How Can I overcome despair against hope for salvation
trust and perseverance is the way to life
Since we are so sinful and have such a difficult time changing, when some of us really learn how challenging it is to accept God’s saving mercy so to be saved, the evil one can cause us to despair for all may seem lost.
And we should be concerned, for if we don’t change, all will be lost. But that concern can’t become so great that we stop seeking God and/or dwell in despair.
God doesn’t love us, by enlightening us to the truth, just to watch us die in misery. No! He wants us saved through the truth.
We must open up our hearts to sincerely wanting to do God’s will from the first moment we know we must change all the way to our death. Then, following that will, God will guide us to Life.
Those who have a great desire to change, will simply know what God wills for them, have the strength follow through with God’s will, and then grow in faith one improvement at a time.
However, if our enlightenment to our misery is great, but our desire to change ins’t quite strong enough…this can be a big problem. Because without a true desire to amend, most won’t be able to hear what God wants us to do correctly, if at all and even if we can hear Him, we simply won’t have a strong enough desire to do what is necessary to change, since we will still have such little grace.
God Uses Our Failures
However, with each failure to amend, God desires to humble us. God will use each moment of our lives, if we allow Him, even our sins, to draw us to Him.
From our failures, God wants to increase our awareness of our great sinfulness, so we can hate our self, while knowing our unmistakable inability to resist temptation (lack of grace) and come to fully understand our great need for Him (His strength/mercy).
Many can’t understand how self-hatred can be good. Most think it leads to depression and a life of sadness. It can lead to that, if we don’t turn to God to be our everything, knowing we are nothing and need Him for every thought, word and deed.
For those with worldly self-hatred, that is fueled by self-pity (wanting to be something or someone we are not) not sorrow for sins, which leads to depression and death. But for those with a godly self-hatred that leads to a total surrender to Christ and salvation.
“Wherefore, when such a soul is deprived of the thing she loves, that is, internal [feeling God’s love] or external consolation [the pleasure that comes from the world], the internal being the consolation received from Me, the external being that which she had from the creature, and when temptations and the persecutions of men come on her [when she sees her weakness and inability to escape sin or be comforted], her heart is full of grief.
And, as soon as the eye feels the grief and suffering of the heart [from her failures], she begins to weep with a tender and compassionate sorrow, pitying herself with the spiritual compassion of self-love [tears moved from self-love/pride]; for her self-will is not yet crushed and destroyed in everything, and in this way she lets fall sensual tears — tears, that is, of spiritual passion [wanting her will/to be stronger and not God’s/accepting her weakness/turning to Him for her strength].
But, growing, and exercising herself in the light of self-knowledge (growing and working to understand her great sinfulness), she conceives displeasure at herself and finally perfect self-hatred [perfectly hating of who she really is].
FROM THIS [self-hatred] she draws true knowledge of My goodness with a fire of love, and she begins to unite herself to Me, and to conform her will to Mine and so to feel joy and compassion.”
–God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna
This full understanding and acceptance of our misery must burn in our hearts and true understanding of our need for God’s mercy must consume our minds, so we will desire to surrender our will perfectly for God’s. This is what God intends to bring from our failures.
Our failures aren’t meant to bring us to despair, but are meant to cause one hate ourselves so greatly, we will stop seeking our will and truly seek God’s help/guidance in literally everything.
Understanding how much we have inflicted Our Lord with suffering from our sins and what punishment we deserve and how little ability we have to amend, for those who believe God truly wants them saved (trust in Him), should cause us to leave all we desire in the world and only desire God’s will, so He can lead us to Life.
You see it is our pride (self-love) that rejects it all. Therefore, what is more effective in humbling a soul, letting them know they are unable to save themselves, than constantly failing to amend day after day.?
Such great failure can crush someone’s pride and can cause us to hate our sinful self to such a degree we won’t want to do anything on our own ever again.
Meaning we won’t desire to think one thought, say one word or perform one action from sinful impulse again…we will stop reacting and SEEK TO DO ALL THROUGH PRAYER. We will fully understand, without much grace (God’s help), all of our impulses are that of self-love (sin), not love of God through love of our neighbor…Then we will finally surrender our whole will to God’s.
God’s grace can do everything, which is the only way to Life, since we can’t follow Christ to Heaven if we are doing things our way. His way is what saves!
We Should Despair
However, if we aren’t learning from our failures, growing in greater hatred of our sinful self through humility, if we aren’t really seeking God…trying and trying with tears of desperation for help, yet we are just wanting to change but not really doing anything to get there, then we should despair against hope for salvation. Yes, we should despair!
If that lack of effort is the current state of our life, even though we know we must change, since we are in the Light rejecting Gods’ mercy, that leaves anyone without hope. No mercy–no hope. That is the perfect definition of death–rejecting mercy. Hopefully our despair over our impending doom will cause us to really seek out God.
If we aren’t really seeking God, nor learning, nor growing, and we don’t despair, then we are worse off than all of the rest. Without despair over our obvious doom, our blindness to the great judgement that awaits us from our attachment to sin has so darkened from our understanding–our fear of the Lord is so weak–unless we change, we are without hope/doomed. Horribly, even greater punishment awaits us for rejecting mercy through such Light…Oh, we don’t REALLY know of our great need for mercy and the eternal terror that awaits because of our great love for sin.
God Will Send Help
If we aren’t transformed from our failures into having a great desire to change, and we are still struggling from a lack of grace to change, but we are honestly seeking God, don’t despair, God will send us help. Unless His patience has run out with us, He will continue to call us perhaps with–a book, a person, an event, an illness, etc.
Something will cause us to want to surrender our sinful will for God’s.
