how can i regain my faith
we can begin to grow in holiness again
There is nothing more horrible than learning the truth, like this web site preaches, and coming to see how we aren’t with a saving faith and wanting to change, but not being able to.
From learning the truth, many of us realize we were once a person growing in faith. We had some kind of fire. Perhaps we didn’t know The Way correctly but at least there was a flame, and we were growing. But something happened.
Now, that we have learned some of the truth and gained some self-knowledge of our sinfulness and fear of the Lord, we see how our fire is now gone or down to just a smolder. Many are now flameless or lukewarm–not growing–and we can clearly see our great need to change.
Even though we believe we must change and maybe even feel an urgency for conversion, because God has blessed us with some fear of the Lord, but after we have tried over and over again–to at least regain what we once had–sadly we can’t even do that. Our efforts are all in vain–we just don’t change. Our fear of the Lord simply isn’t enough to move us.
Don’t despair. There is hope. I will explain clearly what we are doing wrong so we can begin to grow again and this time more correctly towards the Light.
“Though it is very difficult for a lukewarm person to amend, yet there are remedies, if only he desires amendment”– St. Alphonosus
Why We Lost Our Flame
First, we need to understand how we lost our flame so we don’t repeat what kills us.
Oh, the fire of a new convert or of a new calling is a beautiful thing. Remember when God first called you. Oh, what happiness and desire to live for God you had. If that fire was kindled properly and kept vigilant it shouldn’t have burned out or become practically nothing. It should have grown into an inferno of love for God…and it should still be growing and growing towards perfect love today.
When we were a new convert or had a new calling from God, we were excited and had a thirst for God. We read books from our littleness wanting to learn, went to different Church events and prayed much, wanting to know, love and serve God the best we could. Then we grew in knowledge and works and virtue (Christ like qualities: love, patience, generosity, modesity, etc.) from our humility.
But what happened? Where did the passion go? How come we aren’t growing? If we were, we should be a saint by now. What happened?
Well, we might still have knowledge and works and even be excited about the faith, but what happened to flame of love that creates virtuous growth? How come we aren’t becoming like Christ, loosing sin after sin into becoming a true self-sacrificing saint? After all of these years, after we have grown in our works and prayers, how come we still aren’t real saints? It is because our living flame is now gone or we are changing but it is ever so slowly from such a slight smolder of faith.
How did this happen? Oh, pride happened. That’s what destroyed our flame.
“You don’t conquer yourself [remove your sin and become saint], you aren’t mortified [full of self-denial and discipline], because you are proud.”
–St. Josemaria Escriva
Pride kills. As I have said in this web site, the devil sneaks into our good works, prayers and anything that could be in any way virtuous and tries to destroy them in the most hidden way.
If we aren’t looking, the evil one will sweep us away from anything truly good and snuff out our flame. Our desire to know, serve and love God will be replaced with doing all seeking self-love, but we won’t see it. Then we will think from our prayers, works and gifts from God, we are in fact proof we are holy, when we are far from it. Our pride has blinded us.
Some have been humbled enough and now recognize our loss of faith, but we simply don’t know what to do to recapture it. Some will try daily, but in vain, building up despair. Or so to not live in despair, we look for happiness with the world to replace God whom we lost. If we continue we will one day forgot God’s love all together and loose everything.
How Pride Snuck In
There are three main ways we lose our growing/living faith:
- Lose humility (think we are now a holy or good person; don’t know our true sinfulness and need for mercy)
- Stop doing virtuous things that were meant to help us grow in faith
- Left sin unrepentant/unchanged
Oh, when we begin to find God, like I said, it is a wonderful thing. For some it is better than others but for most it is a very joyful time of life. God blesses us with gifts we can really see and feel. But these gifts, which were supposed to have excite us on towards wanting to more perfectly love God, the devil tries to use–if we aren’t vigilant–to sneak in and fill us with pride causing us die (go to Hell).
Loss of Humility
For many of us, once God blesses us, we begin to feel like we are some kind of privileged holy person because we have received knowledge, success, a healing, talent, or anything from God. Then we loose much or all humility–knowledge of our sinfulness/understanding of our need for mercy–thinking we received such gifts from God because we are holy.
