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Julia wrote:

Hi, guys —

Thank you for your wonderful site. It has been very helpful in clarifying certain meanings of phrases and words found in the Bible.

I was baptized two years ago and pray the Divine Office and attend Holy Mass, sometimes daily.
I have been blessed with a saintly spiritual director as well. My question is within the [emotional/feelings] realm but I wonder if there is any spiritual good to the experiences I am encountering.

Despite the many confirmations I have received from God that He does exist and He loves me, many times I feel very alone, (even amongst others of like mind), distant, lonely, and orphaned from others and Christ. Other times, I receive a barrage of negative thoughts and I can't figure out where they come from.

  • Could this be satan?

I feel that there is something terribly wrong with me. I experience guilt and shame and have no interest in making eye contact with anyone. Many times I just hold my head down, even with those that love me. I am wondering if any of this is related to a certain type of progression on the straight and narrow path.

  • How could I change my daily prayers or practices to accept or diminish these experiences?
  • Is lack of contrition, sinfulness, or a stronger attempt by satan to distract me part of the answer?

God Bless you and many thanks for any relief God might grant me by your answers.

Ave Maria.

Julia

  { How can I change my daily prayers or practices to accept or diminish these experiences? }

Mike replied:

Hi Julia,

Yes! This is related to a type of progression on the straight and narrow path. You appear to be a very normal, practicing Catholic who is getting attacked from that bastard satan. The key for all Christians who find themselves in similar situations is to keep in mind:

  • attacks like these are normal for someone progressing in the spiritual life; this is why living the sacramental life of the Church (which includes attending Mass and Confession frequently) along with a good daily prayer life, is important
  • we are living in a world that is not our ultimate home; Heaven is, so we should keep our eyes focused on that goal.

There are many these days who suffer from depression and while we recommend those who suffer with depression seek counsel with either priests or doctors, there are important things both:

  • the Christian progressing in the spiritual life, and
  • those that suffer from depression

should keep in mind:

  • Thoughts of despair never come from God
  • Everyone was made for a specific purpose in life and is loved greatly by the Lord, even when we are sinning He still really loves us.
  • Finally, there is no sin the Lord will not forgive, except not allowing Him to forgive you; this is the sin against the Holy Spirit.

You may ask:

  • How can God love us while we are sinning?

Because He understands our struggles. Jesus, the God-Man was a man like us in all things but sin. As my colleague Paul has pointed out in the past, God never hates us, He hates sin and He hates sin because of what sin does to our souls.

Thank-you for the kind words about the site; I am fortunate to have a strong team of volunteer Catholic apologists who help me with this work.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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