What if God's grace is no longer enough?


#1

As I've said before on another thread, converting to Christianity seems to get harder and harder for me.

I'm not an old man, but I've lived enough for some skeletons to accumulate in my closet...

So, yesterday, I suddenly remembered a thing from my past. What seemed right at the time is, in light of my more recent moral ideas, and in light of the Church's teachings, a mortal sin.

I won't go into details, it's enough to say that I'm talking about something very serious.

Ever since that thing has come back to me, I feel awful - no, awful is too tame a word. I've been praying to the Blessed Virgin, and for the first time, I haven't asked for forgiveness, because I feel I don't deserve forgiveness, and I feel that there can be no forgiveness - I just said "I'm sorry".

I feel that I won't be able to forgive myself. Ever.

What good is that God is all loving and is willing to forgive all ? What good is that Jesus died for me ? The harm is done, and I feel that no amount of love and forgiveness will make it go away. I feel it wouldn't be right to forgive.

Please, pray for me, so that I can somehow get over this, not for my sake, but for those around me, who need me as a father, husband and son.


#2

Don't give into the sin of despair. There is no sin that is greater than God's mercy. Remember Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. He knew you would fall, but by the cross and Resurrection, He has brought you the means of redemption.

I will pray for you. I hope you will take a moment to read this:

I Thirst For You


#3

. . .and this:

Conversation of the Merciful God with a Despairing Soul. (From Divine Mercy In My Soul: The Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska)

Jesus: O soul steeped in darkness, do not despair. All is not yet lost. Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy.

But the soul, deaf even to this appeal, wraps itself in darkness.

Jesus calls out again: My child, listen to the voice of your merciful Father.

In the soul arises this reply, "For me there is no mercy," and it falls into greater darkness, a despair which is a foretaste of hell and makes it unable to draw near to God.

Jesus calls to the souls a third time, but the soul remains deaf and blind, hardened and despairing. Then the mercy of God begins to exert itself, and, without any co-operation from the soul, God grants it final grace. If this too is spurned, God will leave the soul in this self chosen disposition for eternity. This grace emerges from the merciful Heart of Jesus and gives the soul a special light by means of which the soul begins to understand God's effort; but conversion depends on its own will. The soul knows that this, for her, is final grace and, should it show even a flicker of good will, the mercy of God will accomplish the rest.

My omnipotent mercy is active here. Happy the soul that takes advantage of this grace.

Jesus: What joy fills My Heart when you return to Me. Because you are weak, I take you in My arms and carry you to the home of My Father.

Soul: (as if awakening, asks fearfully): Is it possible that there is yet mercy for me?

Jesus: There is, My child. You have a special claim on My mercy. Let it act in your poor soul; let the rays of grace enter your soul; they bring with them light, warmth, and life.

Soul: But fear fills me at the thought of my sins, and this terrible fear moves me to doubt Your goodness.

Jesus: My child, all your sins have not wounded My Heart as painfully as your present lack of trust does - that after so many efforts of My love and mercy, you should still doubt My goodness.

Soul: O Lord, save me yourself, for I perish. Be my Savior. O Lord, I am unable to say anything more; my pitiful heart is torn asunder; but You, O Lord...

Jesus does not let the soul finish but, raising it from the ground, from the depths of its misery, he leads it into the recesses of His Heart where all its sins disappear instantly, consumed by the flames of love.

Jesus: Here, soul, are all the treasures of My Heart. Take everything you need from it.

Soul: O Lord, I am inundated with Your grace. I sense that a new life has entered into me and, above all, I feel Your love in my heart. That is enough for me. O Lord, I will glorify the omnipotence of Your mercy for all eternity. Encouraged by Your goodness, I will confide to You all the sorrows of my heart.

Jesus: Tell Me all, My child, hide nothing from Me because My loving Heart, the Heart of Your Best Friend is listening to you.

Soul: O Lord, now I see all my ingratitude and Your goodness. You were pursuing me with Your grace, while I was frustrating Your benevolence. I see that I deserve the depths of hell for spurning Your graces.

