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Friday, May 24, 2013

Feelings come, feelings go: loving God anyway.

by Amanda Rose

Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP via Flickr

St. Francis de Sales observed two common mistakes among spiritual people. "The first is that they measure their devotions by the consolations and satisfactions that they experience in the service of God; so much so, that if theses are lacking at times, they feel that they have lost all their piety. No, this is nothing but a sensible devotion."  

We usually think of "sensible" as meaning "practical," but in the spiritual life it is used to describe something that is experienced by the senses, through our bodies. Sensible devotions are sometimes called consolations and may be feelings of love, tears of contrition or joy, sensations of warmth, or other spiritual delights He gives us as beginners in prayer to encourage us and to help us to understand His love for us.

St. Francis is describing souls who feel like they have lost their devotion to God when those good feelings go away. Many of us have experienced this very real pain of thinking that we no longer know God, that He is gone, that we are doing something wrong. But St. Francis says, "The true and substantial devotion does not consist in these things, but in having a will that is resolute, active, prompt and constant in not offending God and in fulfilling all that which appertains to His service."

We begin our spiritual journey drawn by our feelings, and then we must use our will to make choices that can at times be like engaging in a battle with ourselves. It can be so hard to really believe that prayer, our relationship with God, is deeper than than the feelings we have or the consolations we experience. Our feelings and emotions so often create our reality, but God is calling us beyond those feelings to allow Him to create our reality anew.

Read about the second common mistake at Amanda's blog  Little Steps Along The Way.

1 comment:

  1. I did read this full post on your own blog, but came back to comment here ... to say that this is one of the most understandable, clear and readable writings on the subject of "feelings come, feelings go" that I think I've ever read. Thank you for putting it so well. Thanks be to God!


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