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Author Topic: How to feel the love of God!  (Read 1364 times)
Justicia et Pax
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« on: January 17, 2015, 03:38:33 PM »

Apologies if I am raking up an old topic that has been done before but this has been troubling me for a while.

I can no longer feel or sense God in my life. I still believe in Him earnestly and pray to Him and try to follow His will for me. But the 'warm fuzzies' that were with me when I was most ill have long gone. I feel empty, bereft almost. It's like God has vanished and I can't find Him.

I don't think this is a Dark Night of the Soul - I am nowhere near spiritually advanced enough for that.

I wonder what others think it might be. Is it just my depression clouding my ability to find God in the midst of everything? Is it some lesser form of spiritual attack?

Anyway, whatever it is... I want to feel God's love again. Any ideas about how I can do this?

Shan Smiley
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Veronica97
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2015, 03:31:47 PM »

Will reply to this soon, Shan.  As you know, I struggle with moderate to severe OCD and anxiety.  I have experienced both consolation and desolation, and I have some theories about what God might be doing in my own life.  I will share them tonight after I get back from Mass.  I will just say, Shan, that I think the Lord is so pleased that you are seeking Him; so many people just don't care at all, and that must break His Sacred Heart.  I will go so far as to say I wouldn't be surprised if the Lord has big plans for you, Shan--perhaps not big plans in the eyes of the world, but I am speaking spiritually.  Smiley 
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Veronica97
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 01:44:58 AM »

I don't think my scruples are a Dark Night of the Soul either because I am too new in my Faith.  (Been a Catholic for 17 years but really truly learning and living it for about 3 1/2 years now).  I think your depression could definitely be a factor in your not feeling God.  I'm trying to think about the times when I've felt God's consolation, and it usually hits me all of the sudden.  I will feel kind of "teary", as though God has touched my heart.  It is almost always when I'm reading Scripture (particularly certain Psalms and sometimes stories in the Gospels such as the Good Shepherd in John and the Sinful Woman in Luke), or singing a song at Mass (as I was nearing the end of my worst bout with scruples ever, I started crying while singing "Do Not Be Afraid".  It was right at "stand up now, walk, and live."), or when I am in front of the Blessed Sacrament (either in front of the Tabernacle or in Adoration).  I read through the Stations of the Cross not long ago and felt touched by the Lord then as well.  No matter how confused I've been, I almost always leave the church after having been in front of the Blessed Sacrament feeling better, at least temporarily.  I would suggest if there is any way you possibly can, try to visit a church and sit in front of the tabernacle for even a few minutes.  Just pop in and say, "Hi Jesus, I love you.  I want to be with you always."  At home, read a bit of scripture.  The psalms and the Gospels are good places to start.  Stay close to Mary.  Try to pray the rosary as much as you can, even if you can't pray it all at once.  Every day ask Mary to bring you closer to her Son.  I'm also thinking back to this summer when I was at the peak of my scruples.  I was so confused, and I felt I was in a constant state of sin  from nearly every thought that came into my head.  I remember one week where I went to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament nearly every day for half an hour or more.  I always felt temporarily better as I was driving home, usually humming hymns, but while I was sitting there I didn't particularly feel or hear the Lord.  I remember pleading, "Lord, please heal me; I'm so confused, I don't know what to do anymore."  But, you see, Jesus was close to me during that time, even if I didn't feel it.  Because I was with Him in the garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus surely suffered mental agony in that garden.  He felt abandoned by His apostles and friends (they couldn't even stay awake to be with Him and comfort Him), He was afraid of what lay ahead, He was tempted and taunted by the devil, and He also knew that even after He had died on the cross, many, many people would still reject Him and be lost.  If anybody knows what it's like to feel alone, it was Jesus in that moment.  And so, Shan, perhaps you are with Jesus right now in that garden?  Perhaps you are even closer to Him now than you were during your illness.  You needed those consolations during your illness--they may have helped keep you alive even.  But now that you are feeling better, perhaps this is a period of growth for you.  I prayed to the Holy Spirit to help me with how to answer your question, and so if you garner anything from this, it is from the Holy Spirit, not from me.  Anyone who believes in God, who is sincerely praying, and is trying to do God's Will, is NOT abandoned by God.  If anything, He is closer to you than ever before.  Hang in there!     
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Justicia et Pax
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 02:10:05 PM »