Jesus (interrupting): Do not be absorbed in your misery - you are still too weak to speak of it - but, rather, gaze on My Heart filled with goodness, and be imbued with My sentiments. Strive for meekness and humility; be merciful to others, as I am to you; and, when you feel your strength failing, if you come to the fountain of mercy to fortify your soul, you will not grow weary on your journey.

Soul: Now I understand Your mercy, which protects me and like a brilliant star, leads me into the home of my Father, protecting me from all the horrors of hell that I have deserved, not once, but a thousand times. O Lord, eternity will hardly suffice for me to give due praise to Your unfathomable mercy and Your compassion for me.


#4

Dear Erethorn
First of all you have great sorrow for your sins which is excellent. There is nothing more pleasing to God than sorrow for ones sins, it means you won‘t do it again.

The problem with sin is not so much that God stops loving us but that we turn from God. In the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned they hid from God. God came looking for them but they turned from God.

It is true you cannot change what you have done. St Paul must have felt tremendous shame when he discovered he had been persecuting God’s Church. He turned the situation around, he could have given up but he didn’t. He went on to make amends for what he did. He did so much good for the Church.

If God is calling you to conversion, he is giving you a second chance.

Both Judas and Peter committed terrible sins before the crucifixion. Judas ended his own life, he was filled with remorse, he could have done so much good in the world. But he threw it all away. How many souls could he have converted if he returned to Jesus and asked for forgiveness.

Peter was also filled with remorse but he came back to Jesus, he went on and did wonderful things for the Church.

You may have done something bad in the past, you can’t change that but you can please God in the future you can make amends.


#5

Try reading about the Divine Mercy devotion. You can read St. Faustina's diary, "Divine Mercy in My Soul," online.

It may seem like humility or a sense of righteousness to be unable to forgive yourself or to feel that God cannot forgive you, but it is really a temptation to pride and to rejecting God's mercy. You need to fight the temptation. Regardless of how you feel, pray for forgiveness. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Also, pray Psalm 51.


#6

It all boils down to trust. Trust that God’s mercy is bigger than any sin we could ever have committed. Trust that God can always bring good out of evil. Trust that He loves you more than you can imagine. Trust that He can heal your heart if you allow Him to.

I read in your profile and in some of your earlier posts that you are drawn to Catholicism. I would encourage you to pursue this. I think what you need most is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is the channel of grace Christ gave us for healing. It gives us ASSURANCE of God’s forgiveness, forgiveness we can only hope for outside the Sacrament. And with this assurance of God’s forgiveness it becomes easier to begin to forgive ourselves. I know from personal experience (been there, done that), and while it may take some time to heal completely, the Sacrament of Reconciliation goes a long way to help in that healing process.

Please know that as you go through whatever journey it takes for complete reconciliation with God, the Church, and yourself, God is with you every step of the way, even if you do not feel His presence. May He bless you abundantly!


#7

Two great saints come to my mind.
St Paul and St Augustine.

St Paul was tracking down and arresting, for trial and execution, the believers of Christ. He was converted and forgiven.
St Augustine, was a “heathen” and a great sinner, even keeping a mistress etc. He converted and was forgiven.

I’m sure others here can provide examples of other great saints who were also great sinners before their call to Christ.

Another person who comes to mind is the man who attacked and murdered Maria Goretti. (Now St Maria Goretti.) His Story is here. Perhaps reading his story will help bring comfort.

There is no sin so great that God, in Loving Grace, cannot forgive.

Peace
James


#8

Don’t let the devil keep convicting you of things God’s mercy will forgive.


#9

[quote="MercyMia, post:8, topic:181485"]
Don't let the devil keep convicting you of things God's mercy will forgive.

[/quote]

Exactly.

