You know, Epistemes, about some of the things such as feeling guilt as a Christian while feeling “freedom” from that as a non-Christian, I think it’s worthwhile to note that Jesus said, “Pick up your cross and follow me.” Non-Christians often don’t pick up their crosses in the same way. That’s why the cross earlier seemed lighter! You weren’t carrying it!
Not that things need remain this way forever. There is enormous joy and peace in Christianity. Perhaps reading from the writings of the mystics, or talking with mystics in your own church (contacting them through your priest) may show you ways to experience that more?
Another very important thing to remember when feeling this guilt is that the Devil is the great accuser of all Christians. Not God.
If you are struggling to follow Christ, and are going to Confession and seeking to do His will, you have no reason to feel guilt. At all. Period.
God has saved you from sin. You have no sin left on you. So there is no reason for you to feel any guilt. But the Devil wants us to think the other way.
Not only is this Scriptural, but I have some personal experience with this. Once, I gave a message to a youth group at a church, and I thought I’d done very well. However, the group had gotten the wrong impression from my words and thought that I was condemning them. One of the girls was reduced to tears. Several were hurt. I didn’t know this, at the time.
Not long afterward, my fellow leaders of the youth group told me what the reactions had been, and I was devastated. I prayed to God for forgiveness, but no matter how I prayed, I felt absolutely horrible. I prepared a message for the next Wednesday and my mother told me to scrap it, because it was all about reassuring the group and alleviating my own guilt- they needed a real message.
I was entirely oppressed by guilt, consumed with it, and finally my Mom pointed out that the Devil is the accuser of God’s people. So I prayed to the Lord for deliverance from evil spirits and accusations. When that happened, my feeling of guilt was alleviated and the nasty encounter receeded. I was then able to get on with doing what God wanted me to do. I’m afraid I was still badly emotionally scarred by the experience and never really recovered from it until I Confessed it in my first Confession, when I became Catholic.
But Satan will take whatever opportunity he can to accuse us. He will attack in that way. So feelings of guilt, if you’ve Confessed any sins and are striving to follow God appropriately, are not from God and have no right to exist in your life. Reject them. You do not have to feel them.
Unlike guilt, what is from God is your current defiant struggle against sin! That is praiseworthy in Heaven and reveals your character, your passion for Christ.
Loneliness is a very hard one. I experience large bouts of that from time to time, because I’m surrounded incessantly by liberals, secularists and Protestants, not Catholics. So the absence of fellow Catholics hurts and the loneliness hurts, sometimes badly.
I agree about the lack of dating opportunities for people in that condition :D. I pray about that. But I just trust the Lord to looking after arranging my future marriage, and making sure that I somehow encounter the right woman :).
We just have to tough this out for our dear Lord. That’s how I react. That’s what I will do for my Lord. Loneliness will not defeat me.
I also feel this brings me closer to Christ, because he too endured isolation.
Your other complaint seemed to be about how enjoyable sin was :). Rough 'n tough . . . I’m afraid you’ll just have to fight those temptations, as we all do. I find porn very, very fun, stimulating and exciting, but I fight it, try not to look at it, and that is painful and miserable. I’ve also had those dreams you talk about, and resisting them is painful and miserable. If I find porn fun, how much more is the full dose of that immorality likely to be? So I fully accept your statement that sin is pleasant.
Something we can receive, in exchange, is the joy that come from Jesus Christ. I focus on entering more into that, as I believe the relationship with God to be a far greater delight than all earthly pleasures. We can all come to experience it in that way. Praying for more intimacy, for more closeness, is something I do every day, often several times a day. And God is faithful to answer these prayers.
I find one of the greatest ways to enjoy God is to thank Him for all the great things he has done for me. That, for me, is a doorway into joy. I thank Him as often as I think of it for as much as I can think of, in the immediate, that I have to be thankful for. That quickens joy for me in a wonderful way. The more I practice it, the more I have. It’s so simple, this activity, and yet such a blessing.
I’m sure the mystics had a lot more to say about how to come into this joy from Christ. I experience a great deal of it and it fulfills me. Knowing God is a million times better than the stupid porn I fight against. The more intimate we get with God, the better it gets, though gaining that intimacy doesn’t happen all at once, usually, and it takes years to develop and nurture. Years with a lot of pleasant episodes in the way, or a lot of hard ones, depending on whether we’re being tested or called to walk through the meadows of God’s peace.