Trying to hold onto my faith


#1

Hello everyone,

I have been on CA for over six months now, I think. I am seventeen and have been Catholic my entire life (I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in October as a matter of fact).

Unfortunately, over the past month or so, I have been losing my faith entirely. I have been doubting Jesus’ presence in my life because the past 6-7 months have been extremely difficult for me due to depression and an addiction to an OTC drug. I feel so much anger towards God because I wonder why he wasn’t there when I was really down and/or when I was taking the drug.

Last year, I was really happy to be Catholic. I attended Mass every Sunday and was really moved by the liturgy. The more I learned about the Catholic Church, I became more proud to call myself a Catholic. I remember one assignment in my Confirmation class where I had to research a number of Catholic relief organizations. I was blown away by the work the Church has done over the decades. All of this has suddenly come to a halt over the past few months. I still attend Mass with my parents, but have stopped praying entirely. If anything, Mass bores me and I wonder where my praying will lead me to.

I think there is a strong part of me that wants to continue to follow our faith. I’m sure there is, otherwise, I would not be worried like I am now and be seeking some advice on here. Does anyone (esp. those who have been in a similar situation) have any advice for me on how to strengthen my faith, especially during this Lenten season? I just really want to feel God’s presence in my life, because I have not felt that for quite a long time. I hope I make some sense! Thanks in advance.


#2

Hi…I’m sorry that you’re having difficulties. That’s sad

We are body and soul, and what affects our body and brain will also affect our ways of thinking and feeling.

We can’t blame God for the choices we make, like taking drugs. And drugs can alter mood and brain chemical balance, so you chose a behaviour that has consequences in mood and mental states.

God gave you free will, and there are plenty of warnings out there that even so-called safer recreation drugs can cause recurring or longterm problems. We have to take responsibility for our own choices. We can’t blame God for them. If your mood and attitude is altered, that’s something you opened yourself to, damaging the fine balance within you…please God the effect will lessen with time, before deep harm is done to your attitudes and beliefs.

Just going through the motions but not talking to God, is not going to help you re-establish relationship to God. If you never or seldom talk to someone of listen to someone, you cant stay friends with them. When something alters within us, even if its the disturbance to chemical balance within our brains due to trauma or stress, (or drugs) it can be difficult to recapture the relationshp we previously had with ourselves, others, and with God. It’s as though we have to search harder for God, or to seek Him more according to who He actually is, rather than the God we emotionally accepted previously.

I know that it’s painful to accept the loss of our previous relationship with God and our faith, and to have to work for that appreciation of God that previously came naturally. I’ve had enough grief and trauma to burn away my original easy response to God.

Even if you no longer feel joy and gratitude for God and the Church, continue to give thanks to God for what is you observe as good in the Church and around you in other people.

The truth of the matter is, even if we don’t betray ourselves by taking drugs, all those other stressors that alter brain chemistry, fear, distress, sorrow, loss… in the end make all of us have to face the loss of original faith and fervour and have to trust God to lead us to something deeper in faith and understanding. I hope that you will have the trust and patience to allow Him to lead you.

God bless you,
Trishie

“As by your will you first strayed away from God, so now turn back and search for Him ten times as hard…so will He rescue you and give you eternal joy.” [Baruch 4:21, 4:28]


#3

Hi sushierror,
Please don’t doubt that Jesus is with you. Try to remember how close you felt to Him and his Church last year and what made that connection so strong for you. He never left you - you were drawn away from him by depression and addiction, 2 powerful tools of Satan.
For the lenten season I would spend time meditating on Jesus’ passion. This he did for us all so we are able to spend eternity with him. What an incredible love that is, to suffer so greatly for us damaged, weakened people. Remember that Jesus told Thomas, blessed are those who believe yet do not see. That is the essence of faith. Our great Church will not steer you wrong, believe in the teachings, pray to our God, use the Sacraments of Confession and Communion, and your faith and love in God will grow.


#4

Sushierror-
Many times in our lives we lose sight of the love that is right in front of us. I also have struggled with addiction and felt completely alone. But looking back I realize that Jesus was there the whole time. He is there with you too, even when you can’t see or feel him. When we give ourselves to addiction we seperate ourselves from our Lord. That’s where that lonely feeling comes from. It’s a brutal tool of the devil that creates a cycle. Even if you just spend a minute or two a day in prayer it will begin to repair that relationship with Jesus. Even when you feel like the only things that hear your prayers are the walls around. Pray any way. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or profound. Just be honest like you’re talking to a friend. Jesus is right there with you and he will hear.

God Bless


#5

You may also remember the song “Footprints on the Sand”.

During the saddest moment of our life, when we see no other set of footprints on the sand, it was then He carried us.


#6

Every once in a while people have periods of doubt. The past few months, I was having trouble with my faith during my first semester in college. Ironically, I was also talking more about my faith, and I was also more involved with my faith life than ever before. Still, this did nothing to encourage my faith.

It wasn’t until I realized that I was only communicating with others, and not with God that I started to regain my faith.
So, some suggestions that I would have:

Prayer–DO IT. Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to communicate directly to God?

Confession–Going to confession often helps me take a step back and realize what I’m doing that has wronged God.

