing where I would end up…it’s impossible for me to love a silent God who may or may not have created me for a particular location.

It’s an old problem for me…If prayer, receiving the Eucharist and Bible study don’t do “it,” I don’t know what will. I’m really starting to believe that faith and God’s love are for some people, but not for me.
[/quote]

Realize, 1) you are not alone in your struggles; 2) you can choose to be alone in your times of temptation and feeling resigned to sin; 3) you can avail yourself to the grace of God to break your sin habits/compulsion; 4) having no sense of God’s grace or presence does not mean that He is not offering His grace to resist temptation to sin; 5) I cannot imagine myself ever fully accepting God’s grace to break with sin apart from active fellowship and disclosure with other like minded Christians; 6) the devil would seek to have us isolate ourselves and fall into despair; 7) ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you, and He will, but maybe only in the context of committed relationship with other Christians.

Here are a few scriptures that I have found relevant for myself in ‘crucifying’ the flesh and claiming my freedom in Christ against “slavery” to sin:


Galatians**, *Chapter 5:1,7-8,13,16-17,22-25. ***For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. You were running well; who hindered you from following (the) truth? That enticement does not come from the one who called you. For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

2 Corinthians**, *Chapter 12:7-9 ***Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.

[font=Comic Sans MS]1 Peter**, Chapter 5:7-10** Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ (Jesus) will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. To him be dominion forever. Amen. [/font]


#17

Montanaman,

Consider this, you are under attack! When you are walking along the path that God chooses, you will be stung by the Foe. When you are walking away from God, you can expect God to be stinging you to come back. The fact that you realize you are doing wrong and continue to do it means that the Foe’s tactics are working. Realize at that juncture you are under attack and pray to God that he helps you. I am NOT saying it is easy, I’m certainly no Saint, and am probably a worse sinner than you, but like GI Joe used to say. “Knowing is Half the Battle” Shame that the other half is SUCH A BUGGER! :slight_smile: I’ll pray for you.

John


#18

You have to die to yourself.

It takes a while to figure out what that means in the concreteness of your own life.

Sometimes, as in my case, it takes decades.

But don’t ever give up.


#19

hello, montanaman,

Oh, do I know what you’re talking about.

People on another thread offered me sound advice,
and especially prayers. You know what?
The line in one of the posts that really started
lifting the clouds for me was when someone
said something like: the thought “I don’t have
a chance of getting to heaven” doesn’t come
from God.
And I thought about that. And then I realized
that i’ve lived a whole, long time [decades!] with
the thought: I haven’t even got a chance of
going to heaven.
That thought can drive out joy, a love of life,
and make a person feel that God is very
distant.

I’ve spent so much time on the road labeled:
Why even try? I had no idea I had so much
company.

If I don’t think that I have a chance, if I don’t
really understand, by experience, that God
is Love, then the feelings that you described
seem pretty understandable, to me. And if
I, a sinful human being, can understand what
you’re saying, then the God Who made us can certainly
understand.

I read from a Judaic source, that one way
to deal with that “I know I’m going to sin
again” discouragement, is to take our human nature into
consideration and then say: Today I’m going
to try not to do [fill in the blank.] * God rejoices*
at that effort on that one thing!
Even better, I think, is to say: Today I’m going
to* do* one good thing [fill in the blank].
And God rejoices at your effort, even if you don’t
"succeed."
As a Christian, you can ask God to give you the
grace to do the above.
For what they’re worth, you’re in my prayers today,
God love you, dear person.
reen12


#20

Wanting to scream may be psychological rather than theological. Have you looked into primal therapy?


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