Where are you on your spiritual journey?

I just wanted to start a thread where we could discuss how we are doing on our individual journeys, and discuss how we could improve our prayer lives.

To start I have been blessed with many graces in my prayer life. I was fairly lukewarm Catholic before I was married, but the example of my non-Catholic wife lead me to attend Mass regularly and start to pray the rosary more often.

Now I generally pray the divine office (Morning Prayer, Office of reading and Evening Prayer) on my commute as well as Night prayer before I go to bed. As well I have scheduled an hour of Eucharistic Adoration every week and I am striving to be in union with the teachings of the Church, and strive to act in all I do as the Lord wills.

My current focus in my journey is trying to be a joyful Catholic while working at a busy and stressfull job. My biggest difficulty is slowing down and concentrating in prayer.

Toni…your PM is full of messages…cannot get through…:slight_smile:

I was a luke warm Catholic for years. Then I had small St. Peter conversions here and there. Then when I had a St. Paul conversion it was all over. I fall and I get up like the average Joe. I am a daily Mass goer. Say my daily prayers and go biweekly to confession. I also have an adoration hour. But before my grandkids moved home with us I could go to holy hour daily. I miss that because there is so much peace in sitting with our Lord.

I have reached a point where I believe my mind and heart have been converted, through a huge amount of what could be called “purgation” or “mental illness” depending on whom you ask.

They have been converted to where I am fully at ease with all Church teachings, but also with all dissenters and even non-religious. The world is good. There is no particular evil except in the minds of those who have not yet awakened and seen it.

I am seeing people coming out of their shells and waking up at such a rate these days I have a feeling anyone posting to this thread is going to grow so much that they will actually experience the growth during the thread lifetime. Just when I think the day is good another blessing shatters another illusion of anxiety, and peace gets better.

Many think it is impossible to actually know (and some think we shouldn’t even try) “where we are” as I used to try to wonder whether I was a “beginner” for example by St. John of the Cross standards. I can honestly say that I now appreciate all of the stanzas of the soul at a deep level, and my prayer for this thread is that many of us posting or lurking – by examining and comparing ourr ideas about the spiritual journey – will be overwhelmingly propelled forward on our own journey as the Spirit sees fit to move us and use this thread for His good work.

Alan

I’m ashamed to say that I was not only a lukewarm but also a "Cafeteria "Catholic till I met with some illness and “Grace” knocked on my door, that is I responded to God’s call and began to be set on fire! I couldn’t get enough knowledge of the Faith, I read everything I could get my hands on, especially books on famous Apologetics.

I got involved in Opus Dei which really was the frosting on the cake. It got me to be sure to get to Confession frequently, to learn sacrifice and to apply it in my daily life–how to try to become a saint in the midst of the world.

This resonates.

Up until this past year, I used to spend a lot of time wondering why certain people didn’t like me. This past year, I experienced noticeable persecution for my pro-life, practicing Catholic ways … It stepped up to the point where for awhile I didn’t feel secure walking through a certain door without praying to St. Michael for help. Now I’ve come to understand that when such behavior occurs, it’s not “me” as a person that causes their antipathy. It’s that instead of seeing me as a person, they see me as an enemy who does not share their beliefs nor live their lifestyle. Understanding this has been a breakthrough that allows me to approach the situation with peace, and to not take it personally.

~~ the phoenix

[quote=the phoenix]This resonates.

Up until this past year, I used to spend a lot of time wondering why certain people didn’t like me. This past year, I experienced noticeable persecution for my pro-life, practicing Catholic ways … It stepped up to the point where for awhile I didn’t feel secure walking through a certain door without praying to St. Michael for help. Now I’ve come to understand that when such behavior occurs, it’s not “me” as a person that causes their antipathy. It’s that instead of seeing me as a person, they see me as an enemy who does not share their beliefs nor live their lifestyle. Understanding this has been a breakthrough that allows me to approach the situation with peace, and to not take it personally.

~~ the phoenix
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And what I found out just lately (from a conversation with one of my bosses)…that sometimes the conversation is not necessarily from the person himself/herself! It comes from a whole different dimension. And, knowing this, things are not taken so personnally.

To make myself understood…it is the spirit within the person who challenges me and not the person. Having been involved in an exorcism for 5 years, it makes sense! And that exorcism was ended 7 years ago! I’m a slow learner I know…

It is either I am a slow learner or my ‘feelers’ are more acute. But it makes life a bit more peaceful! :smiley:

Thank you for your validation, Shoshana. Your words resonate as well. * nods good greetings *

~~ the phoenix

I am uncomfortable discussing this question with anyone except my spiritual director or confessor. I can share aspects of my spiritual journey with trusted people, such as in my prayer group, at times. But I do not think such a discussion with casual friends or strangers is generally profitable for spiritual growth.

I am really struggling as someone very close to me is sick and suicidal. he tried to suicide this morning. I am persevering , but i would ask prayers for him. He is a good catholic with bipolar disorder amongst other things ( manic depressive etc).
Please pray for him.