Now, because our heart is proud, we stop looking for God through humility, wanting to learn and change through His grace. We now approach God thinking we are “experienced,” or better than others. We don’t approach God humbly, knowing our littleness and true need for Him. We seek to gain more knowledge, do greater works and pray better prayers because we secretly love to be “above” or at least seen as “holy” or a “good person” to others and/or ourselves. Ah, our pride has gotten us.
But because the devil tricked us so well, we don’t see this evil living within. Then we continue to think we are faithful from God’s blessings, our knowledge, works and prayers, but God is simply wanting to use them to serve Him and to inspire us to love Him in return (stop offending Him).
As a result, what was meant to help save us, is now a tool of the devil, used to destroy us. Now, from our blindness, we think we are walking towards Christ but we are really walking away from Him and consequently, we stop growing in virtue: qualities of Christ–towards becoming a true self-sacrificing saint (which should have been our goal).
Neglect Virtuous Acts
There is another way the devil sneaks in and steals our souls from our self-love (pride). He makes something of the world seem more important than God’s will. Then we neglect to do some of the religious things (prayers, works, etc) that were needed to help us grow, and we begin to become attached to our will and fall from God’s love, through the sin of neglect.
Each virtuous act we do sends us grace to move forward towards Life and when we neglect something of faith (God’s will), we are rejecting the grace we needed to keep our fire growing. And from the lack of grace, we now fall further and further away from Him.
Live with Unrepented/Unchanged Sin
Lastly, our flame can be destroyed by non-repented sin. If we don’t make a custom of examining our conscience at least once a day, we can sin greatly and not notice the evil we have chosen. Then from living in darkness to our crime against God grows. When we don’t repent, we unknowingly loose bounds of grace and so much grace our flame can even burn out.
But for most, who are living with hidden unrepented sins, even though we are blind, we might continue to pray (even often), serve God (even greatly) and gain “knowledge” (even become a theologian) but we lose wisdom or never obtain wisdom, which results in our struggle to grow in true holiness. From this unrepented sin, we will either grow very slowly, stay the same or become even more deprived of virtue, which is the case for most.
Many have greatly fallen way from God and are counted amoungst the cold–the flameless, who don’t attend Church anymore. But please don’t think they are the worst offenders of God. No, if we live with hidden blindness, still participating in the faith but not truly, like sadly most of the faithful, horribly, we are the dreaded lukewarm–who God loathes, who profess we are Christian, attend Mass, etc., but we don’t honestly seek to live the true faith from our great lack of humility.
To the surprise of many, the flameless will have an easier time rekindling our faith (fire) than the lukewarm, because it is hard, oh so hard for the lukewarm, who do so much in the Church, who feel we have a great relationship with God and feel so blessed, to realize just how miserable of a sinner we really are.
Truly, even if the lukewarm can realize we have lost our burning flame, honestly seeing themselves as the misery we really are is quite hard. And from this lack of true humility, we will reject the grace we need to begin to grow again or to grow at a rate that can obtain a saving faith.
“The evil of pride is difficult to recognize and therefore much to be feared.”
–St. John of Avila
I believe most of the saved are the ones who were the greatest of sinners, because prior to their death or at the moment of death, great sinners are more easily able to humbly look at their entire life and see how they didn’t truly live their life to love of God. After their conversion, they are able to see themselves as the true misery they really are and repent with true sorrow for all of their sinfulness and change and keep that sorrow deep in their souls–even sanctifying themselves on earth–so to accept God’s saving mercy.
But the rest of us, who have seemingly less grievous crimes, don’t understand we are just as unworthy of Heaven, and from presumption and much pride, we have such a hard time coming to the great humility that saves…because we simply don’t see our great sinfulness too, since it appears less in the eyes of the world. Therefore, if we haven’t committed great crimes against God that we are aware of, please realize we might very well might be allowing our pride to blind us horribly. Beg the good Lord to give us eyes that can see. Once humility is gained, everything will change.
There is a man who committed a most heinous murder. After he was caught, he allowed his conscience to open and developed such a beautiful contrition for his crime against both God and man. His repentance appeared very genuine (hopefully it was), and I prayed he could keep that intense contrition for his sin and extended it into the entire rest of his life’s sins. For I saw that man as one of the few who could humble themselves enough to accept God’s saving mercy and Live. He knew his misery. He had great humility.
If we could only see our slightest venial sin as the most heinous murder against Perfect Goodness, instead of allowing our pride to make us into something we aren’t, we would accept God’s transforming and saving grace too.
