Where did my faith go?


#1

My faith has suffered a critical wound. Probably my soul as well. :frowning:

When I hear about bad divorce cases where the parent who knows the judge wins, or abused children that end up being sent back to their parents to be killed, or fathers that molest their own daughters, or some of the stories on this very site, or all the other atrocities in the world, I cannot understand how a God who “is” perfect Love and Justice and Mercy would allow that without doing something.

I guess what worries me more than anything else is that only the devil would accuse God in that manner. And I’m worried that, until that gets resolved, I don’t think I can trust or love God, only serve Him more or less willingly depending on my mood. I know that’s not what He wants, assuming this is all true. I guess I’m the kind of guy who needs evidence and right now I don’t see much. I kind of “know” as a fact that suppposedly this will all work out in eternity but it doesn’t seem all that real right now. In fact it’s getting worse. Why does evil remain after Christ’s sacrifice? None of this makes sense to me and I’m in a desperate way. Help?


#2

Wow, thank you. I could post something similar myself. I’m going through a very hard time myself and have been for a very long time. My faith has weakened and strengthened over time. Yesterday I had a real rant at (and about God) and what (from my limited and selfish perspective) He is up to.

I feel as if I’ve been hit over and over again, while trying to be a decent human being and Catholic, while around me I see many, many people behaving in terrible ways and living very well, with what looks from my (worldly) perspective, very few real problems. In addition, there are the many, many millions who suffer terribly and I have (literally) shouted at God “Where were you? Where were you?” and had no answer.

I think its okay (??) to go through these periods of anger and questioning. We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t know He is there!! I do know I have to go to confession though, because in the midst of my tantrum I said some horrible things to Him and about Him.

The strange thing is that I still have faith. I’m really angry with Him (forgive me!) but somehow, I still know He’s with us. I just want Him to make it stop! Or give us a break!

I think (when I’m not blinded by a tantrum) that His ‘break’ for me is my faith. Somehow I keep going despite…well, a lot of things …and I think that’s His gift to me.

God Bless.


#3

The question of evil, or theodicy, can be broken down into several sections. The one that you bring up, personal evil is the easiest to explain; Free will. Simple answer.

My problem is with evils that are inflected that do not arise from man’s personal choices, good vs evil. For example, birth defects that cripple innocent babes, tsunamis and earthquakes that kill hundreds of thousands of people. Those kinds of natural evils.

This is the subject of Bart Ehrman’s book; God’s Problem.
It raises serious questions.


#4

These things have shaken my faith in the past. I don’t know the answer. :shrug: :confused: However, right now, and maybe I am wrong, I think of sin as a sort of genetic disease that we as humans as well as the world as a whole inherited from Adam and Eve. We are supposed to be living in the Garden of Eden. Earth is exile. See the Hail Holy Queen prayer that mentions poor banished children of Eve and in this valley of tears and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.

Just as the descendants of a person with a serious genetic disease will all be touched by the disease - some severely touched and obviously disabled - others carrying the latent traits and the disease is not apparent to the naked eye - we on Earth are touched by sin in the same way - some areas are more permeated with it and some are not. Christ is the cure for sin. He takes us to perfect union with God, when we are perfected in him we stop sinning. It’s not enough for Christ to be taught, each and every one of us needs to be striving to reach perfect union with Christ. So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.Matthew 5:28 Perfection is harder for some than others just like some people are born with severer manifestations of a genetic illness than others. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t look at Christianity as a burden - we would live happily in Christ’s kingdom easily following his rules just like most Americans live happily in the United States of America in a law-abiding way. Sin makes us similar to criminals, which is the only reason why we are at enmity with God without Christ. :confused: :shrug:

This issue is in my prayers as I would like answers too. :o

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee and those who do not!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#5

Yes, I can separate out my own experiences into natural and personal evil. There are many things in my experience that are the result of my own and other’s poor choices. I can accept that.


#6

B l a i n e T o g. :heart:
i truly believe that there is no patron saint of broken hearts because we are meant to take our woundedness, our brokenness and our pain to Jesus and to Mary Themselves, and offer up our suffering to Them, and from Them to completely receive our healing. i don’t think that God would assign a saint to be the patron of broken hearts, when He longs for all of us to come to Him with our suffering and offer it up to Him in love, hope and trust.

why are you interested in finding a patron saint of broken hearts? if it’s because you’re going through your own suffering at the moment, please let us know, so that we can support you in any way that we can, and keep you in our constant thoughts and deepest prayers. i’m so sorry beyond words if you’re interested in finding this because of your own struggles, but please know that even in your darkest hour, you are far from alone, and that there is always hope in God, Who is forever waiting in patient Love for us to offer up our broken hearts to Him, and receive His restoration.