I don't think my scruples are a Dark Night of the Soul either because I am too new in my Faith.  (Been a Catholic for 17 years but really truly learning and living it for about 3 1/2 years now).  I think your depression could definitely be a factor in your not feeling God.  I'm trying to think about the times when I've felt God's consolation, and it usually hits me all of the sudden.  I will feel kind of "teary", as though God has touched my heart.  It is almost always when I'm reading Scripture (particularly certain Psalms and sometimes stories in the Gospels such as the Good Shepherd in John and the Sinful Woman in Luke), or singing a song at Mass (as I was nearing the end of my worst bout with scruples ever, I started crying while singing "Do Not Be Afraid".  It was right at "stand up now, walk, and live."), or when I am in front of the Blessed Sacrament (either in front of the Tabernacle or in Adoration).  I read through the Stations of the Cross not long ago and felt touched by the Lord then as well.  No matter how confused I've been, I almost always leave the church after having been in front of the Blessed Sacrament feeling better, at least temporarily.  I would suggest if there is any way you possibly can, try to visit a church and sit in front of the tabernacle for even a few minutes.  Just pop in and say, "Hi Jesus, I love you.  I want to be with you always."  At home, read a bit of scripture.  The psalms and the Gospels are good places to start.  Stay close to Mary.  Try to pray the rosary as much as you can, even if you can't pray it all at once.  Every day ask Mary to bring you closer to her Son.  I'm also thinking back to this summer when I was at the peak of my scruples.  I was so confused, and I felt I was in a constant state of sin  from nearly every thought that came into my head.  I remember one week where I went to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament nearly every day for half an hour or more.  I always felt temporarily better as I was driving home, usually humming hymns, but while I was sitting there I didn't particularly feel or hear the Lord.  I remember pleading, "Lord, please heal me; I'm so confused, I don't know what to do anymore."  But, you see, Jesus was close to me during that time, even if I didn't feel it.  Because I was with Him in the garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus surely suffered mental agony in that garden.  He felt abandoned by His apostles and friends (they couldn't even stay awake to be with Him and comfort Him), He was afraid of what lay ahead, He was tempted and taunted by the devil, and He also knew that even after He had died on the cross, many, many people would still reject Him and be lost.  If anybody knows what it's like to feel alone, it was Jesus in that moment.  And so, Shan, perhaps you are with Jesus right now in that garden?  Perhaps you are even closer to Him now than you were during your illness.  You needed those consolations during your illness--they may have helped keep you alive even.  But now that you are feeling better, perhaps this is a period of growth for you.  I prayed to the Holy Spirit to help me with how to answer your question, and so if you garner anything from this, it is from the Holy Spirit, not from me.  Anyone who believes in God, who is sincerely praying, and is trying to do God's Will, is NOT abandoned by God.  If anything, He is closer to you than ever before.  Hang in there!     

Thank you for your response, Veronica97 - the Spirit truly spoke to me through you and has reached out to me. I think you could be right about how I may have needed consolations during the worst of my illness. They certainly did keep me going and keep me alive!

Maybe this is what the Garden of Gethsemane feels like, as you say. There is no greater honour that I can think of other than keeping watch over Jesus and keeping Him company during that those lonely hours He spent there. So perhaps God is teaching me to be closer to Jesus by keeping me there with Him? Do you think that could be an accurate assessment of what is happening?

I think I have relied on consolations too much and the "warm fuzzies" that faith in God can provide. I always feel warmth when I turn to the Blessed Mother, so you're wise to comment that I should pray the rosary more and keep her close.

I often find peace at Adoration, even though churches trigger my psychosis. I might try and see what churches near me do Adoration. I don't think my parish church does it, sadly Sad My confessor is at a separate church though, and maybe his church might have it. I will look and see.

Thank you so much for your input - God bless you! Smiley
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Veronica97
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 02:56:10 PM »

I think your being in the garden with Jesus is a definite possiblity.  I cannot, of course, say for certain, as I am not a spiritual director.  The Blessed Sacrament does not need to be exposed in a monstrance in order for you to spend time with Him.  Our parish only has Adoration once a month, but I can go into the sanctuary (or the adjoining chapel) at almost any time of the day and sit in front of the tabernacle.  Jesus is in the tabernacle, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, just as He is present when He is in the monstrance for Adoration.  But if your church is a newer church, the tabernacle may not be in the sanctuary.  I certainly don't want to encourage you to do something that might bring on psychosis, so you may want to consult with your confessor and/or your psychologist first.  As you know, I am often nervous about receiving Communion, so I have been asking the Blessed Mother to cover me with her mantle, so that I may be more pleasing to the Lord.  I also ask St. Michael to keep the devil away from me.  Anyone else who is reading this might think I'm a nut, but that's okay.  I do believe it really helps!  That's why I try to stay close to Mary--the demons fear her. 
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Justicia et Pax
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 03:05:52 PM »

I think your being in the garden with Jesus is a definite possiblity.  I cannot, of course, say for certain, as I am not a spiritual director.  The Blessed Sacrament does not need to be exposed in a monstrance in order for you to spend time with Him.  Our parish only has Adoration once a month, but I can go into the sanctuary (or the adjoining chapel) at almost any time of the day and sit in front of the tabernacle.  Jesus is in the tabernacle, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, just as He is present when He is in the monstrance for Adoration.  But if your church is a newer church, the tabernacle may not be in the sanctuary.  I certainly don't want to encourage you to do something that might bring on psychosis, so you may want to consult with your confessor and/or your psychologist first.  As you know, I am often nervous about receiving Communion, so I have been asking the Blessed Mother to cover me with her mantle, so that I may be more pleasing to the Lord.  I also ask St. Michael to keep the devil away from me.  Anyone else who is reading this might think I'm a nut, but that's okay.  I do believe it really helps!  That's why I try to stay close to Mary--the demons fear her. 

I really love the beautiful imagery of being covered and protected by Our Lady's mantle. I might try that. Unfortunately last thing I heard was that my parish church is locked apart from Mass times, so you can't go inside unless there is a service on. This is due to drug addicts hiding in the choir area and using drugs there a while back. Things might have changed under the new priest though, so I will still check.

You know I did once get the feeling one Lent that God was asking me to walk alongside Jesus. So maybe that is what I am still doing, in the garden.

I will try and see if I can see my confessor/SD soon to talk to him about this Smiley

God bless you - thank you for your encouragement and friendship during this lonely, confusing time.

Smiley
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