That feeling to be saved


#1

I’ve talked a lot about struggling with pornography and the results of the sin. After having multiple discussions with my pastor I think I’ve figures out what is up although it feels strange to me.

Because of some problems in these few months, I’ve taken an even bigger accounting of my spiritual life. I’ve become that much more involved in being “clean” in case my time comes. Obviously we should be striving to be like that but for me it has become something that is a few steps below being fanatical about it.

I’ve realized that I enjoy the feeling after the Sacrament of Reconciliation for a few days (although I become nervous and at times forgotten for a moment the things I need to confess). However the euphoria is fleeting and is eventually replaced with something that is best described as “all-consuming”. I’m left with this void called “Am I still clean?”

I end up questioning a lot of things as if the tinniest thing can lead to condemnation. Whether it’s something I said or a thought/daydream that passes through my head or a deed I committed. What I come to believe is that when that void hits it makes me spiritually panic. I guess what ends up happening is I become a “Spritual Hypocondriac”.

I believe this feeling becomes so intense that it affects me subconsciously. You don’t go to confession if there is nothing you need to confess at the time. I think what happens is subsconsciously I give in towards sin so that I can confess my misdeeds and have that feeling of being cleansed (not to be confused with committing sin and going to confession with the intent of doing it again). My pastor and I have talked about this and he considered it a “trial and error” situation.

Anyways that’s all I have. I wanted to see if there are other people who feel this way or if someone can help me control this.

God bless you all and especially god bless to those who helped me, wherever they are.


#2

I guess in both cases, it could be seen as an addiction to what feels good.
The sin, because some aspects of it feel good, th absolution because it brings a sense of ‘clensing’ or freedom.
A passing thought isn’t in itself sinful, by the way … which you most likely know.
Our preoccupations and choices can train our minds a certain way, which is more likely to induce temptations or passing thoughts which are spiritually unwelcome.

Your ‘spiritual hypocondriac’ comment shows a creative mind :grin:, because a more common designation would be 'a tendency to ‘scrupulosity’. Maybe you haven’t yet become subject to scrupulosity, but you might be in danger of succumbing to that if you persist in micro introversion on the matter.

Feelings are less important, and a lesser indication of our spiritual state than are the choices we make.
To train our mminds we do need to make right choices as often as possible.

You clearly want to be all that God wants you to be.
My thought is, perhaps an area of examination might be the other half of Jesus’ basic commandment. Of course I don’t know your state of life regarding 'love others as you love yourself. Only God knows.

However in all things, we go back to Jesus when examining our life and spiritual direction.
We attend His own words.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

We don’t need to trawl far, or return to old types of sinning to obtain a state of grace
We tend to have many little and big failures in charity towards others. We do all need to look outward, not just inward, to fulfil the commandments. Our neglects and our offences against others are myriad … every single day can be littered with evidence of little lacks of kindness, or little acts of neglect.

When Jesus described the criteria by which He judges souls in Matthew 25 verses 31-46, He made abundantly clear that our practical love, practical acts of kindness towards others is His primary criteria. He even stated that to love others with practical kindness is taken as kindness and love to Himself, our Savior and our God.

There are so many ways we can fail to show kindness to others, and it doesn’t matter if we feel like it at the time, it’s our choice to be loving and acting it out, that matters. A frown instead of a smile, a reluctance to share a task, failure to offer assistance, an impatient word, a lack of compassion, judgement of others … a huge range of kindnesses can be be neglected in our daily lives.
Jesus’ basic command is two pronged, yet blend together, love God above all, love others.


#3

Its interesting that you mention the passage from Matthew 22. I suffer from major depression and although I have my bouts of getting angry with others, I do try to be nice and courteous to others. What’s interesting is the “Love your neighbor as you do yourself” passage. I’m usually kinder towards others than I am of myself.

I have a lot of self-loathing and self-doubt. I’m a military vet and I’m given medicine and social workers to work with (I was actually discharged from a mental health facility about a couple weeks ago) but medicine doesn’t seem to work and a social worker I see I believe is at the end of his rope towards what he can do for me. I have used the phrase “I want a new body” or “I want a new brain” quite a few times.