We shall never, during this life, be able fully to comprehend the entire malice even of a venial sin” –St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church
Satan, the Deceiver of the Whole World
Without a doubt, pride snuffed out our flame, but the devil does this in different ways for different people. He deceived us and sneaks into our lives differently but all with the same goal…to own our souls. Below I will expand upon some of the ways the devil steals our souls:
- We think since we are now experienced in the faith, have increased knowledge and wisdom, we are doing well; when we don’t realize just how little we still truly know and immature in the faith we really are.
- We no longer want to please God alone (or even mostly), but want to prove we are faithful and/or accomplished in our works…to win friends, gain support and earn praise. Our pride won’t allow us to be seen by others as anything but a good person. We won’t tolerate false judgement of ourselves.
- Have allowed our ministries, prayers, preaching the truth, whatever talent/blessing God has given us, etc. to become a means of boasting and now perform righteous acts for vain glory.
- We want things to go our way, and when God allows a crosses to enter into our life (suffering/challenge) we don’t want it. Our pride rejects God’s way, and perhaps becomes angry with God. We seek to get our way, remove our cross against God’s will, refuse to learn, change nor trust in God to make all crosses good.
- We fall deeper in love with the world and its pleasures and neglect God to care for worldly interests,
- We don’t want to obey God in our next step in conversion and choose to do what we want and sin greatly.
- Committed a great sins but didn’t see it; therefore never repented of the sin and consistently lost grace until we were so far from God we stop growing.
Most people actually suffer from all of the above, but one of them started our plummet downward, and we kept on falling and falling further away from God, because we just didn’t see the devil sneak in. Yes, from the infinite injury of one sins, all it takes is ONE great prideful/sinful act, and we can reject enough of God’s grace, to where we simply can’t gain it back.
Our addiction to sin becomes just too strong. Truly, if time goes by and we still don’t see our sinful ways (repent and change), we will have rejected so much grace we can’t stop rejecting God’s grace for self-love, from the horrible sinful habits we have now acquired, and from our blindness and lack of humility we simply won’t be able to figure out how to grow again.
Also, I want to mention, there are some, who have always had much pride, who never (outside of being a child) considered themselves little–needing to learn much and needing God’s great assistance. From the instant God called them, they felt privileged and looked down upon others.
God still tolerated them and their pride, and helped them grow, but it got to a point when God’s patience with them (trying to get them to see their misery) wore off and He allowed them to suffer without His help from their refusal to see. Sadly, many don’t see their great refusal of God’s love from their fantastic pride.
Grow in Humility
If we can’t gain some humility, real humility, that will cause us to grow, we will die an eternal death.
Therefore, if we aren’t changing or if we are changing so slowly, we know we lack much real humility. All it takes is ONE humble cry to God and we will receive enough grace to move forward. But horribly many of us who are very proud are stuck feeling self-pity, not humility when we see our sinfulness.
So if we are stuck not growing in godly qualities, no matter what we like to think, we lack humility so greatly we are rejecting all of God’s helping mercy that is there waiting for us to help us change.
I want to caution everyone, especially if we have grown in knowledge from reading this web-site. Just because we have enough humility to see The Way more clearly than we had before, does’t mean we have enough humility to move forward and grow towards living the faith and into a saving faith.
The amount of grace we need to obtain a saving faith is fantastic; we simply can’t allow our pride to reject most of God’s help during our life and think we are somehow going to humble ourselves enough at our last hour to accept His saving mercy. How foolish we would be if such a notion would cross our thoughts.
Yet, the devil wants to trick us and have us think, because we can see we are without a saving faith we are now humble and on the Way to Life. But that just isn’t so. Knowing some of the Way and that we are lacking a saving faith and doing what is necessary to obtain a saving gaith are two very different things.
Knowing the Way and losing presumption of salvation is of course needed to obtain Eternal Life and it is quite a gift from God to finally be able to see, but receiving this gift and not having it move us into growing in virtue towards a saving faith only leads us to greater condemnation.
If our priorities aren’t changing into Godly ones of selfless sacrificing…choosing to be hungry, tired, in physical discomfort, etc. to serve God through our neighbor, if our hearts aren’t swelling up with sadness and pity for those who still suffer greatly from a lack of grace, if we aren’t removing one sin at a time growing and growing in the image of Christ, no knowledge of the Way will save us. We need humility. Please read the article, “How Can I Gain Humility.”
