Sometimes I feel like I cannot be truly "good" in this world due to circumstance


#1

Does anyone else feel like being a “good” person is elusive to those who are not either very wealthy, privileged, and well-connected or very poor? Allow me to explain…

The wealthy and privileged can make great gestures and literally influence/save/better hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in their lifetime. They can start charities and make massive donations or speak out about a cause and a monsoon of praises falls upon them even if the impact to their own wealth relative to what they need to survive is fairly minimal.

The well-connected can become movers and shakers who work tirelessly for cause x and mission y and bring about great change by their actions.

The very poor have limited resources, but they can still give of themselves. In fact, a small gesture often means more than it would coming from someone of greater means when someone has fewer resources.

But those in the middle…the ones who don’t have enough to make the world turn, but aren’t quite in a position where they’d be able to make another’s world turn by offering their last penny for another hungry person’s dinner…what of us? Can we ever truly be worthy in the eyes of God? Especially if we’re not doing other self-sacrificing things, like raising a family or working tirelessly at a non-profit or for another cause…sometimes I wonder why we even bother. Every time I try and be a “good person” I feel like a fraud who can never quite be good. To be honest…sometimes I just feel like I should give up and not even try. There’s no call on my life, no center, no purpose- and, quite frankly, it doesn’t look like there’s ever going to be. I just feel like a forgotten extra thing doing its best to survive but isn’t living up to some standard that I cannot even see. I can’t go to the Church with this- all I hear from the Church is that I’m selfish for not being married and/or a parent, selfish for ever committing any kind of sin, and selfish for being an introvert.

Does anyone else feel like this at all? Has anyone ever felt like this?


#2

I feel like this sometimes. I can’t afford much things and have no gifts I could use. I just try to not sin and offer emotional support whenever I can.


#3

I kind of understand this feeling. I felt a bit like this when I was younger and unmarried. It didn’t seem like just working a normal job and being a responsible citizen was enough, especially if you didn’t have kids to focus on raising. At the time, the big push was social justice, and if you weren’t out being Mother Teresa, Jean Donovan, Mitch Snyder, or a Berrigan brother, and you didn’t have kids as your “excuse” for why you weren’t out saving the world, you were just some mediocre pew warmer. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t make myself want the life of a social activist. I too am an introvert.

What got me personally past it was prayer, a lot of prayer. God needs people to just go to church and pray too. We don’t all have to be out doing. We can be in, praying. That’s more how I was raised and that’s how I feel better able to contribute right now. It’s possible other involvement might come later, but if it doesn’t, then it wasn’t God’s will.

Re all the “selfish” stuff, I don’t think the Church means to send that message, so unless a priest is announcing that from the pulpit, it’s most likely inadvertent on their part. Try not to read into it. But also try not to look to the Church to validate you as a good person. It is a human institution and it will have human errors like overlooking people and not giving everyone the cookie they deserve. This is where a strong prayer life and Adoration and all that helps. You’re having the relationship directly with God, and He provides some validation back without you having to go through a distracted middleman of a priest who might be focused on other groups of people.

Pray a lot!


#4

I get where you are coming from, last weeks sermon really hit home for those of us without obvious talents or callings.


#5

A few things come to mind… Maybe you have some wrong ideas in mind when you think about other people and their deeds, it’s not a race who does more good… what matters is what is in our heart, what we become. We are good because we want to get closer to God. We want to live like Christ. Following this path alone results in good you can’t really measure. You can’t really imagine the influence.

It might be beneficial to think others do infinitely more good than us, because this would bring humility and should motivate us to seek for ways to help others, to pray more! But… you seem to perceive it more as a race of sorts and you fall short. Why do you even think of stopping? To me it indicates that your motivations aren’t clear enough. It’s you who imagined the cruel rules. We are called to follow Christ, not to accumulate proof of how many good deeds we’ve done. That would be pride!

Also, maybe you can’t even imagine how much good you’ve done and how much good praying does? There is so much to it… we can’t really say, and judge other people. Also, most of us are mediocre, but we tend to think otherwise :smile:


#6

I encourage you to check out St. Therese of Lisieux’s Little Way.

I understand your feelings of frustration about not being able to make grand gestures, but really, grand gestures are not where the majority of “good” happens. True, they can affect more people at once, but it is the small acts of kindness done every day by millions of people across the world that have the greater impact.

