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“Ask a Priest: Is God Mad at Me?”
Q: I’m not super religious, never have been, but every now and again I do seek guidance from God. I had a bad childhood. My mom dated a man who was horrible and extremely abusive. He even sent my brother to the hospital once. I asked God every day to take that horrible, disgusting lowlife out of our lives. Instead, it went on for seven years. And lately, now that I’m older, I’ve asked God to help me find my soul mate. Instead, I constantly get men who see me as nothing but an object and use me. I don’t dress provocatively. I’m not a flirt. I don’t seek negative attention. Yet, I get a lot of this negative attention. Lastly, very recently I’ve become very sick. I have heart palpitations, I have chronic nausea and have trouble eating and am in bed sick most of my time. I’ve asked God to help heal me, help me get well. Instead I’m getting worse with each passing week. My question is, is God mad at me? Is there a reason my prayers fall on deaf ears? Why won’t God help me? Thank you, in advance for your time. -E.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: I am sorry to hear about your situation. From what you describe about your experience with men, you deserve better as a beloved daughter of God.
God is not mad at you — of this you can be sure. He created you out of love and only wants the best for you. The greatest sign of his love is his willingness to send his Son to suffer and die on a cross for us.
The Almighty did give us free will, so that we could freely love him. Unfortunately, too many people misuse their free will too often — witness the men you describe in your e-mail.
As a woman you have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. Again, unfortunately, the wider society hasn’t cultivated those sentiments in men. The rise of pornography and general filth in the media has promoted the idea that women are objects of pleasure.
None of this implies that God doesn’t hear your prayers. He does. And my guess is that he is already helping you in lots of ways. Strange as it might sound, he allows suffering in our lives in order to bring out something good.
So what can you do in a practical way?
First, I would encourage you to read the Gospels. There you will learn about the Man who loves you more than anyone does. Jesus is the perfect man, and his treatment of women might resonate in your heart.
Second, you might want to try to network with people who will respect you and love you. You might consider getting involved in volunteer work, such as helping at pro-life crisis-pregnancy centers or visiting shut-ins in your neighborhood. Feel free to attend Mass at a Catholic parish, though you cannot receive Communion. Perhaps just hearing the readings and the homilies can enrich your soul.
For more reading, see John Paul II’s 1988 letter on the dignity of women, or Peter Kreeft’s Making Sense Out of Suffering.
I hope some of this helps. Count on being included in one of my Mass intentions.