#4

Thank you for sharing more about yourself. You certainly have many challenges.
Your military service is evidence of much personal sacrifice, and of experiences only you and God truly know.
My own nephew seved as an Australian combat engineer, whose task was to detect and disarm improvised explosive devices and he was profoundly affected by the loss of several members of his regiment due to action by a rogue supposedly ‘friendly’ soldier. My understanding of what you may have endured is only secondary, but no one can underestimate the effect your experiences had on you.

Major depression is also a condition where no one but God can really hear the inner scream and pain, and my husband has been plagued by that, so again, my experience is secondary.

It is difficult to avoid anger at times, we are only human … and God alone sees what you overcome to show kindness to others when you yourself are struggling.

It’s good you seek whatever help you can, as while what we suffer can’t actually be seen or understood by others in general, God knows the effort and intentions you make.
You try, and continue to try. That is true heroism, to keep trying even where you feel you don’t make much progress.

In Isaiah 53 we see the Lord broken, and bearing pain and sorrow on behalf of sinners, that they may be saved. Part of your life task to join with Him in this?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

“The souls that are most dear to my Father” Jesus said to Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila) “are those He tries the most, and the greatness of their trials is the measure of His love.”

God bless you


#5

I suppose we all have our own ways of being Catholic but I moved on from self loathing. I needed to feel self loathing about myself to begin the need for change but with Gods help I started to change from the self harming that self loathing represents towards a more balanced view of myself. I had a very strong feeling that God wanted me well not self loathing. So I developed a view that I am only of any worth that God can see in me, not me, since I am not capable of knowing myself to that degree. My opinion of myself is not necessary, I am only as He sees me, as are everyone else. My thoughts about others value are equally invalid, they too are judged by Him not me. Our effort might be better used by seeking to improve, developing a sense of love for God and love for neighbour, humility yes, without God we are nothing.
Only God can see if I have value or not, I now have the feeling that He does see that I have a value and I too now understand that if I strive to develop spiritually in the proscribed ways found within scripture and the Catholic Church He might save me. I have the opportunity, as we all do including you, to reach heaven.

This is how it has been for me, perhaps something here may help you too.


#6

the tendency to self loathe that you mention … it’s a hard thing to overcome.

In my own struggle to do that, inevitably I put together words to help me, so I’m sharing the words, I guess, even though I’m easily shot down in flames by my own reaction to my mistakes or failures etc.

‘Love others…as yourself’

Jesus when You command us to love others as ourselves, You require something more challenging than simply to “love others. ” The embedded touchstone in that command is “love your self.” Help us therefore not to be uncharitable to ourselves.

Many people lack proper self-esteem, making it difficult for them to genuinely value others. However, Scripture exhorts, “value yourself at your proper worth. Who can justify a man who runs himself down, or respect a man who despises himself.” [Ecclesiasticus 10:28-29] If we do fail to love ourselves correctly, we cannot accept God’s love. Let us never imagine ourselves hidden from Your mercy : ‘“Can anyone hide in a dark corner without my seeing him?’ asks the Lord.” [Jeremiah 23-24]

The concept of rightly loving oneself in order to love others as God’s precious children may be confused with the selfishness that ruins unselfish self-love. It requires us to reject negative self-talk and responses. “If a man is mean to himself, to whom will he be good?” [Ecclesiasticus 14:5].

Growth in Christian self-love is facilitated by “filling your mind with everything that is true, everything that is noble, and everything that is pure and good” [Philippians 4:8] and serving “in works of love.” It is allowing the Spirit to direct your life and then “you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence. What the Spirit brings is…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.” [Galatians 5:13, 16, 26, 22-23]

Jesus, help us to fittingly love ourselves. You do not wish us to disparage ourselves but to see ourselves as loved, forgiven children of God. A poor self-image may compare to our perception of ‘clouds’. To observers, clouds appear to be impressive, substantial and tangible. However, within themselves the clouds seem damp, insubstantial and misty.

Jesus, let us not belittle ourselves in comparison to others because of our personal uncertainties and inadequacies. Let us live in sincere acceptance of self, that unique gift of Your creative love. help us to see ourselves as loved children of God. Jesus, help me to know that You really love me so that I can love You and love others truly.

Our value is in You alone.


