During this last week I have had no peace. Prayer usually makes me feel so overwhelmingly happy and peaceful, but there is a deep sadness at the bottom of my heart that will not leave. I had been slowly crawling nearer to the Lord, trying to clear away the tangled thorns of sin and vice to reach Him, and, suddenly, just when I can see Him there in the distance, night falls, and I can see nothing; I am lost and alone. I call out to Him, but there is no reply. I know He is there, but He is silent and I am blind. Prayer does almost nothing to fill the empty hopelessness I feel. Even the Mass is now empty and meaningless for me. I call out to the Lord, begging him to forgive me, though I have not since my last confession committed any mortal sin and anyway I do not feel that this is a punishment for my sins. I try to do what is right, but I find myself relapsing into old bad habits: anger, impatience, cruelty. I hate myself for sinning against Him in this way. I have begged Him for death, so that I might not longer be separated from Him. I know that this trial will pass, for I have felt this despair before, and always it had left me eventually. I can only continue to pray and to increase self-denial bodily penance. Please pray for me. I trust that Our Lord Jesus will turn this pain to joy when it is His will to do so. Pray that I might be strengthened.
‘When consolation is taken away, do not at once despair but wait humbly and patiently for the
heavenly visit, since God can restore to you more abundant solace.
This is neither new nor strange to one who knows God’s ways, for such change of fortune often
visited the great saints and prophets of old. Thus there was one who, when grace was with him,
declared: “In my prosperity I said: ‘I shall never be moved.’” But when grace was taken away, he
adds what he experienced in himself: “Thou didst hide Thy face, and I was troubled.” Meanwhile
he does not despair; rather he prays more earnestly to the Lord, saying: “To Thee, O Lord, will I
cry; and I will make supplication to my God.” At length, he receives the fruit of his prayer, and
testifying that he was heard, says “The Lord hath heard, and hath had mercy on me: the Lord became
my helper.’ - The Imitation of Christ
I’m concerned that you’re begging for death, dear one.
Please, if you feel like you’re going to hurt yourself or anybody else, please call the suicide help line
I would never consider suicide.
Very glad—sometimes it’s hard to read tone on the internet.
I do know that our powers of perception are extremely limited when it comes to spiritual things. Sometimes we have sensible consolations, and sometimes we feel the full weight of the cross and other times we feel a big fat nothing.
Our minds know that He is equally present and loves us every bit as much regardless of our feelings, but it’s still painful and a trial.
I’m praying to uplift you during this time.
I fully understand your situation.
Have you considered seeking professional help? You may be suffering from severe depression. It’s very treatable with the proper medications. Give it some consideration. You’ll be glad you did!
without the Passion there would have been no Ressurection, the light that never dims.
A metaphor, not to be taken literally, I’m talking about Easter and rebirth. Spring. Autumn leaves falling, a period of hibernation not death and finally the return of new buds and fresh growth.
I too would recommend that you seek some help, perhaps both mental health and spiritual counsel.
When you are feeling bad, increasing bodily self-denial is not a great way to get back to feeling better. I’m not saying go wild and indulge, but feeling badly may be a signal that your body needs more of a certain nutrient or activity (like better sleep), not more penance or denial. Some spiritual counsel might give you guidance in drawing the line.
It is passing. It always does eventually. Has what I described ever happened to any of you?
This happened to me during my adult formation. Praying the rosary every morning in front of an image of Our Lady helped me to focus on Jesus and allow him to enter into my life and pick me up.
When I get that way I do some strethes ( I wont say yoga). But stretches seem to engage the body, release tension and help me feel relaxed, at ease…at least a physical peace. From there it is just a small step to grateful prayer.
I’ve had some times when I felt spiritually far from the Lord or emotionally angry/ anxious despite my attempts to do right, but I never hated myself or begged for death or responded by punishing myself more.
It’s important to me that I do my penance in a balanced way focusing on offering up something for the Lord, and not as a way of beating on myself or punishing myself. Many years ago I would slap myself or cut myself and I view that kind of hatred of self as immature and insulting to God.
I don’t want to encourage self pride but I get the impression that isn’t a problem you’ll have, so I’d just say that I admire your honesty and example you set by your post. And I am trying to constantly remind myself to seek the approval of God not people so please don’t misunderstand my intentions.
I am not comfortable with mortification myself, I have read of it in the lives of some Saints and it doesn’t sit right with me…plus it hurts!
It’s not easy to maintain passion in prayer consistently every day but that’s a big ask and we are affected by our physiology after all.
If bad things happen in this world it is so we can miss God and going back to Him.
He said"for I am a jealous God". Somewhere in the OT.
Feeling empty? Better than feeling satisfied. Because there is nothing here that can fill us fully except the sorrow, regret, longing and remorse.
I don’t want to be prideful either and it may be a problem I sometimes have, but taking the extreme reaction of self-hate is kind of like pride turned inside out, to me. For someone else, it may be a psychological condition needing help. There is a scene in Saul Bellow’s “Adventures of Augie March” (the only scene I remember from that book, which I read for a high school English class) where some guy’s mistress keeps threatening suicide to get attention and the guy is concerned about her. His friend or relative says she is just faking it and the guy says yes, but people will “talk themselves into something” eventually, “they get carried away”.
I am a big fan of cognitive behavioral self-help therapy (Dr. David Burns’ “Feeling Good” book helped me totally change my life decades ago) and part of it is removing unhelpful or destructive thoughts from your thinking patterns and replacing them with helpful, constructive thoughts, every day. So self-hatred to me is a destructive thought that could lead to harm. Perhaps someone else finds it useful to think that way to make them defeat pride.
Happy birthday, Seagull!
Interesting about CBT.
You made me think of self hate and how that is reconciled with
Mark 12:31 “ love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Maybe not so easy to love thy neighbour as thyself if you have self hate?
As is often repeated by us Catholics, we are all sinners, and we can hate those sins but then put our energies into seeking to prevent repeating them rather than hating ourselves I think.
You misunderstood me. I am doing nothing extreme to myself. By “self-denial” I meant fasting (ex eating no breakfast, or eating only dinner, etc) or things such as cold showers or sleeping on the floor instead of in my bed. I do not harm myself at all. By “hate myself” I meant that I am angry at myself. That was poor word choice on my part.
You would know why I asked the Lord to take me if you understood how this feels. It’s utter loneliness. It is separation from God. I know he is watching me and that he loves me still, yet I do not feel that love. It is, as the title of this thread says, as if the light has gone out. It strongly reminds me of two things: 1) without God’s grace, we are nothing, and 2) the world can never really give us happiness. Death unites us with God. One must first die to reach heaven. That is why I ask God, during the darkness, to bring me into His presence, so that I might no longer suffer separation from Him. Prayer brings me no comfort during these times. Rather, when I pray in the darkness, it is a prayer of faith. I trust in God’s infinite mercy and goodness and wisdom, that he might deliver me when He chooses.
As I said before, the trial passes, but the knowledge that it will pass does not make it easier to bear.