The movie "The Exorcist" may sound like a strange place to draw inspiration from, but there's one line toward the end of the movie that often recurs to me. When Father Merrin (played by Max Von Sydow) and Father Karras are taking a break from the rite to regain their strength, Father Merrin explains that "the devil tries to make us believe that we are so horrible that even God could not love us." (Not sure if those are his exact words.) Remembering that line has often helped me.
.


#10

*A prayerful spiritual exercise in trusting God. . .
+
[size=]:signofcross:
Litany
of the
[size=]Divine Mercy[/size]
[/size]

:bible1:
"If we confess

our sins, HE is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all iniquity." **
I John 1:9**

. . . for this soul’s and his family’s every need Blessed Lord Jesus . . .

:bible1:
"Now the law [our schoolmaster] entered in,
that sin might abound.
And where sin abounded,
GRACE

did more abound." **
Romans 5:20
**

The Love of God Is The Flower - Mercy The Fruit.

Divine Mercy,
which flowed out from the open wound of the
Heart
:heart:
of
Jesus
**I trust in You. **

**Divine Mercy **. . . lifting us out of every misery . . . **I trust in You. **
**Divine Mercy **. . . source of our happiness and joy . . . I trust in You.
**Divine Mercy **. . . in calling us forth from nothingness to existence . . . **I trust in You. **
**Divine Mercy . . . embracing all the works of His hands . . . I trust in You. ****
Divine Mercy ** . . . crown of all of God’s handiwork . . . **I trust in You. **
**Divine Mercy ** . . . in which we are all immersed . . . I trust in You. **
Divine Mercy **. . . sweet relief for anguished hearts . . . **I trust in You. **
**Divine Mercy **. . . only hope of despairing souls . . . **I trust in You. ****
Divine Mercy **. . . repose of hearts, peace amidst fear . . . **I trust in You. ****
Divine Mercy ** . . . delight and ecstasy of holy souls . . . **I trust in You. ****
Divine Mercy **. . . inspiring hope against all hope . . . **I trust in You. **

**Eternal God, **
in whom
**mercy **
:heart:
is endless
and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible,
look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us,
that in difficult moments
we might not despair nor become despondent,
but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will,
which is
**Love **and **Mercy **
itself.
+
O incomprehensible and limitless
*Mercy Divine, **
:heart:
To extol and adore You worthily,
who can?
Supreme attribute of Almighty God,
You are the sweet hope for sinful man.
+

- from St. Faustina’s Diary

**Link: ** ewtn.com/Devotionals/Litanies/divine_mercy.htm

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Dear Lord+
***Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!***[/RIGHT]


#11

[quote="Erethorn, post:1, topic:181485"]
So, yesterday, I suddenly remembered a thing from my past. What seemed right at the time is, in light of my more recent moral ideas, and in light of the Church's teachings, a mortal sin.

[/quote]

Here's something to learn now and remember always. If what you did really did seem right at the time (being brutally honest and not just fooling yourself about it), then you are not guilty of mortal sin. Guilt and sin are not retroactive. If you do a bad thing thinking it's not sinful, it does not become sinful when you find out it is actually wrong. You did it innocently; it remains innocent. Now that you know it's sinful, if you do it again, it will be a sin for you, but without understanding, it is not.

This problem is common with new Catholics. It's not really as hard as you might think. God loves you, and He is totally reasonable.

Betsy


#12

I know how you feel :hug1:

that’s the part about God that we sometimes have trouble understanding. We expect some type of justice, and He just offers us mercy. Once our sins are forgiven, He remembers them no more. We might still have to deal with the effects of sin, and how we’ve hurt others around us by our sins. But the guilt itself is gone. When I went to my first Confession, I didn’t expect this but all my guilt completely faded after I walked out of the confessional. I just had this really deep knowledge, that I’m forgiven.

the only difference between St Peter and Judas is that Judas gave in to despair. St Peter asked for forgiveness and accepted forgiveness. And he became a great Apostle and the first Pope :slight_smile: it often takes humility to accept forgiveness from God… because it often does not make sense to us.

