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“Ask a Priest: What If I Can’t Feel God’s Love Now?”
Q: Years ago I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I lost that love when I committed a mortal sin. For the last 10 years I have been begging God to fill me with his Spirit so I can be in love with God and enjoy being holy. Back then I couldn’t wait to attend Mass daily, and I felt such peace in my life no matter what was going on. I have been going through the motions, attending daily Mass when I’m able, reading only spiritual books, praying the rosary every day, and using my Pietá prayer book daily. I’ve heard priests say that God is waiting to give us his love if we ask. I have been begging! I’m starting to lose hope. I know God loves me because he helps me daily, but why can’t I feel that special love again? I’ve been a good Catholic since then, or so I’m beginning to wonder that maybe I’m not so good! Or that God would make me holy! I also pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet in front of the tabernacle when I can. Any suggestions for me? Thank you. – G.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: For now I’ll assume that you were able to get to confession after that mortal sin and that you have kept in a state of grace. If that is the case, you are on the right path.
That sense of being filled with the Holy Spirit might have been a spiritual consolation that God allowed to help you draw closer to him. Consolations and good feelings are OK, but they aren’t the most important thing in the spiritual life.
From what you describe, it sounds as though God has allowed the consolations and good feelings to fade. He hasn’t done this because he’s given up on you. He might simply be trying to wean you off the good feelings and help you to sink a deeper foundation in your spiritual life.
Growth in the spiritual life isn’t measured by feelings. It is measured (as far as it can be measured) by our depth in prayer, our frequenting of the sacraments, and our growth in the virtues, especially charity.
If you have been attending daily Mass, reading spiritual books, praying the Divine Mercy chaplet and being “a good Catholic,” then those are signs that you are growing in the spiritual life. Moreover, if you are doing all this without the consolations and good feelings of the past, that is even better. That shows that you are making a firmer act of the will to pray and to witness to your faith.
In short, it’s good to stay the course. Perhaps you might seek out a regular confessor and/or spiritual director who could guide you further.
And try to be attentive to those nudging of the Holy Spirit. He might be asking you to go further, such as by getting involved in a Church project of some type.
For more reading about what you might be facing in prayer, see When the Well Runs Dry, by Thomas Green, SJ.
To keep going deeper in your relationship with Jesus, The Better Part might help you.
Count on my prayers.
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Sometimes God whispers and does not shout. Go to a peaceful place like a church or a room or outside. and listen to silence and sit and invite God to be with you and pray to him
You have confessed your sin? but have you prayed and prayed for the one(s) you hurt? have you forgiven those that might have been involved in the sin and have you prayed for them? And have you forgiven yourself? sometimes that can be hard to do. Ask God for guidance ask him to walk with you through this time of confusion.
Pray to Jesus to heal you. And pray to Our Lady too.
Stillness and finding harmony is good. Perhaps feeling so holy might have been affecting you ? maybe if it continued you would have felt superior? or you started getting an ego? maybe it is not for you at this time, but might be again and if not then find the calm in your storm and find peace in prayer. To be filled with the holy spirit and to be aware of it in the way you felt before is something that some will never experience to have it once is a great joy something that you can always remember, this was a lovely gesture from God to you and you have the memory of it.
Put it in God’s hands it is up to him not you he is the Father and he knows what is right for you and his timing is his own. God will give you what you need not what you want.
Take peace and happiness knowing that he loves us all. God the creator who made us loves us, how amazing and lovely is that? So love him back and do you best to not wonder from him again.