But we must patiently look for God’s help. Go to God over and over–begging for mercy. Then let go of our pride to accept it when it comes.
Truly, don’t allow yourself to die. Look for how God wants to send you the grace and accept it. He wants to save you.
Need a miracle? Are you so far from grace? Remember, God is the deliver of miracles! Call on every religious person you know, the Mother of God, the angels and saints; pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00pm begging God for the grace you need to change, partake in Confession as often as you can, and go to healing Masses…keep on looking for God’s mercy. It is waiting for you, when God wills, how God wills. Just don’t give up…keep on looking.
If you are struggling with one sin, keep on removing other sins and growing; try to learn what God wills. Much of the time the reason one sin isn’t leaving is because God desires to teach us and/or amend other sins first.
Don’t Make the Mistake
However, most make the mistake most do, when we hear God calling us to repent and change, and only allow His call to reside in our hearts for just a moment; then it is all gone….and our hearts go hard all over again, as we ignore the call and go on living life just the same. This can be quite a temptation especially since it is so painful to constantly think of our eternal demise if we don’t amend our ways.
Please remember at any moment, God who is so merciful and patient with us, might lose patience with us, since we constantly refuse His mercy; This is true. Do not think God will constantly take our abuse of His mercy. Don’t squander God’s call…it might be our last.
“The more we have experienced the patient mercies of God, the more we ought to be afraid of continuing to abuse them, least the time of God’s vengence over take us.”
–St. Alpohnsus, Doctor of the Church
But if we can stay vigilant in seeking God’s mercy, always working to remember and grow our understanding of our misery and of our great need to change, we will see and receive God’s assistance to burn to change.
God Will Save US
When we finally receive that boost, from God’s mercy, to do what is necessary to change (lose our sinful will), no matter how miserable we are, no matter how many sins we return to, IF we truly turn to God over and over again…wanting to change, working to change the best we can (even if we fail over and over again), persisting until the end, God will save us.
We can be drowned in sin…desire countless sins, but since God wants us saved, He will see to it we are, if we TRUST IN HIM–trust all He allows is to help us grow in humility towards a saving faith–if we look to learn, then change and grow from God’s help; we will win the race to Life.
Even if we have such a hard time learning and changing, if we can do something to change for the better we can grow.
Little by little, with amending our ways, just one sin at a time…yes, just one incredibly small improvement is enough, as long as we are putting forth our best effort. Then after we fail to succeed we modifying our efforts to find success.
We must continue with this small improvement growing and growing into greater improvements (greater hatred of sin) until our death, then God will give us the grace to save us (to truly hate our sins). But we MUST be growing in virtue or we are dead.
See Lifting Our Values workbook (download on-line or buy), which can help you do just that, please look at our “How to Grow into the Image of Christ” so we can see our daily resolutions, progress and changes that we need to make and have made clearly in an organized proven to work method.
Don’t Become Self-Absorbed
Like I said, we don’t want to lose our need for change (understanding our misery) and persistence in seeking mercy, but the evil one can cause us to swing our thoughts out of moderation too. For some, I know it can be hard to not focus all of our thoughts on our sinfulness, but that isn’t God’s will. That can cause us to neglect our responsibilities from becoming so focused on our problems and wanting God that we don’t serve as we are called to serve.
Of course, we can’t correctly love others or perform our responsibilities well if we are drowned in sin. The main reason we should be seeking to amend our ways should be so God can correctly use us for the salvation of souls, but we don’t want to go over board in seeking help or thinking of our misery as we might neglect God’s will for us.
If we find ourselves brought into great sadness, even despair, over our inability to change, dwelling on our weakness does nothing…that is the evil one trying to cause us to quit and feel all is lost from self-pity. Truly, self-pity is another form of pride. Stay away from such thoughts.
To not allow our mind to become distressed, we need a perfect balance of:
- hating our sinful self,
- knowing our great weakness,
- knowing our great need for mercy,
- running to God for help,
- giving ourselves to Him as we live His will,
- TRUSTING IN HIM to save us…
…so He can transform us into His true children.
When we fall into despair from understanding our great sinfulness that is because we aren’t correctly balancing our thoughts of our sinfulness and death that awaits with that of God’s love and mercy that is waiting to transform us.
Remember, going to God for grace does something, but simply thinking of nothing but our weakness and demise does nothing but brings us down low. However, going to God for grace all of the time, when God calls us to serve Him is out of moderation too.
But most don’t tend to do this; most will seek to drown out our woes (to forget about our eternal doom if we don’t change) with the world. Then we fall even further away from God.
We must live for God’s will…striving for that, working to remove sin by seeking His help at all times, but not like I said out of moderation to where we are filled with despair or neglect our service to others.
Oh, the devil and his toiling to get us to focus our thoughts selfishly on ourselves, then we loose our purpose in life which is to know, serve and love God so God can bring us to salvation.
Trust in Him
This trust we need to have in God is what causes us weak, sinful souls, to pour out tears after tears on our bed as we cry ourselves to sleep begging God for mercy so we can amend our ways is good. But like I said, it can’t be done outside of moderation.
True trusting in God doesn’t keep us from praying, thinking all we be fine either, but trusting in God means we will persistently pour out great humble prayers (knowing our enormous sinfulness) to God begging for mercy (knowing He wants to save us)…understanding when He wills, how He wills, if we trust in Him, He will send assistance.
“I am wearied with sighing; all night long I drench my bed with tears; I soak my couch with weeping. My eyes are dimmed with sorrow [for my sins], worn out because of all my foes [all that causes me to sin].” (Psalm 6:7-8)
Remember, when God sends His assistance, don’t ignore it! He might not come knocking at our door with mercy again; we might have turned Him away for the last time.yet