#7

Another effort was this … and I don’t feel I make a lot of progress either, but

Confidence in God’s merciful love

Our God, we praise and thank You who loves each person into existence. I thank You for loving us, loving me.

Our God, You command that I forgive and rightly cherish myself. Like many people in human history, I often find it difficult to sincerely and consistently love the ‘self’ that I find mirrored in my consciousness. I know that You can bring me to appreciate the miracle and privilege of my existence!

How can I refuse to love what God loves! You treasure me, as You love and treasure each unique, human person that You create. Yet I need much grace to love this betrayer of my true being and purpose, myself! I betray Your loving creation of me by failing to be fully ‘the person I am created to be’ , and by failing in gratitude for the gift of myself.

You love each person so much that it led to the incarnation of Your divine Son, and to His redemption of humankind. Jesus is Your response to my betrayal of my destiny and me. Yet frequently I am unconvinced or indifferent before these astounding gifts of divine love for me and for every person!

Please give me grace to value each person, and my own life, as Your beloved and eternal gift. Inspire me with faith and gratitude for the gift of myself, for the lives of dear ones and of all people. Grant that these human gifts are shaped by Your love to become everlasting gifts to You, and through You, eternal gifts to each other person.

Through Jesus, You taught us that cheerful, loving mutual service of others leads to fulfilment of Your creative will. Therefore, give me grace to faithfully say ‘yes’ to Your loving purpose by active respect and charity to others and me. Delight Yourself in me by forming me into the unselfish, joyful, helpful and prayerful person You dreamed me to be for You and for the sake of others’ souls for time and eternity. 1999


#8

However Saint Therese said someting that puts our efforts in perspective, despite whatever challenges we have within ourselves, in our lives, and the effects of others upon us, as we strive to live God’s purpose:

Saint Therese of Lisieux encourages us in our attempts towards holiness in our vocation to love and serve. Of her own response to the call, she wrote,
“This desire could certainly appear daring if one were to consider how weak and imperfect I was, and how after seven years in the religious life, I am still weak and imperfect. I always feel, however, the same bold confidence of becoming a great saint because I do not count on my own merits since I have none, but I trust in God who is Virtue and Holiness. God alone, content with my weak efforts, will raise me to Himself and make me a saint, clothing me in His infinite merits. I didn’t think then that one had to suffer very much to reach sanctity, but God was not long in showing me this was so and in sending me the trials I have already mentioned.” Therese remarked that such holiness may “not be evident to the eyes of mortals.”

“If you feel too lazy to pick up a bit of thread, and yet do so for love of Jesus, you acquire more merit than for a much nobler action done in a moment of fervour. Instead of grieving, be glad that, by allowing you to feel your own weakness, our Lord is furnishing you with an opportunity of saving a greater number of souls.” (Saint Therese of Lisieux)

In response to a novice who was discouraged by her faults, Therese said , “You make me think of a little child that is learning to stand but does not know how to walk. In his desire to reach to top of the stairs to find his mother, he lifts his little foot to climb the first step. It is all in vain, and at each renewed effort he falls.” “Well, be like that little child. Always keep lifting your foot to climb the ladder of holiness, and do not imagine that you can mount even the first step. All God asks of you is good will. From the top of the ladder, He looks lovingly upon you, and soon, touched by your fruitful efforts, He will Himself come down, and taking you in His arms, will carry you to His Kingdom never again to leave Him. But should you cease to raise your foot, you will be left for long on the earth.”

A priest once said to me, "your better than you think you are. " well, I don’t believe that really, never did. But perhaps the Lord might say that to you. Everything costs you so muc, and when it costs you, perhaps it’s like the poor coins the woman gave, all she had, but God prize it above the much that many others more easily gave
[Mark 12:41, 43]
As Jesus was sitting opposite the treasury, He watched the crowd placing money into it. And many rich people put in large amounts.
Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more than all the others into the treasury.

I, for one, respect you, taking into account all you shared. God bless you now and always


#9

It sounds as if you may have some scrupulosity. Speak to your priest, he will help you.


#10

I think I need to start reading up on Saint Therese and all the other saints that people are talking about. I pray to some saints every now and then but I actually haven’t taken the time to read up on them and their accomplishments yet. Its not something that I think about (in fact I actually can not remember the last time I thought about it).


#11

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