God bless you. :slight_smile:

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison :heart:


#7

yes, of course, free will. it sounds so simple! Why doesn’t He do something that, yes, you could freely ignore it but you’d have to be a complete idiot to do so in some of these cases! Like with China, the Middle East… Why’d He just sit there and watch the slaughter???

And another thing, why’s He seem to have Satan on such a long leash still? It can’t all be just bad choices…

Obviously knowing about the faith isn’t having faith. I don’t understand anything anymore… ok suppose I go to confession but I come out thinking the exact same way, then what’s the point?

this is a real crisis folks!


#8

This is by no means The Definite Answer, but it may help put a different perspective on suffering.

peterkreeft.com/audio/07_suffering.htm

It’s an audio transcript from Peter Kreeft, a noted Catholic Apologist.

I hope it helps you just a bit.


#9

God DID do something - He sent His only Son to die for us, for our salvation, so that a) our sufferings can have meaning by being joined to His redemptive suffering and b) through that redemptive suffering we can gain eternal happiness.

Any earthly happiness He could have given us pales into insignificance - what is 20, 30, even a hundred years of earthly bliss compared to the eternity that His sufferings and ours have the potential to open up to us?

The point of view expressed in the OP is a bit like that of a child who gets taken to the doctor for a vaccination. All that child can understand is that they were jabbed with a needle and it was painful, and as a result they aren’t so fond of their doctor/parent.

Not having the level of understanding that the parent and doctor have, they don’t realise that the temporary pain is in fact permitted because in the end the vaccination just might save their life.

Read John Paul II’s Salvifici Doloris on the value of human suffering - and remember he walked the talk, his undeserved sufferings from Parkinson’s disease must have been considerable.


#10

Thanks everyone! I know some of you must have prayed for me and I appreciate it. :blush:

Although sanity seems to have returned to me, looks like Satan won that round, and it’s a very good thing we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I was reminded of a few fundamental truths there, like He gets to judge, not me. Plus The Father knows best and it wouldn’t be love without free will. And the ultimate injustice, the Crucifixion, turned into the greatest good, salvation.

Still if I’m so worried about those other people suffering (since my own life seems rather pampered :frowning: ) I’d better find something to do about it.

Oh, and:

The point of view expressed in the OP is a bit like that of a child who gets taken to the doctor for a vaccination. All that child can understand is that they were jabbed with a needle and it was painful, and as a result they aren’t so fond of their doctor/parent.

Not having the level of understanding that the parent and doctor have, they don’t realise that the temporary pain is in fact permitted because in the end the vaccination just might save their life.

yep. sorry :frowning: Jesus said “be like little children” but I don’t think that’s what He meant. :wink:

May God Bless,

Justin


#11

Don’t apologise, we’re all children when it comes to trying to understand the mind of God. :yup:


#12

OK. thanks. I guess it’s worse for me because of my background when I got really good grades and seemed to understand any kind of worldly knowledge, so running into something that can’t be understood really has potential to upset me.

well, in any case I should probably start reading The Imitation of Christ.


#13

SAY THIS MIRACLE PRAYER DAILY & It will change Your Life!


#14

After reading your post, I thought of the second Narnia movie, when they are loosing a great battle to win Narnia. Lucy finally goes to look for Aslan and when she finds him she says to him, Why didn’t you come rescue us like last time? Why didn’t you help us, why did you leave us all alone?

And Aslan responds by asking her, why didn’t she come looking for Him?

I really like that part because Lucy knows she does not have a good answer. She finally manages to to string together a sentence saying that she was afraid to look for Aslan, but she knows that even that is not a good answer either. Aslan was always ready and willing to help - but she had to turn to Him and ask first. Then Aslan goes and helps her and the Narnians win the battle for their land.

There was a writer (name forgotten) who called God the “Hound of Heaven,” pursuing us human beings with all his strength. But human beings need to respond to that pursuit. How can we respond when everything goes well in life and we feel we have no need to look for God? Most of us only know we need God when we see our neediness - through suffering.

Some parents spoil their children - they give them nothing but good things, desperate to protect them from any harm. Yet in their efforts to do this, they end up doing exactly what they do not want to - they harm their children by making them dependent, incapable of inner strength and character.