[quote=asquared]I am uncomfortable discussing this question with anyone except my spiritual director or confessor. I can share aspects of my spiritual journey with trusted people, such as in my prayer group, at times. But I do not think such a discussion with casual friends or strangers is generally profitable for spiritual growth.
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Certainly it is not without risk, as one could easily imagine it could lead to pride and competitiveness. Not only that, but I think a great deal of the “spiritual journey” is foreshadowed many many times in our lives such that we keep traveling the same path albeit in a much different way as we get used to it.

One reason I have begun opening up more is that my ability to articulate and relate my feelings to others’ stories has improved to where I am seeing much communion in such discussion. Also, I find that people are often leery about accepting blessings because somehow they don’t think they deserve them (which they don’t but that’s another issue) until they hear similar things articulated by others. In a way, we are using each others’ lives as barometers of what “can” be done to a spirit. In this way, I think it can also help open us up to the faith possibilities that the Lord has genuine healing and is not leading us just to another set of cliches to explain the same pain on a different day… kind of like “look at what they’re doing” but without the flavor of boasting and performing. We are all feeling our way through this stuff.

Even people who don’t discuss their spiritual journey per se cannot help but make it obvious to others with whom they’ve shared close relationships with or talked about many personal things, because as we progress we automatically mature and when our wills get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit, aka the Divine Therapist, in there, it’s obvious to all involved.

My speech used to be so loaded with suspicion and vitriole that I can see the other poster’s problem. I was simply trying to do what’s right, frustrated nearly beyond god-belief by, a) people who would tell me to do something but not really mean it, b) people who paid for me to go to training in operating a parish but then didn’t want to hear, and so on. The trick was in realizing that in trying to “fix” them I was presupposing they were broken which was a judgment. Valid judgment? Maybe not. Now if I can’t get through to somebody after one or two tries, I have learned to let it go to a “background task” because it is in defocusing from a problem where I’ve hit a stalemate – not in fixating on it like deer-in-headlight – where I’ve found the power to come in with new solutions of faith rather than frustration. If they totally don’t understand, then my faith is that I have planted a seed and need to allow the Holy Spirit and others to help – and my faith is also that the other person probably said some things I haven’t understood yet. As long as I stay in the “unknowing” of things and use the world’s reminders that I’m not “in the know” it seems to keep the pride check down to levels that don’t get me in so much trouble anymore.

Alan

This is such a complicated question!!

I first want to echo a lot of what Alan wrote. Amen to all of that.

Second, … our parish started Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration a couple of years ago. The only “problem” is that all too often, the special chapel is packed with people. It is grossly overcrowded. Often, it is so full, that the people assigned, when they show up for their “shift” have to wait outside for the crowd to move away. [It’s early and raining out, and I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet… so I’m not being very articulate… ] … anyway, a LOT of people are receiving a “call” to visit God - in Person - face-to-face.

He wants to see them; and for them to see Him. And He wants to give them His Blessing, face-to-face. Like visiting the Pope in person, only better.

You have no idea how many times, I’ll be out and about on errands and I get a “call” to visit the Blessed Sacrament Chapel – nothing dramatic… So I just swing by, jump out of the car, go in for a minute or two – no structured prayer – just to say “Hi”… Sometimes I start to say my little ritual prayer using my very own S-T-O-I-C formula supplication, thanksgiving, offertory, Infinity, Contrition ] quasi-meditation, quasi-whatever… other times, I get the message “I already know all that, Al”… and we just sit there and look at one another…

I haven’t even started my spiritual journey yet, don’t even now the road I have to go down…lol. I’, struggling with somethings, it’s a battle and has been since I was 12. It’s with drugs, I stopped all the bad drugs like E and coke and all that cause I learned that it’s not worth it, but I still smoke pot quite often. I ask Jesus for help with my struggle but there are times when I just don’t want to help myself. Being in a state of perpetual numbness kind of works for me. It’s hard to explain. When I smoke up, I feel good, but I always end up talking to God, and when I do that when I am high, I feel guilty, like its a blasphemous thing to do. I know it sucks. I’ve tried group therapy, cutting back, quitting cold turkey, nothing seems to work because I don’t want it to. That’s why there is no spiritual journey yet, but when I get to the point where I can see my path sober, I’ll post again.

[quote=sarcophagus]I haven’t even started my spiritual journey yet, don’t even now the road I have to go down…lol. I’, struggling with somethings, it’s a battle and has been since I was 12. It’s with drugs, I stopped all the bad drugs like E and coke and all that cause I learned that it’s not worth it, but I still smoke pot quite often. I ask Jesus for help with my struggle but there are times when I just don’t want to help myself. Being in a state of perpetual numbness kind of works for me. It’s hard to explain. When I smoke up, I feel good, but I always end up talking to God, and when I do that when I am high, I feel guilty, like its a blasphemous thing to do. I know it sucks. I’ve tried group therapy, cutting back, quitting cold turkey, nothing seems to work because I don’t want it to. That’s why there is no spiritual journey yet, but when I get to the point where I can see my path sober, I’ll post again.
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Your story sounds very encouraging to me. I have actually heard some pretty good philosophical speeches regarding altered states of awareness – and note that such altered states come about in various forms. Sometimes induced by externally taken drugs, and other times by our very attitudes and thoughts and even our prayers affect the way we think or, well, we wouldn’t do them.