It makes little sense how God would be willing to become a Man and die so that those who hurt *Him *would be forgiven. It’s even more incredible that the death He had in mind is being murdered by His own creation, the creation that He was dying to save. It makes no sense because we dont understand love like this. This is the greatest love that’s possible… the only way we can accept it is by trusting in it.

God wants to forgive us even more than we want to be forgiven. Yes sin is horrible. If you are seeing it as horrible, that is good, that’s a grace from Him. :slight_smile: but He gives this grace to make us contrite, repentant… and He said, He never rejects a contrite heart. He created us for Himself, and His mercy is greater than all the sins of the world.


#13

I love the "Conversation with the Despairing Soul".. here's another similar one :)

*The Goodness of God. *
The mercy of God, hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, the voice of the Lord who speaks to us from the throne of mercy: Come to Me, all of you.
*
Conversation of the Merciful God with a Sinful Soul. *
Jesus: Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul. I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me. Child, do not run away from your Father; be willing to talk openly with Your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish his graces on you. How dear your soul is to Me! I have inscribed your name upon My hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.

Soul: Lord I hear Your voice calling me to turn back from the path of sin, but I have neither the strength nor the courage to do so.

Jesus: I am your strength, I will help you in the struggle.

Soul: Lord I recognize Your holiness and I fear You.

Jesus: My child, do you fear the God of mercy? My holiness does not prevent Me from being merciful. Behold. for you I have established a throne of mercy on earth - the tabernacle - and from this throne I desire to enter into your heart. I am not surrounded by a retinue of guards. You can come to Me at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and desire to grant you grace.

Soul: Lord, I doubt that You will pardon my numerous sins; my misery fills me with fright.

Jesus: My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire World. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed Myself to be nailed to the Cross; for you I let My Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.

Soul: You have conquered, O Lord, my stony heart with Your goodness. In trust and humility I approach the tribunal of Your mercy, where You yourself absolve me by the hand of your representative. O Lord, I feel Your grace and Your peace filling my poor soul. I feel overwhelmed by Your mercy, O Lord. You forgive me, which is more than I dared to hope for or could imagine. Your goodness surpasses all my desires. And now, filled with gratitude for so many graces, I invite You to my heart. I wandered, like a prodigal child gone astray; but You did not cease to be my Father. Increase Your mercy toward me, for You see how weak I am.

Jesus: Child, speak no more of your misery; it is already forgotten. Listen, My child, to what I desire to tell you. Come close to My wounds and draw from the Fountain of Life whatever your heart desires. Drink copiously from the Fountain of Life and you will not weary on your journey. Look at the splendors of My mercy and do not fear the enemies of your salvation. Glorify My mercy.


#14

I wish to thank every one who responded. Your replies have been of help, and I can't thank you enough for the understanding, acceptance and care that I feel from you.

[quote="Monica4316, post:12, topic:181485"]
Once our sins are forgiven, He remembers them no more. We might still have to deal with the effects of sin, and **how we've hurt others around us **by our sins. But the guilt itself is gone.

[/quote]

However - that is the part of the problem that I'm struggling with. It's because it's no longer possible to make any amends to the one I might have hurt - in fact, it was never possible.


#15

That can actually be pride speaking: I’d rather be right than need forgiveness-meanwhile I’ll
just wallow in my sinfulness. So maybe it’s not right to be forgiven-or to even *need *forgiveness-but the gospel says God’s love and mercy trumps His justice in any case.


#16

fhansen, if only it were pride...

I think It would help if I elaborated on the actual circumstances a bit.

It happened in my early twenties; my girlfriend and I got "careless" during sexual intercourse, and she took a "next morning pill", a decision which I supported wholeheartedly.

The way I see it now, if there was a child conceived, then our act amounts to abortion. I don't know if there was a child, but that doesn't make any easier on my conscience.

Yes, I didn't think, at the time, that a human being is a human being since the conception, and I believed we were doing the right thing, so technically it might not be a mortal sin.