God is a very good father. This means He does not spoil His children, particularly those He sees could become very strong. He therefore works with each soul individually, allowing one person to suffer more than another because He knows what each person needs to develop that inner character and become stronger within. Like people in a gym - a trainer will give one person 10 pounds to lift, and another he will give 100 pounds to lift. It all depends on the person and what they need and how strong they already are.

Like the hound of Heaven, God is pursuing us through our trials and tribulations, and like Aslan He is waiting and wondering, when will we turn to Him and ask for His help?

Some turn to God and grow stronger through their sufferings and in their sufferings, and in the end they are like great warriors, knights who are welcomed home to their land with much joy and celebration for the many battles they have fought and won.

But they can only do this if they call on God. It is their choice. It is hard to comprehend, because we want everyone to just be rescued and ok and never have anything be wrong. But if that were so, we would become such spoiled little children and would never turn to God. We would be lost in our self-centered attitudes and our ignorance of our need. Some God gets through to, and some refuse to allow God to get through. War is never pleasant, and loosing fellow soldiers always seems unfair, but we have to realize that it is all spiritual warfare and all we can do is decide for ourselves to win by seeking the help of God.


#15

I cannot understand how a God who “is” perfect Love and Justice and Mercy would allow that without doing something.

well here’s the thing… God did do something… He could have destroyed evil and sin in an instant, but that would mean putting a whole bunch of people in hell without giving them a chance to repent. What He did, is He died to save all of us, sinners and saints alike… He shared in our suffering…He had a choice to take away our suffering, or to share in it and THEN take it away. He chose the former. He’ll take it away someday… right now, He is with us through it all, He is with all people who suffer, - not looking down at them but truly being there with them…and He even uses suffering to bring us to sanctification… I believe in heaven we’ll thank God for all our trials…

so yes, God did do something, He conqured death and evil and sin, at great cost to Himself… but then He gave us a time to repent!! (when He comes back it would be too late) Otherwise, we’d all be in hell right now… He actually did the most merciful thing.


#16

God is no happier than you over these things which are humans sins against other humans, and nothing of His doing or wish. These evils are from human to human. The people who perpetrate these evils are rejecting th teachings and promptings of love and goodness that come from God, often for personal gain
As a priest wrote to me once, “Free-will is a two-edged sworfd pointed directly at the heart of God.”

God bless you, and may He help your faith.

I guess you can say, “I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief”

Yes Jesus deteated the consequences of evil and sin for those who accept His love and grace. The fact is, not everyone does.
There are Judases. No matter how much goodness and holiness and even miracles that Judas witnessed, in the end he rejected God’s love and salvation.

God saves us, but we still have choice…the choice to live according to love that He teaches, or not. Some choose not to. Those people you speak of, they choose not to. In rejecting God’s love and truth, they can destroy themselves and others. They can cause the Saviour of the world Himself to be arrested, tortures, and crucified, as Judas did.

I have decided to put it in Jesus’ own words. I’ve posted this previously…but I want you to read it carefully.


#17

Listen to what Jesus says of those people who don’t accept salvation. See how dreadfully it wounds Him

Jesus’ dying prayer
Father God, the sky is darkening with the culmination of my human destiny. I can no longer see Your Face! I humbly cry out to You from the depths of my being.

I AM Your beloved Son who has accomplished all that You desired of me. I AM only begotten Son of Your divine Essence. You created all things through me. Yet I hang defenceless upon searing metal stakes that bite into my flesh and bone each time that I force upwards to gasp the very air that You created through me.

My torment is scarcely bearable and my mind faints and jolts in horrific awareness with the weakness of my battered, abused body. My body, ruined in its youthful strength, is exposed in degraded despoil. Fevered with dehydration, my eyesight fades, my ears ring, my head throbs, and my tongue swells. My muscles tremble uncontrollably, deeply bruised by the Roman scourgers who smashed metal and jagged bone into every part. My face is swollen and raw; my eyelid split, heavy with pain and blood. Sweat screams saltily in my torn nerves. My joints are dislocated with violent distension. My head can find no ease as the thorns gouge into my scalp with inescapable ache within my brain.

Yet nothing wounds deeper than the torture of love within my being. My heart thunders and rips with the anguish of love. Love is the shuddering gasp of my breath. Love is the dry, harsh voice of thirst that cries out my forgiveness. Love is the blood and life-fluids that drain from me. Love is my strength, my weakness, my hope, my faith and my generosity. Love has been my life and now it is my death. Let love flow from me upon all my brothers and sisters of humankind, to cleanse them from evil and discord. Let love draw them to me, in communion on their cross of redemption.