The news that you are finding that less dangerous drugs are helping you find altered states that appeal is encouraging to me because in my own journey and many other “goth” friends that one of my children used to hang around, I’ve found that such alterations of awareness help us get different perspectives on the same reality, and eventually these perspectives get built into our very spirits who no longer crave alternate explanations or even perceptions of the same reality in addition to what the Holy Spirit provides. These children – the so-called “losers” with multiple piercings and all – that my son used to bring home were often some of the most insightful, forgiving, unassuming, people I’d met in my life. They knew rejection and they knew that life had to allow for going on past such rejection and they looked out for each other.

Alan

[quote=Honoria20]I’m ashamed to say that I was not only a lukewarm but also a "Cafeteria "Catholic till I met with some illness and “Grace” knocked on my door, that is I responded to God’s call and began to be set on fire! I couldn’t get enough knowledge of the Faith, I read everything I could get my hands on, especially books on famous Apologetics.
[/quote]

I can really relate to this. I had a very serious illness about a year and a half ago and it definitely changed my life. I’ve always believed in God, but was lukewarm about it–I’d go to Mass more often than not, but would skip when I felt like it. I used ABC with my husband and didn’t think much about it. How all that’s changed!! I’m now praying more, reading everything I can, going to Mass as often as possible; with work that means one, maybe two Masses during the week. I’ve gone to confession three times in last year (all since August), which is more than quite possibly the entire rest of my life. I’m certainly not going to say I’m a great person, all’s right, because I can improve, but I’m very happy to be setting out on this journey and I think I’m heading in the right direction.

[quote=AlanFromWichita]The news that you are finding that less dangerous drugs are helping you find altered states that appeal is encouraging to me…
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Drugging oneself to the point of hindering one’s conscience is sinful. Any kind of inebriation is to be avoided. At the very least, it’s a near occasion of sin. See CCC #2290-1.

:blessyou:

I am in the process of converting, i am currently attending a belife cource at my local Church

Dear Sarcophagus,

I ask Jesus for help with my struggle but there are times when I just don’t want to help myself. Being in a state of perpetual numbness kind of works for me.

And why would you? It feels good, yes? Fallen human nature is absolutely attached to the pursuit of pleasure - the wrong kind. With some it’s of a sexual nature; others make a god of their stomachs; many idolize money and the pursuit of it; and hardly any of us is able to take in Jesus’s words, “seek the lowest place.” Honors and fame, even in spiritual matters, causes prideful ego seeking at others’ expense.

There is a prayer we say at mass in Eucharistic Prayer IV that goes, “And that we may live no longer for ourselves, but for HIM, he sent the Holy Spirit from you, Father, as His first gift to those who believe … to complete His work on earth and bring them to the fullness of grace.”

It is impossible to overcome our natural tendencies without the help of grace. Why would anyone in his right mind want to? Sin is fun, for sure! :clapping:

Know what, Sarcophagus? God is greater joy than the highest pleasure man is capable of. But we will never experience the fullness of His love while we prefer lesser joys. It is difficult to lay these aside because many do not have any incentive to give them up, not even holy fear of the loss of our souls.

That is the test God sends to each of us. How much do we love Him? Enough to give up our own pleasures to embrace His will for us? I sense a most wonderful and loving pursuit of you by our “hound of heaven.” May you take a giant leap with inner strength to follow where He leads you. You won’t be sorry!

Carole

[quote=Augustine]Drugging oneself to the point of hindering one’s conscience is sinful. Any kind of inebriation is to be avoided. At the very least, it’s a near occasion of sin. See CCC #2290-1.

:blessyou:
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As far as sin, I do not disagree with you. I am encouraged, however, by a person moving “downward” in a progession from harder to lesser because in a physiological sense we really need to understand (the government tries to cover the fact) that some of these drugs clearly place more imminent danger on the lives and well being of their users and those around them than others. They may all be illegal and all sinful, but I find it good news that a person goes from two drugs to one, especially when the one is arguably the less dangerous.

I can celebrate the same way I celebrate any sinner overcomes a past obstacle – it doesn’t require that they become spiritually perfect before I can rejoice. If the person had simply told the part of the truth that they had overcome one without reference to not overcoming the other, we still would have rejoiced because we would only know about the corrected fault and not had this discussion about the uncorrected one honestly disclosed. :dancing:

Also I rejoice because a person is stepping out here and admitting that this is not the path and even suggesting others are ahead of him and practically begging for guidance. I do not see this as the time to scold him for not becoming perfected in all areas of sin. :tsktsk:

Alan

[quote=AlanFromWichita]The trick was in realizing that in trying to “fix” them I was presupposing they were broken which was a judgment. Valid judgment? Maybe not. Alan
[/quote]

now that really resonates. just because I am not at a point where I could share what is inside with anyone, does not mean I cannot appreciate and value what others have offered here, especially the really brave ones like Alan, who is one of my heroes. Just in case you never hear it out loud from anyone you see in the “real world” I hope all of you realize you may never know how much you touch someone here in cyberland.

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