But the problem with great blindness is we think we are selflessly sacrificing, we think our hearts have understanding and pity for others, and we think we are without much sin. Oh, we just can’t see. To learn more please read, “How to See My Sins.”
Plus, we should know, some of the blind will focus on the time they did grow, not the fact that they aren’t growing today. We could be someone who has amended bounds of sins and grown in wonderful virtue, but if we are now stuck and not growing, continuing our same sins over and over again not growing into God’s image, we are just as dead as the person who hasn’t even begun to amended one sin. We have come to our stumbling block…to what we refuse to see and amend, so we reject God’s grace and don’t continue to grow.
Remember, just ONE unrepentant/unchanged sin loses it all.
Rekindle the Fire
To grow again, we must begin slowly. If we try to do all of the things we used to do or even most of them, all at once or more than we can handle (from a lack of grace), we will certainly fail.
From a lack of proper (humble) prayer, works, etc.–we don’t have all of the strength nor the good habits we once had, which is how we obtained grace, when we did religiously and correctly perform our pious acts and were removing sin.
Even though we might have been blessed to have been humbled to where we can see we need to change, if we intend on changing, we must humble ourselves even more. But some of us are so stubborn and don’t want to grow into becoming faithful once again starting from the beginning. We want to obtain it instantly–like we never denounced God and went another way, start doing all we used to do.
Oh, we will try and try and try to do what we once did before we lost much grace and fell away, repeating the same failed attempts day after day after day simply because we won’t stoop low enough (humble ourselves even more) to begin our faith development from the very beginning (if necessary)–like we never grew at all.
Yes, some might have to start at step one if we wish to grow again into a saving faith. This can be especially humiliating if we are esteemed as quite religious. But if this is where the reality of our faith is, then reality is where we must accept and grow from. Lacking humility and not being honest with ourselves and aiming for what we can’t do won’t accept produce change.
Neither seek what is too difficult for you…A stubborn mind will be burdened by troubles, and the sinner adds sin to sins.” (Sirach 3:21;27).
We must change or we will just be piling sin upon sin. But some of us won’t have to start from the beginning, especially if we know how to run correctly and haven’t been away from God for very long. It’s like learning how to ride a bike, even if we haven’t done it in a long time, we will still know how.
There are two reasons why we don’t grow quickly towards Christ:
- Lack of grace (from a lack of desire–lack of fear of the Lord),
- Lack of knowledge of how to obtain Christ (from a lack of grace and a lack of correct direction).
If we have the knowledge, especially if it is from personal experience, we have half of the battle already accomplished. But of course without grace, we can have all of the knowledge in the world, and we still won’t move. We need grace. We need a real desire to move.
If we have successfully acquired enough skill (grace) in the past to bike great marathons (to grow greatly in faith), we might have lost the strength (much grace) and good habits, from stopping our sport (coming to our stumbling block or not repenting of a sin, etc.), and we won’t be able to immediately start up where we once were, once we gain a real desire to race again.
Where we start will depend on how long we have been away and how many habitual sins and attachments (sin upon sin) we have acquired since we left God’s Sacred Side. But even if we have been away for some time, most didn’t lose the knowledge of what we need to do to run the race well, making the path for us to travel easier.
Therefore, the more we did correctly before we stopped running the race (growing in virtue), the better off we will be that is if we can gain humility and a real desire to run again. But we all still need to begin at an intensity we can handle, depending upon the desire we have.
Then, before long, if we train correctly (advance in faith correctly) growing at a pace good for us, we will be biking marathons again (growing into our wonderful faith we once had). And if we persist in growing correctly, we will become the gold winner…a perfect saint–if it is the Lord’s will.
You see, we have responses in faith similar to that of any athlete, with any sport. If we are still able to compete in the sport, even if we haven’t participated in our sport for a while, we will be able to achieve what we once did again and go for the gold again too, if we work for it.
We might not be able compete like we used to immediately, since we lost much of our strength from atrophy, but we can surely regain that muscle much faster than someone who has never had the strength, because of muscle memory, and since we already know the correct steps to gain the strength to race well.
Like I said, anyone who was once faithful can successfully run again no matter how long we have been away because all we need to run the race to Life is Christ. He is our strength, stamina and power. He keeps us young–in spirit–for the great challenge ahead .