My Father how I love them, these foolish blind ones who watch me die, and taunt with indifference, lukewarmness and unbelief throughout the centuries. They have not seen and heard although I have fought the powers of evil for them, with persistent prayer and penance, with teaching and example, with humility and powerful truth, and now with my death. I am, for them, a bleeding, suffering testimony of love.

I love them, Father. Forgive them. They cannot understand what they do and fail to do. For my love of them even in my extremity, forgive them. Save them from the pitiless powers of darkness that rule the earth and oppress their lives.

They are my kin. I emptied myself of all glory and lived, witnessed and die—as man—for them. Pity them, for sake of my pity for them. I hold them up to You. My whole being bears the emptiness, darkness, and guilt of humankind’s deepest struggle. I would strive to enlighten them as I have these past years, but now is only time to suffer, to expiate, and to plead for them.
I have been patient with them, Father. With careful repetition and example, I taught them what they must take into their darkened minds for their soul’s redemption and for the nations to which I will send them in Your name. I frequently transcended the natural sequence of events to offer them miracles, so that they would recognise Your power in me, thus be encouraged to believe and to follow Your truth. Yet many only marvelled at spectacle, seeking more.

Father, my throat is bruised and constricted, for grief of the souls for whom I die. They cannot know how terribly wounded I am by their sin, infidelity, hypocrisy, mental blindness and hardness of heart. I am God and I am sinless man—so these things have heinousness and poignancy far beyond their dulled understanding. Nor can they imagine the depth of my love and yearning for each precious one’s everlasting happiness and fulfilment in You.

Father, look upon these Your chosen people from whom You drew my human form. They join with the gentiles to destroy me, for evil howled for my death, and they succumbed. Now it seems that my mission is lost to evil spirits who believe that they have triumphed over the only Person who could restore Creation and redeem humankind. Yet I shall rise again, because I am eternal Lord of Creation. I am undefeated, for my faith and love is Your reality and victory, You who are divine origin of all that exists. With my rising so shall humankind be raised to You.

Father, I offer You my whole Self, all that I am and have done, with all that You are, to plead for salvation and conversion of souls. I might have refused to become their redemption, yet I accept total immolation. Within it, Father, I hold each person to myself. In the wounds, the blood, in the tender swelling of broken tissue, in the shuddering of shattered muscle, in the sweat that burns across the clammy dust of earth upon me—within these is written the name of each human soul! Laden with humankind and with the sins and guilt of each, I offer myself to You, Father. As Your divine Son, I implore that You accept this prayer across the length and breadth of time.

Father, my Father, I am crushed! My humanity yearns for release and peace as grief and longing rasps at every fibre of soul, mind, heart and body. Speak in me, Father, out of Your own Being. Pray in me, and accept all suffering love at my torn, bleeding hands
.
I am Your own, Your very Self—and these for whom I am living Sacrifice are my sisters and brothers, my kin, flesh of my flesh. Accept all my prayer for them—all ever prayed and suffered by any person in union with me throughout time, all love, atonement and praise from each individual, held up to You in my ruined hands. Everything You have given to me and to each soul, I return to You, with all that I am, which is of Your nature yet also of my human frailty. So Father, grant the coming of Your Kingdom in the souls of Your people, my own, out of Your great love for me.


#18

In addition, we need to go to the words of Jesus Himself regarding those who accept His salvation and do good; and those who reject His salvation and do either nothing, or do evil to others. You see, free will has everything to do with it. Don’t lose faith in God because people do evil. It actually shows a lack of understand of what salvation is, to blame God for the evil choices people make. I do hope dear hurting friend that your justified grief and anger doesn’t destroy your faith. You are a wonderful person to be so hurt for others’ sakes

Matthew 25 verses 31-46…Jesus’ words on who will be saved:
“The Last Judgement”

"When the Son of Man comes in all His glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men from one another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.

He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. then the King shall say to those on his right hand," Come you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was a stranger and you made me welcome. I was thristy and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.

Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?

And the King will answer, " I** tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."**
Next he will say to those on his left “**Go away from me with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for when I was hungry you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in proson and you never visited me.”**Then it will be their turn to ask, “**Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty; a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and not come to your help?” **Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.


#19

thanks again.
and Trishie, you’re a godsend. Those help. :slight_smile:

I guess in the end what I can do is whatever I’m supposed to.


#20

Saint Augustine tackles evil in his two-volume book, On the Grace of Christ and on Original Sin. The first book would most likely help you the best, but I’m linking to both books for your greater good.

On the Grace of Christ, Book I
On the Grace of Christ, Book II


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