what is faith?


#21

[quote=sarcophagus] I seem more of a fence-sitter,
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You can read all the books and analyze it until you are blue in the face but that won’t bring you to believe. You must feel it inside you. Faith comes from the heart not from a book.

To wait, to give excuses, because you don’t know enough or because you think you will never totally understand you will never settle on an answer. We can only understand God in how we in our limited human minds can understand Him. He is beyond our total understanding.

So, take that “leap of faith” and jump off that fence.

Immerse yourself in prayer and God will guide you. Pray for help and guidance and He will give it to you. Keep your eyes and ears opened and you will see His answers.

Peace,
Jen


#22

i guess like Peter it wasn’t anything i came into on my own… God has revealed this to me… my faith, his church, etc… really not that complicated to me… i am not smart enough to figure this out for myself, i’m know that God was sculpture here… and i know that he is still molding… :thumbsup:


#23

Jen,

How does one go about taking a “leap of faith”? Where do you jump to?
It’s things like these, not necessarily excuses, but questions that hold me back. I don’t understand how someone can just start believing in something that they never believed in before without proper evidence (the scientist in me). I do want to believe, but in what? In who? For some reason, my mind won’t let my heart love something that I am not even sure exsists. This is where my dilemma comes from.


#24

I think “faith” is a very personal thing and so it it difficult to put that idea into words but let me try.
Faith is a deep feeling from way down inside me that God is here. I can feel Him around me in everything I do. When I was younger and was in charge of my life I missed His whisperings because I closed myself off from Him. Now I see them more clearly touching each part of my life, but I had to let it happen by not rejecting the feelings. The whisperings come in many forms. They come from compassion when dealing with the people around me. They remind me when I am harsh with someone that I am wrong (and when I will allow them) they stop from hurting someone by words or actions.
Sometimes it comes over me in waves of love for Jesus when my heart and mind let me ponder what He did for us, it usually comes in a split second, but it is very real.
Just like the love you have for your parents, family. You can’t see it, you can’t hold it, and it is impossible to explain it, but it is real, it is there. Thats what faith is. It is a feeling of joy for no reason even in the face of adversity and pain of loss because you know that Jesus is there, He will not stop the pain or loss, but He promises, if you let Him, to comfort you, to hold you when you cry, spiritually, if you let Him. I have a painting that probably sums up what I feel. It is God, the father, a kindly, elderly man with a smile of contentment on his face with his Son, Jesus Christ leaning against His chest with a look of love and peace on His face and the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove circling around them. When I look at that painting I can feel the love and acceptance from our Father and our Brother. We just have to open our hearts and let it in.
May God Bless you,
maggiec


#25

[quote=sarcophagus]Jen,

How does one go about taking a “leap of faith”? Where do you jump to?
[/quote]

How will reading and proving with science bring you to believe? Haven’t you spent the past few years reading but are still in doubt?

There is so much information out there that contradicts each other. To much for the mind to handle and too much to figure out. To lead your spiritual life with your mind is impossible. You must lead your spiritual life with your heart. Take that “leap of faith” and listen to your heart.

There are times when thoughts of selfishness, greed, anger, jealousy come into my mind. My heart says “that’s not right. Be quiet.” My mind can get me into alot of trouble. It can lead me to sin. Take that “leap of faith” and say no to the things that don’t feel right to you. It may feel weird at first but you will get stronger by saying no to your doubts and yes to what you believe.

You must pray as I said. God will only answer this for you. I know you doubt that God is there but take the “leap of faith” and pray to Him. Just open up with something like, "God, it’s me. I am asking you to help me. I am struggling with believing in you. Help me, if you are there, help to see that you exists. " You can share your doubts with God. Just pray with humility and honesty.

Peace,
Jen


#26

Dear sarcophagus,

Jen is correct. You have to seek God in truth> seek him for the right reason> seek him because you need him. People who cannot find faith are not really open to it. They are not ready to seek God as a creature. Yet it is very simple. All it takes is an earnest desire to find him. But you have to be ready for what you may find. You have to be ready to loose some of your own ego and hand it over to God. The greatest obstacle to God’s grace is human pride. There is no magic formula, no textbook that can give you the faith you desire. Only God can give you faith. Start simple. When you wake up in the morning offer yourself to God: “God I offer you this day and I offer myself to you” Do it every day and see what happens.