However, not all of us have correctly run the race to Life before we stopped growing. For many our training in the faith was poor, broken and incorrect in many ways. Therefore, we might need to re-learn much of The Way correctly. Sometimes this can be a big problem as unlearning wrongs and replacing them with rights can be hard since we are creatures of habit. But if our wrong knowledge doesn’t hinder us much, we can advance more quickly than someone (with the same desire) who doesn’t know anything at all.
But I have to tell you, if we really want to grow, all we need in ONE humble cry to God and wonderful grace, so much grace, will be sent. It will feel like we never left God. He will give us that boost we need to really have the strength to change. God’s love is so unfathomable. He will bless us most wretched sinners, who have left Him for sin, if only we truly seek Him.
God’s grace will increase our ability to run the race to Life, and if we don’t fall from temptation into delighting in our sins we seek to rid, we will fly to God’s Sacred Side all over again. Sure we might have acquired additional habitual sins from leaving Him, and we now have to work hard to remove them. But we will feel God’s most merciful love all over again. He will guide us and strenghten us just like it used to be when we were wholeheartedly living to suffer and sacrifice for love of Him and the salvation of souls.
However, like I said, if we never knew The Way correctly (how to run the race properly) in the first place, we will have to learn it and depending upon the grace we have (the desire we have), we will most likely need to learn and grow slowly. Have patience.
Therefore, unless we have finally humbled ourselves and made that truly humble cry to God and are firmly resolved to surrender it all and become a saint, and have received much grace, we must move forward one humble step at a time, adding one simple prayer a day–something so slight, removing one slight attachment or even just reducing our partaking in an attachment so we can make and keep one resolution to stop one easy to amend sin (if we lack the grace to amend a more serious sin). Then grow ever so slowly, because some growth is better than no growth at all. And in time, after more grace is accepted with the more correctly following Christ, we will be able to grow more rapidly.
I describe the correct foundational steps we should take to have proper faith development in the article “How to Become a Saint.” Please follow it to begin to grow again and more correctly so God can save our souls.
When following these steps, if we find ourselves failing, run to God, His mother, the angels and saints in prayer and read a motivational Bible verse or verses.
“Oh, my brethern, pray Him to give you the heart to seek Him in sincerity. Pray Him to make you in earnest. You have one work only, to bear your cross after Him. Resolve in His strength to do so. Resolve to be no longer beguiled by “shadows of religion,” …Pray Him to give you what Scripture calls “an honest and good heart,” or “a perfect heart,” and, without waiting, begin at once to obey Him with the best heart you have. Any obedience is better than none…any religion that does not bring you nearer to God is of the world. You have to seek His face; obedience is the only way to seeking Him…It is hard to attain it [a heart ready for Christ when He calls us]; but it is woeful to fail. Life is short; death is certain; and the world to come is everlasting.” –St. John Henry Newman
With our faith development there will be growth, obsticles and digressions. We are only dead in faith when we fail to learn from our failings; when we don’t over come our obsticles, and when we don’t begin to grow again from our digressions. It is our lack of positive change–over a reasonable period of time–that proves we are the dreaded lukewarm.
Stop Our Life
However, if we tried the means I suggested above and have still failed to move, then we are in a horrible state and must become little, very little. Our proud hearts must become crushed.
We must look at our efforts to try to amend and grow and see our constant failures and realize we are doing something very wrong. We must know, because we have rejected so much grace, now we are dead. Yes, dead. Very dead.
Our chronic failure is a sure sign we are on the path of the damned. It doesn’t matter how many good works we have or how much we pray, if we can’t grow in virtue by imitating Christ and continually remove sin and grow in conformity with God’s will, we are very dead.
If we had any faith to move (faith of the saved) going towards the path of Life, we could so something. But we can’t. We belong to the devil and with the damned. Don’t sugar coat this. If we die in this state we choose eternal torment…guaranteed. Plead to God for one more day to find Him.
To get past this stage in life. We need to stop our life….go off to the doctor and see what is so horribly wrong. We can’t die!
A lot of times we can’t see what is so wrong because we are so caught up in sin, which makes seeing our great illness very challenging. We are seeking our will so greatly in our daily living that we can’t even see our great failures to obey. Yes, if we don’t have enough grace to even move, we have great failures…severe mortal sin.
If we stop everything…literally everything…like we are terribly sick and in the hospital, because we are, then we might be able to see.
