Up until about a week ago, I felt so close to God. Nothing else seemed quite so important anymore because I felt His presence so acutely in my life. Now, though, I feel distracted, not nearly as happy or trusting, all because I feel as if He’s left me. It doesn’t matter what I read, pray, etc–nothing is working. It all started when I began hearing these discussions around school, started by seperate groups of arrogant people, talking about how they don’t believe in the Trinity or anything else holy, how Christianity is made up, etc. I still believe, but I need help. I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t get my faith back, and soon. Please help however you can. Thanks.
God allows this to happen to make us less dependent on our feelings.
Try to trust Him, remember He's still with you and always will be. Our faith is all about our choices, not our feelings.
These words by St Padre Pio always help me :)
God bless you
You have no idea how much that helps me. Thank you. God bless
About the challenges to your faith: Yes, faith can be an act of the will. Don’t rely on your feelings. Every time you feel a doubt, make an Act of Faith, like this or in your own words:
O my God, I firmly believe that You are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that Your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths the Holy Catholic Church teaches because You have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
Or simply, in the words spoken to Jesus by a man whose faith needed strengthening (Mark 9:24):
I do believe. Help my unbelief!
Regarding “warm fuzzy feelings” at prayer: do not expect them, do not worry when they are lacking. Thank God when they are present; thank Him and ask Him for His help when they are absent. Mother Teresa of Calcutta went for fifty years without any sensible feelings of God’s presence. Her perseverence in dark faith is part of what makes her a saint (she probably will be canonized). God gives us those feelings when we need them, often in the beginning of our faith journey. We feed babies mother’s milk and baby food when they are very young, but they eventually graduate to solid “adult” food. Courtship or honeymoon “feelings” of love grow into a deeper love that is lived out in marriage every day by acts of self-giving and sacrifice even though feelings are sometimes lacking. Maybe you are growing into a different stage of your spiritual life where tender feelings are not what you need right now. God knows best.
Remain faithful to prayer and a holy life regardless of the feelings. As my spiritual director asked me once (paraphrasing Saint Thomas Aquinas, I think): “Are you seeking the consolations of God, or the God of consolations?” I hope it is the latter!
Feelings come and go . . .
Let me tell you something, PhilotheaZ. When I was Protestant, I entered a “dry period” that lasted 8 or 9 months, in which I had next to zero experiences of God’s presence. I felt that God was outside of my life. But He was not. In fact, it was during that period that He made my heart desperate for deeper unity with His Kingdom. I was doing nothing wrong, spiritually, nothing to cause the dry period. He gave me the dry period so that I would thirst for His Kingdom, to prepare me for the vastly deeper experience of Himself He was about to give me in the Catholic Church. That period in my life when I did NOT feel God was the period in my life where I was experiencing Him MORE intimately, doing a GREATER work in my life than I’d ever experienced before. And I was ignorant of this all the way through.
Just about ALL the saints went through dry periods, often very, very severe and terrible. This is an expected part of the spiritual life we all go through. St. Mary went through it too. Remember when she and Joseph lost Jesus, who stayed behind in the Temple at Jerusalem? For three days she had to look for Him, days of agony and searching. That’s the “dry period,” the period of Christ’s absence that all Christians go through.
Don’t have any more time at the moment. God bless you! Don’t let this make you afraid. Trust in the Lord, no matter what your feelings are telling you. Faith is about trusting God no matter what our feelings or the world tell us. That is what you are being called to exhibit right now, faith that involves following without seeing (or in this case “feeling”), faith that is real trust. That is a privilege that God trusts you enough to bring you into that test now!
God bless you :).
Sometimes we feel God is closer than other time. But the truth is that God is always there. He promised us that he would not leave us orphans. I would encourage you to read some of the psalms. You will find that there are times when David sings with joy because God is so close and other times he sounds almost despairing because God feels so far. Just page through the psalms, in no particular order and you will see what I’m talking about.
The spiritual journey is filled with many experiences and many feelings. But feelings come and go. God does not. We have to thank God for those moments of consolation, when we feel his presence very closely. Then we have to thank him for those moments that require us to live from our faith, the simple knowledge that God keeps his promises, even when we don’t have the consolations.
God is good and merciful. He does not abandon his children, even when we sin. He’s always there. Sometimes, he seems silent. I believe that he is deliberately so, to give us an opportunity to show our faith.
A good question to ask ourselves when we go through these periods of silence is whether or not we have hope. It’s easy to feel that we have no faith. But do we have hope? Do we trust God? If we can answer that in the affirmative, then we’re on the right track.
Please pray for me.
Br. JR, OSF
Thank you very much for your reply. Your anology of Our Lady searching for Our Lord at the tmeple for three days is wonderful and is helping me get back on the right track. The fact that God trusts me is a great privilege–I’m very sorry I haven’t thought of it that way before, but now I understand a little more clearly.
[quote="Silyosha, post:7, topic:179521"]
Thank you very much for your reply. Your anology of Our Lady searching for Our Lord at the tmeple for three days is wonderful and is helping me get back on the right track. The fact that God trusts me is a great privilege--I'm very sorry I haven't thought of it that way before, but now I understand a little more clearly.
We work with what we know, and what we don't, God willing, we'll learn :).