The Little Way is about doing small acts of kindness out of deep love for God. If we do everything with this love in mind, we will accomplish great good, even if we only do it a little bit at a time.

Remember, even the greatest of journeys is just a collection of individual steps.


#8

what does ‘standing out’ have to do with being good, or living a Christ like life?
I hope you are around other good people and don’t stand out.


#10

Excuse the length of this post but it’s worth reading. Blessed John Henry Newman has some wise words on just this subject:

'It is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well. A short road to perfection—short, not because easy, but because pertinent and intelligible. There are no short ways to perfection, but there are sure ways.

I think this is an instruction which may be of great practical use to persons like ourselves. It is easy to have vague ideas what perfection is, which serve well enough to talk about, when we do not intend to aim at it; but as soon as a person really desires and sets about seeking it himself, he is dissatisfied with anything but what is tangible and clear, and constitutes some sort of direction towards the practice of it. We must bear in mind what is meant by perfection. It does not mean any extraordinary service, anything out of the way, or especially heroic—not all have the opportunity of heroic acts, of sufferings—but it means what the word perfection ordinarily means. By perfect we mean that which has no flaw in it, that which is complete, that which is consistent, that which is sound—we mean the opposite to imperfect As we know well what imperfection in religious service means, we know by the contrast which is meant by perfection.

He, then, is perfect who does the work of the day perfectly,
and we need not go beyond this
to seek for perfection.

I insist on this because I think it will simplify our views, and fix our exertions on a definite aim. If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first—Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God’s glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.’


#11

I understand this feeling. It seems like evil is everywhere and like I’m powerless against it.


#12

I already failed at the “don’t lie in bed” part (same reason I do not seek to join Opus Dei, they have some rule about jumping out of bed when the alarm rings)

But as to the general sentiment, I agree.


#13

I fail on quite a few. At least three alarms to get me out of bed, which means my first thought is coffee, and often the rosary is more a bunch of wilted tulips than a bouquet of roses. But as Bl. Henry Newman said, it’s not easy.


#14

I’ve never heard of Catholics or anybody else thinking a person is selfish for being single and not having kids. I have heard of having one of three vocations, married, single, or religious life. Maybe, however, you feel like you’re on the fringes of society, which can happen if you’re single. One solution is to help children in some way. Are you content being single?

Why do you have no purpose in your life? no call? no center? Perhaps you can have many small purposes. For instance, every time you see some litter by a bus stop, you can be the one that puts it in the garbage.

When Jesus met the woman at the well, he said “Go and sin no more.” That’s all I focus on. Most people do not see the good others do. So maybe you can be the one who appreciates others the most.


#15

While I like Opus Dei’s practices of daily Mass, Rosary, I don’t agree with the jumping out of bed. This is not applicable to everyone.

People with blood pressure problems should not be doing this. I generally have low blood pressure ans sometimes feel dizzy upon waking up.


#16

Yes. Some people already know what they want since age 5 and are able to set out and do it. They probably had the finances, connections, and support from family to carry this out.

Some also have a great ambition early on, but due to lack of money and education with no one else who came along to offer assistance, would live a minimum wage sort of life and livelihood until the day they die.

Some may have the finances but lack perseverance and strong family support to pursue their dreams.

I once heard that if you think you lived an insignificant and unsuccessful life but end up in Heaven, you are successful.


#17

I sometimes need a couple minutes to get a grip as well. I really don’t see a spiritual advantage to starting my day like an Army soldier hearing Reveille. I kind of like the part in Elizabeth Kindelmann’s memoirs where she’s speaking to Mary (I think it’s Mary) in bed and apologizing for being disrespectful in not getting up and Mary tells her it’s not a problem and they can talk with her laying down in bed.


#18

I’m definitely the sort who falls over if I jump straight out of bed :smile:

It does all seem harder when you are a solitary person, I mean I try to be a good friend and family member but we all live far apart which does limit what you can practically do. Many of us simply don’t have good social skills which limits our ability to make worthwhile new social contacts.

In the past I really wanted to do some voluntary work but struggled to find anything suitable as I work full time and most volunteering seems to be lone working where you get minimal (if any) training and it’s just assumed you know what you are doing, I just felt I was doing more harm than good.


#19

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