#27

hmmm…I guess this is just a really difficult thing for me because I’ve never had anyone (except my husband) in my life that actually had any faith in everything. I was always taught as a child that everything I need to know has been proven by science and can be referenced as such. No mystery, no faith. I was taught that it simply didn’t exist. For example, I saw a ghost once, actually quite a few, especially when i was a child. I told my parents and they sent me to a shrink because they thought I was schizophrenic. Ghost haven’t been scientifically proven to be possible and so they do not exist and I must be crazy!

I will take your suggestion, this is going to be very hard. I have to give up so much that is part of my life and has been for a while. I know that I do have to give it up, it’s bad for me I know this. Oh, I’m talking about drugs. I have an addiction, it doesn’t go away. If I give it up, I’m going to be a complete wreck since i have relied on them for so long. They’ve become part of me, a scary concept. My husband has known about this for a long time, since we met. He got me to quit once and successfully for 4 years. Then i started college and the pressure of school and work has got me into them again. They help me. But I know it’s not in a good away. Again, my husband is holding my hand, disappointed, and I am ashamed. But I feel that it’s harder to quit the second time.

This is my fear, that if I take this “leap of faith” and quit, then everything will become so much scarier and I won’t be able to deal and i will fail everything and lose all that i have achieved. i guess this is a testimony of what drugs can do. They attach themselves to your mind and make your mind decieve your heart.


#28

[font=Arial]Aaaah, you poor dear! I have no experience with serious addictions. But while one is attached to anything and cannot live without whatever it may be: drugs, liquor, tobacco or any other addiction, it occupies the center of the human heart which should be the place where God resides. To rid one of these idols, one needs help a lot of help. Help from other people who understand the particular addiction and of course help from God, or what people call a higher power in the twelve step programs designed for addictions*.* My prayers are with you, and I will not forget you in days to come and I would like to invite all people of good will to offer prayers to our Lord for your healing and release from this bondage. God bless.

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#29

that must be why no matter how hard i try, I just can’t believe. It makes good sense. I’ve tried counselling, I’ve tried therapy, support groups, they don’t work. They only thing that really did work was my own strength to just say, “I had enough”. I don’t think i am ready for that yet. None of the so-called professional help worked because I know exactly why I started drugs and why I am so easily addicted. The only thing left fo rme to do is stop. The hardest part. I suppose just saying, “ok, I’m gonna believe that God is more powerful than any drug I’ve done, any drug on earth, just quit and take Him”, may work as well. I think I will try that. Would you suggest going to church? Do you think that has some level of spirituality that will give me strength to defy my own weakness?


#30

Dear sarcophagus,

The reason your previous attempts were not successful was because you were trying to do it on your own. The type of battle you are facing cannot be done alone. You need God’s help and the guidance of others to combat a serious addiction. Simply attending church will not be enough to rid you of your addiction. You would be amazed if you knew how many of us regular church goers have some sort of addiction. If you want faith, look to God for faith. Don’t look to God for faith just to release you from an addiction. What would you do if he healed you today? Would you stick around and still seek him 5 or ten years from now? Desiring faith and desiring a release from the bondage of an addiction are separate things. But one thing is for sure, you will not heal from the addiction to drugs without God’s help. So I urge you to seek out a twelve step program. If you did that already, do it again and again. But this time, instead of relying on your own strength, rely on God’s.

When you are cleaned up and regain some of your spiritual strength seek God for himself, because you want to have a relationship with him. Then that is the time to look for a Church and to investigate the faith community where you can grow. The one thing you must keep in mind is this: we are all sinners and we all fail regularly. When you become a Christian, it does not mean that you never fall and never sin. We do. As Catholics, we have the advantage of ongoing healing in the Sacrament of Penance at our disposal. We do not have to rely on our own strength to pick up ourselves after we fall. God’s grace picks us up in absolution. God bless.