St. Anthony Mary Claret, has written a book “The Golden Key to Heaven” that is written for someone to perform over a 10 day period for an hour a day to help move us from our lukewarm life of death to Life. This is a good meditation based on St. Ignatius of Loyola spiritual exercises. They are a great start of we can’t leave everything and stop our life. We just need to find one hour a day.
But for most, when we are so caught in the devil’s deadly trap in our lives, we are so over come by the distractions from our daily living, we can’t even find an hour daily to give to God. We might for one day, or maybe the next but then we are done. Frankly, if we are this dead in sin, we are most likely going to need more than an hour a day to uncover our sins and make a successful plan on how to change. Therefore, we have to leave everything.
Don’t delay, find someone to do your job, find someone to watch your kids and go find a hotel next to a Church somewhere (preferably somewhere nobody knows you) by yourself where you can spend time…lots of time with God looking into your life. You will look at what you want from your life and where it is going and what you need to change, and then come up with a real plan that can be lived outside of the retreat.
If you have to run back home or to work to do this or that, you will loose sight of the goal. If you can take a vacation for pleasure or sick days for illness, then take a two – three days for spiritual sickness…as you are dying. (three days is best–day one is really part of a day, day two is the full day, and day three is part of a day too)
When picking a Church to pray at…do your research. This is important. It is best to find a Church that has nice grounds to pray on, is open at least during the day and has an adoration chapel (24 hr preferred). The Church must have daily Mass (twice a day (morning and evening) is preferred). Find the best Church you can.
A priest needs to be available to hear your confession each day (if possible–especially day two and three). This needs to be scheduled before hand as relying on finding a priest when we want one is not an easy task and our day can’t be spent searching for a priest. We want to do this the best we can as daily confession is very beneficial. Call the Church ask them who is the best confessor–some opinion sometimes is better than none at all–and then schedule a confession with a priest for each day. If the priest won’t hear your confession other consecutive days, and gives you some other reason why you don’t need to, don’t worry, just do the best you can and trust God with the rest. That is faith.
“Contrition and confession are the first way of conversion to God” –Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweeden
This is a retreat….alone with God to save your soul.
This retreat can also be directed under the guidance of a spiritual director and done in groups which is good for those who lack much self-discipline, can’t follow directions well or must have the motivation of another to perform the specific pious acts of the retreat. But the retreat will be done in silence. We won’t fill our need for affection and attention with anyone but God. There will be no talking with other participants only the director. There are instructions for both.
These instruction are available for you to download, print out and take with you.
Click here to download PDF version.
You can also buy the instructions for the retreat in the booklet “Redeemer–Save My Soul”
First, before plans are made to attend the retreat purchase “The Golden Key to Heaven,” by St. Anthony Mary Claret and “How to Obtain Perfect Contrition” and its “Meditations” by Lifting Our Values. They will be used in this retreat. Lifting Our Values sells them and they can be purchased on Amazon too. Please, don’t rely on obtaining any info from the internet or any electronics during this retreat; they are off limits. If we need to call someone, we can use the phone in the hotel room. Say good buy to our distractions.
We are off limits to everyone. Let our family and friends know how important this is to our lives. Let our worries go….trust in God. Let Him be in control.
This is going to be a retreat like none other. Don’t book some posh hotel with a great room and food to stay in…book one in a safe area but no thrills….live like Christ would. We simply can’t learn to follow Christ and obtain Heaven if we keep on living life enjoying the pleasures of the world. We must learn how to live our faith.
I will provide how we can open up our hearts to God through mortification of our desires–rejecting our comphy bed for the floor (unless we are elderly or can’t sleep), denial of yummy comfort foods, giving up our entertainment, consolations with family/friends–everything we do that takes away our precious time from knowing, serving and loving God, so we can finally love and hear God, and accept His grace so to save our souls.
We can do this at least for a few days…eternity is everything. We must learn and obtain enough grace to begin to change….or our eternity will be in indescribable torment if we don’t.
When Everything Still Fails
If after this life changing retreat, we simply can’t repeat at least some of what we learned and did or if we never actually did what was necessary during the retreat, then apparently we haven’t fallen hard enough, lost God enough or hit rock bottom so to gain enough Fear of the Lord to move us. Many simply are so strong willed, it takes great punishment and suffering for some to finally relent their will and chose to live to Love God.
Those suffering with such a horror, I pray God sends exactly what we need and that we see His great gift and finally become so broken, we can’t do anything but give it all up to live for Him alone.