If possible, try to find a retreat to go on. Sometimes its nice to take a break from everyday life and just be focused on your relationship with God.

Finally, if you have someone you can trust, ask them to hold you accountable for your actions and to help you figure out what exactly is going on in terms of your doubt. * Remember that everyone has doubts–they’re just an obstacle that we need to overcome in our faith journey.

I hope this helps!*


#7

Always remember that Jesus is real and he loves you!. He became a man and suffered and died for us!

We all struggle, read about the Saints and their dark nights of the soul, as St John of the Cross called it.

If prayer is difficult, use something audio or visual that helps bring Christ’s love and humanity into focus.

Lately I have watched the crucifixion scene from the Passion of the Christ on Youtube while I pray. That may be a bit extreme, so you may look for something more uplifting.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

Mark


#8

I daresay part of the way to help is to realize that he is with you the entire time you are in trouble. It seems like the only time he is near sometimes…


#9

Hi, Your post makes perfect sense to me esp. at this time when I find myself climbing out of a serious rut. I’ve lived through deaths in the family, cancer, a fatal auto accident and even weaned myself off painkillers.

Last year as my faith and strength was at its greatest, I was a godfather to my nephew when just after the event an inlaw told me what they thought of me. They used a few choice words. This hurt me and I started to ask myself what am I doing this for. That even though I am trying to lead my family to the Lord, I would never be able to strip off my past and lead by example. I started to relive all the bad things in my life and a growing resentment surfaced. That led to sin and I stopped going to Mass. I would be up at night crying because of the seperation I had with the Lord. He would still do little things to keep Him on my mind, but I needed reconciliation. Thanks to our understanding parish priest, I went to confession and Mass on Ash Wednesday. It was a tough first step, but once done it proved to be easy. I even got a kiss on the cheek from a nice lady at church.

Continue to go to Mass. Pray in short bursts without ceasing if prayer is difficult. Remember the Lord in the tabernacle or the monstrance. He is often alone. Look for the lesson He is trying to teach you in your life. Remember this Lent His forty days in the desert. What He went through before He took up His cross. He understands. I’ll pray for the spirit of fortitude to fill you. Tim


#10

JMJ / MMM 090304 Wednesday
Warm Greetings sushi error –
You have written >
“Over the past month or so, I have been losing my faith entirely. I have been doubting Jesus’ presence in my life because the past 6-7 months have been extremely difficult for me due to depression and an addiction to an OTC drug. I feel so much anger towards God because I wonder why he wasn’t there when I was really down and/or when I was taking the drug. … I still attend Mass with my parents, but have stopped praying entirely. If anything, Mass bores me.”

Your gift of faith is a very precious treasure and deserves the greatest of care. Depression is a terrible burden and I have deep sympathy for you. You feel anger toward God. Tell God that. God wants to hear it from you. “I would you were hot or cold [you are angry, hot] … but since you are lukewarm [you are not] I will begin to vomit you out of my mouth.“ Revelations. Thank God you are not lukewarm!

God WAS there all through what you were suffering … just as the Father was present with Jesus all through his agony in the Garden and his crucifixion and death. You also are a son of God … and God will not handle you differently. Sometimes God Wills for us pleasant and agreeable things … and sometimes not. Whatever God permits it is meant for our good. Can’t see that? Neither can I. I believe it with all my soul by faith and trust.

Jesus is True God and true man … and Jesus is our supreme model. Jesus is the Way. We are to follow him. In the Way in which God has me walking, following, I noticed several years ago that the footsteps in front of me were getting a little bloody. Well, there has been much blood since then and I have and am still having very much emotional pain and, off and on, great depression. But I know what God is doing to me and with me and in me. God’s Fire of Love is burning out of me much of my separate self, my spiritually sick self.

God is right. God is Loving me. It’s as if I had third degree burns and God’s hand touching me in profound Love, is excruciatingly painful. (Read the poem The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson.)

Let your prayer be, “Lord, I believe … help my unbelief.” Don’t be concerned about the length of your prayer or the amount of time you spend praying … but beg Jesus in his Name for great strengthening of your faith.

As we are told in the book of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus, “He who comes to the service of the Lord must expect trials.” (Chap 2, I think.)

Do all you can to preserve and strengthen your precious gift of faith. View the movie The Passion, and think that God Almighty – moved only by Infinite Love for you – took forever a real human nature and went through what happened to SHOW you, to DEMONSTRATE to you how very much he, GOD, Loves you.
I pray for you … you pray for me.
John (JohnJFarren) Trinity5635@aol.com


#11

I am sorry to here about the problems your facing, :confused:
but do not worry God has gotten you this far and he is not going to let you down now.I know a little bit about how your feeling i was once where you were suffering from depression and questioning my faith, but when your suffering from depression, you arnt thinking rationaly and thats when you begin to question your faith and God, but you know what God knows that your in pain he knows what your going through he also knows the state of mind that your in, and he loves you and he would never abandon you. Right now as you are going through these times of trials and suffering, God is with you and in time your going to look back at this part of your life and realize that he never left you, but he carried you, and brought you back and has lifted you and set you in his loving arms forever.

I pray for you my fellow christian do not worry, your life is in safe an secure hands with the lord. May God bless you and make his face shine upon you. :signofcross:


#12

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