#31

[quote=sarcophagus]I will take your suggestion, this is going to be very hard. I have to give up so much that is part of my life and has been for a while. This is my fear, that if I take this “leap of faith” and quit, then everything will become so much scarier and I won’t be able to deal and i will fail everything and lose all that i have achieved. i guess this is a testimony of what drugs can do. They attach themselves to your mind and make your mind decieve your heart.
[/quote]

Yes, seek a 12 step program again and again. Go to Church, talk to a priest as well. A priest can help you, even if you’re not Catholic. Opening up to him with your sins he can help you and guide you on a spiritual level.

Although God is hard to believe in right now because you feel alone in your problem. That this problem is yours alone. Remember that there is a God and he is there with you just waiting for you to ask for his help. Yes, you will have to give yourself up. Pride in oneself is not a good thing. I believe that God wants us to do his will not our own. I must die to myself so that I may live totally for God. For we only spend a short time here on earth but eternity in Heaven.

He will help you. He will help you. He will help you. You must ask for courage and strength. You do not need to go through this alone, God is there.

May God give you strength and courage. May he hold your hand to guide you in the right direction, pick you up when you fall and carry you when you feel you can’t go on.

Jen


#32

Thank you both for your advice. I think, as I have started this a few days ago, I’m going to try to quit cold turkey. That method seems to work the best for me. I quit smoking cold turkey after smoking for 4 years. I’ve had maybe 3 ciggarettes since then (in about 5 years). Since I’ve been doing fine so far, I will try with this. If it is unsuccessful, I will join a program. I want to kick this. But I have more “faith” in myself than with other people. Other people tend to bring me down.

I think I will seek a preist sometime in the near future, whenever time allows. Hopefully it will happen!! Thank you.


#33

I want to share my :twocents: and add that in addition to faith being a gift, something that is sought, it is also shared, especially when one’s own faith or another’s is shaky.

I follow a religion (Catholicism) because the Church makes God more accessible. Through the Bible, the Sacraments, her priests, etc. Yes, I can pray to God directly and if I am open (and God wills it) I know God can “speak” to me, in my heart, through the actions of others, through nature even. But the Church offers very concrete signs as well as the more inspired ones.

The church is also family to me. I can go anywhere in the world and go to a Catholic church and will be at “home”, Jesus is present spiritually and more importantly, sacrementally. And I’m among family (and we may not always like our family but we’re stuck with them :wink: ).

There are layers of family with the Church: God, who reveals Himself as a Father and who gives us a mother in Mary (from the cross Jesus gave us His mother to be our own). The Pope is called the Holy Father (Pope comes from the Papa) and our preists are called Father. The Church herself is called Holy Mother Church and she is a good mother.

I could go on…


#34

In addition to you praying I would suggest asking your husband to spend some extra time praying for you.

Jim


#35

You’ve already taken a “leap of faith,” you have admitted your problem on a forum for all to read. You even came to a Catholic forum. What called you here? Could God already be working in your life and you haven’t noticed? Open your eyes dear. :smiley:

God brings trials to believers to test their faith and trials to those who don’t believe to bring them to the faith. Do not get me wrong, I do not wish hardships on anyone but they happen. Why? I think it’s how you persevere that counts, that’s what God wants to see. He wants you to succeed. Pray to him and he will.

You’re upbringing screams at you to resist. “God doesn’t exist. If you believe that you will be deemed crazy.” You are not crazy. Quiet the doubtful voices and listen to the ones that say “I am here.” You are not crazy! You are a wonderful person that has alot to offer.

When you are ready to go church keep this in mind. First go to listen. I was told to listen to God talk to me. Listen for the things that pop out in the readings and the homily. I think you are welcome to go up in the communion line and ask for a blessing instead. I’m not sure how to do this but someone one on the forum could tell you. Of course I may be wrong on this. I hope that helps.

If you chose to find a priest set up an appointment. To find one you can either go to a bunch of different parishes, go to your local one or ask around. Just find one you can trust with yourself.

Tru is very right that we need to pray for you. I have and as I sat in church today listening about persevering through trials I thought of you. I prayed for you in our intersessions for those who have addictions. Know that you are in our prayers.

Peace,
Jen


#36

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