Thirsting for God: Can it backfire?

Brothers and Sisters,

A little while ago I was watching EWTN and the subject of thirsting for God came up. The presenter rightly stated that it is necessary to nuture a thirst for God to move beyond the complacency of being satisfied with simply being a “good” Catholic (doing the things that a Catholic is supposed to do by rote, I guess). It occured to me that perhaps something like this may be at the root of my own spiritual problems of recent times. I have visited monasteries, participated in the Divine Liturgies in the Eastern Catholic Churches, and spent a lot of time praying and really wondering about where I am and where God may be leading me.

Being rather cautious by nature, I am very slow to accept any sort of radical change in my situation simply because of my own feelings of anguish, which I don’t trust to begin with (remembering Jeremiah’s warning about the heart in 17:19). It has been suggested to me by some here and elsewhere that this is my “dark night of the soul” as described by St. John of the Cross. I think that might be a bit much, but I do recognize that there is a sense of isolation involved in this whole experience that is probably not so much unlike that of a true ascetic, as opposed to a whiny guy on the internet.

My question is: If so much disquiet is the result of a true thirsting for God, can such a thirst “backfire” if/when it draws a person away from those things involved in being a “good” Catholic (or Orthodox, Protestant, etc.)? Or is it a sign that this thirst is not of God at all? I’ve spent many hours in prayer and in conversation with priests, and honestly I don’t know what more to do. It seems paradoxical to me that we are to thirst for more while being content with less, and I can’t think of a better or less blunt way to describe the dichotomy of being among monks on the one hand and being at the local N.O. mass on the other. (And this thread is NOT meant to be about the relative reverence or appropriateness of the various forms of the Mass; this is just the most obvious example of this discrepancy that I can think of.)

Someone (here, perhaps) once wrote something about the issue of struggling to be the Church within the Church. If one is struggling in a similar fashion to respond to a deep longing for God, is it right to follow it even to places not accepted within their religious tradition?

I may misunderstand your post or I could be wrong about this. ‘Thirsting for God’ in my understanding is where one experience a situation in one’s state of spiritual life the strong desire to experience and to know God. This experience usually happens in our initial knowing of the faith. The belief in implanted in our mind and we feel strongly want to fulfill this needs, like, is it for real? What is this all about? I am drawn to the Lord or his word. So our searching and feeling of being drawn to God lead us to follow any activities that we think will serve this purpose. It is not about difficulty in believing or unbelief.

That is why after we go through this stage and our desire is met we will plunge into a stage of complacency. That state of feeling high for God or ‘on fire’ will only last to certain extent after which once our needs have been explored and met, then the novelty simply fades away. I agree with the person if he said we must nurture our thirst for God for it leads us into action into searching and wanting to experience Him which is not always there in an everyday Christian’s life.

Correct me if I am wrong, in your case you seem to be already on the second stage – the reality of a spiritual person. You believe but found out that God is quite distant. Yes, like St. John or Mother Teresa’s Dark Night of the Soul. I would be quite happy if I am in your shoes because now I only have to nurture my thirst. The bottom line is I persevere and continue to practice my faith, prayers, service and involvement in the community. Once a while, the Holy Spirit will simply just zap you with His grace and your fire will rekindle once again. This kind of cycle is a process.

Again, I not sure whether I get you right and if not, please ignore this post.

God bless you. :slight_smile:

Would your heavenly Father who is all good and loves you to His core give you a snake if you ask for a fish?

Yes, and why not? :slight_smile:

Among all things the Holy Spirit is specifically mentioned that the Father will give if we ask for it. Lk 11:13. And Him being the fountain of water from the well that never runs dry … Well, how beautiful.

Would you give your child poison to drink?

Heeeey, I know that Bible verse :slight_smile:

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