One sin might have caused us to fall. We might have even removed that sin or it is no longer a problem for us. But because one sin leads to others, from our weakened state, we now have fallen so greatly and are delighting in so much evil, without restraint, without true desire to amend, we are not able to move.
God’s help is waiting for us in confession and the Holy Eucharist, but we can’t receive it…since we don’t truly desire to amend. Look at what the Mother of God says.
“The four bars [that keep us from God] are four sins that exclude many people from the participation in and the goodness of the strength of the body of Christ [to help them take away their sins].
The first sin is pride along with the desire for worldly honors. The second is the desire for worldly possessions. The third is the repulsive lust to fill the body up intemperately, and its utterly repulsive satisfaction. The fourth is anger and envy and the neglect of one’s own salvation.
Many people have an excessive love for these four sins and possess them habitually, which takes them very far away from God.They see and receive the body of God, but their soul is as far from God as thieves are when the way to what they want to steal is blocked by strong bars.”
–Mother of God to St. Bridget of Sweden
All it takes is great love of ONE of these sins…not truly wanting to rid it from our life…and we can be rendered immovable. If we aren’t moving, and yet tell ourselves we want to stop sinning. We are only lying to ourselves. For sure we are loving at least one of these sins so greatly we simply refuse to do the next step–we won’t do what is necessary to move forward at all to change and grow in our faith.
If we can see how we refuse to amend one of these sins, don’t automatically assume we don’t desire the rest…oh, our love for sin could have grown so great we don’t truly want to amend any of them.
Seeing the sin which is our first stumbling block can be challenging especially if we don’t have a good awareness of our sins or know what sins are. We might not be able to understand how, wanting praise for our good words or seeking our spouses love, for example, is the “desire for worldly honors” but it is. If we can’t examine our conscience properly to what sin is keeping us dead, we will die. We must come to see the sin…at least the first sin in our pile of stumbling blocks. So we can remove the first to get to the next.
Honestly, the first stumbling block is probably the very sin we decided we were going to trying to amend first…the one we feel really pulled to amend, but we are stuck…not changing. We need to learn why we keep on committing that same sin over and over again. This can be a complicated process as I describe in the book “Remove the Obstacles” since most of us aren’t good at being honest with ourselves and intentionally cover our sins.
For example, lets say the first thing we are trying to do to grow in faith is give God our first fruits in the morning (pray before anything else), but we keep on giving it to the TV/computer instead. Then we need to ask ourselves what is so great on the TV/computer that we can’t surrender it to love God above all. Oh, the reason is probably much more than we are willing to admit. This is what we must find.
God has given us the first movement–the thought that we need to change–but from not having any real desire to amend, from still liking the sin, we can’t take the next step and have met our stumbling block. God won’t force us to move, we must desire it. This same pattern of behavior can happen over and over again from one sin to another if we lack a firm resolve to amend.
We will over come one sin and then we will suffer the same battle with the next. Or we will over come the sin one day, and then when temptation comes again, we lose all we gained all over again. Without much grace we still can’t move.
Some of the time it is our pride that trips us. God will so mercifully and send us much grace to assist us, then we will think we are so strong with God’s power because we feel His assistance. But the reality is, we are still so weak.
We are feeling the “surface” grace on our souls which is prevelant as we feel God’s great strength to reject sin and love Him. However, we have not turned completely to God and unknown to us, we still have a desire to return to the evil we have done. And it is this desire that isn’t allowing God’s grace to penetrate into our souls…our soil isn’t good for accepting grace. So we can’t grow.
The first time or shortly after we turn back to God and we are tempted to partake in the sin or attachment we secretely long for, we might not fall into the sin and partake in the sinful act or attachment but we will turn back longingly wanting the sin.
We are like Lot’s wife, who turned back to Soddom looking with desire for evil again. We can only praise God He doesn’t turn us to a pillar of salt. Sadly God grace which we experienced was given to us and we simply wouldn’t allow it to penetrate into our souls and once temptation came we washed it all away. We need infused grace, grace we allow to consistently dwell in our souls from truly wanting to turn away from sin. This is how we can truly change and become saints.
more coming soon
GodWantsYouInHeaven.com is under construction and needs to be edited and parts still built. However, this site is left open to the public so, if God wills you to visit, He can still encourage you to strive to surrender your life to live for His will alone for the salvation of souls.