However, the way I see it now, there might have been a human being, a soul, a child to whom I was father, and I agreed that we should kill him, and thinking it was the right thing to do doesn't make it any less horrible.

You see, can understand how God, who is our Father, can forgive us. What I can't understand is how could a child who was rejected by his father ever forgive him.

Once again, this is based on a hypothesis. There might have been no child. But I'll have to live the rest of my life with that question.


#17

[quote="Erethorn, post:14, topic:181485"]
I wish to thank every one who responded. Your replies have been of help, and I can't thank you enough for the understanding, acceptance and care that I feel from you.

However - that is the part of the problem that I'm struggling with. It's because it's no longer possible to make any amends to the one I might have hurt - in fact, it was never possible.

[/quote]

It may be that all you can do is apologize to God and ask forgiveness.

Also it may be possible for you to make amends in some other way. Without knowing any particulars I couldn't say just how, but just as an example,
Say a fellow had gotten a girl pregnant and then refused to take any responsibility for it. Perhaps even encouraging her to have an abortion. Later the girl dies or moves far away or whatever. Now the fellow realizes how sinful he was and wishes to make amends.

But How???
He could volunteer are a crisis pregnancy center, pray outside abortion clinics. etc. These are not direct amends in the way he wishes he could make amends, but they come from his heart in reparation for past sins and are highly acceptable to God.

Just something to think about.

Peace
James


#18

WOW I was posting the above while you were elaborating and we seemed to have crossed paths. Isn’t the Holy Spirit wonderful??

Peace
James


#19

I think I understand-and while it’s right and good to have genuine contrition, I’m still saying that there’s a resistance in us to simply be numbered among the sinners-which is all mankind whether we like it or not-and accept that we’re forgiven. We can’t go back and change anything, but we are forgiven.


#20

You're right on the part that it's technically not a mortal sin because you were ignorant at the time. Now you make it seem more horrible in the sense that you knew at the time(which you didn't) that their may have been a human being, a soul, a child to whom you were father and you agreed to kill him. Yet at the time you didn't know that that was how everything happened. Ponder this hypothetical situation, let's say a child got a hold of his father's gun and being to young to know how dangerous it could be(being ignorant) the child began to play with it, well the child points the gun at the sky and in the spirit of fun and games pulls the trigger. Without a second thought the child plays a little while longer and then goes inside and returns the gun to it's proper place. The next day there's a gloomy atmosphere in town as people whisper to each other the mysterious death of honor roll student John Doe. John Doe lived just a few houses down from the gun wielding child. That same child accuses himself of murder later on in life when he understood the true danger of firearms. The child never got to know the specifics of John Doe's death but the fact that as a child he had fired a projectile into the sky and right after there'd been a death nearby makes him feel truly guilty just at the possibility that he could have been the cause of that. Yet now he's looking at it as though he knew what he was doing at the time, with a much greater understanding than that of the innocent child he was at the time.
I tried to make it mirror your situation as much as possible, don't think that because you were twenty at the time doesn't make you a child for "In the world of knowledge, men never cease to be children." Don't let what you did weigh on your soul so much, if there was a child conceived and he/she is now with God, the child would be illuminated by the infinite wisdom of God and would understand that "among imperfect beings the key to perfect relationships is forgiveness" The child, if there was one, would forgive you knowing that you hadn't acknowledged he/she may be there and acted with no intention to harm the child in anyway, for if you knew what you were doing I'm sure you would've thought about your decision more than just twice. If you want to redeem yourself just in case there was a child conceived then pray to God for forgiveness and enlightenment on the subject and also to your child for forgiveness. Your deed is most forgivable in it's ignorant(I don't mean for it to sound harsh) state but would be worse had it been done consciously and even then ( I forget who said it but) "All that Hitler did was as a single drop in the Lord's sea of mercy." If there was a child, the child would be in heaven now, those in heaven are in a state of perfection and Love. Your child would be so full of God's unconditional love that it would overflow onto you, and ,knowing the nature of your mistake, would forgive you. May God Bless you my Brother in Christ.


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