Need some book recommendations
Hi everyone,

I'm not sure if many people remember me...It's been a long time since I last posted in any discussions.

I've been struggling with some really heavy doubts/scruples/anxiety/depression for more than a year now- partly a spiritual problem, and partly psychological, I think. To get right down to it, I think I started getting scared of God.  By that time, however, I was already anxious about everything, so looking back on it, it doesn't seem very surprising that my faith would be affected as well.  It got worse, though: I started having these doubts about the very existence of God, something I've never experienced before. What if God didn't exist at all, if He was just some kind of coping mechanism, if He was (as my uncle likes to say) "a grown-up version of Santa Clause?" Oh, my goodness- all of that prayer, all of those visits to the Blessed Sacrament, what if they were just me "talking to myself" all along?! I'd been seriously considering a religious vocation, for goodness' sake, things were great, I was a reasonably confident person in many aspects of my life. And now here I was (and am) having these consuming doubts, on some serious anti-depressant medication, and struggling with the crushing effects of my all-encompassing anxiety (for perspective: it took me about four months to get up the courage to walk to the end of our rural driveway alone to get the mail).  I'm torn between doubts whether God even exists (I'm terrified of going to Mass, looking up during the Elevation, and hearing that little voice in the back of my brain hissing: "That's nothing but a piece of bread, and all of this is meaningless.), and the idea that nothing I ever do will be good enough for Him, that I'll never be able to be...faithful enough.  I remember a couple of years ago, after a homily about the Gospel reading: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me," etc., my priest said: "This is what we'll be judged on!", and I went home and burst into tears, thinking: "I've never volunteered in soup kitchens, or taken homeless people into my house, or visited prisons....God's going to see, He's going to see everything that I haven't done, and He's going to send me to hell!  Nothing about my spiritual life or my desire to get closer to God matters at all, because I haven't done this kind of community service, and if that's really what matters I'm done for."  That's the kind of hopelessness that I'm facing at the moment.

So here's where Fish Eaters comes in (finally, right?!). I need some recommendations for readings/meditations on God's love and mercy. Something straightforward and readable. I've read The Story of a Soul, and Divine Mercy, but St. Therese and St. Faustina had such confidence in God, and I think that's where I'm lacking too.  I can't seem to relate to them. They were so faithful, and here I am hardly wanting to leave my house!

I can't talk to my local priest about this because he has never helped me much, and seems so busy that I can't bring myself to bother him with my spiritual life.

I've never been such a mess before...scrupulous at times, probably a little too overzealous, but never so miserable and struggling with such basic concepts of faith.

Sorry about all of the rambling. I do feel a little better, though, just getting it out. :)
You say you have never tried community service or helping others and so are scared. Ever considered rectifying this situation in some manner? Seems the obvious choice in this situation.Perhaps u r being called...

God is merciful no doubt but we are called upon to help to the best of our capability even if only amongst family
There was a thread on here about scruples a few days ago.  Read that.

Now as an objective observer, I'm telling you to give yourself a break.  If you have a medical/psychological condition such that you can't even walk to the end of the driveway, please don't beat up yourself over any doubts you are having.  It is like someone with the flu missing Mass.

So keep it to a simple, intellectual Faith.  One saint expressed it as "I WILL believe."  Or keep it simple and pray "Lord, I believe.  I renounce my doubts."

And please go to Mass when you are able.  I'll post the threads.  The other was about demonic assault, and the need to laugh at it.
Scruples Thread

Demonic Assault

Maybe PM the posters of these threads for advise how they handled it.  I put up the second link because you mentioned you were considering a vocation.  Which may invite temptations.  Still, your medical condition explains a lot, if not all, of your problems.
Also AD medication has been known to exacerbate anxiety and induce suicidal aspect to look at perhaps.
Quote: God's going to see, He's going to see everything that I haven't done, and He's going to send me to hell!

Yep, that's a demonic temptation right there. 

Forget about those thoughts from now on.  I want you to change how you look at things.  First have a good laugh that you fell for thinking God was out to get you and trip you up.  That is pretty funny, once you think about it.  God who loved you, and shed His blood out of an infinite Love for you, and crushed a bunch of loser monkey demons, is now laying traps for you?  Setting the bar too high?  It is down right funny.  Actually, I'm even laughing.  It is silly that God would be out to get you.

Instead, think instead of ways to love God back.  Instead of thinking of all the trillions of things you CAN'T do, or even WON'T do, like for example visiting lepers on a pacific island somewhere, think of ways you CAN and WILL love God.

Try this.  Say: "Jesus, I Love You".  Clink clink.  Did you hear that?  That was gold.  In heaven.  Waiting for you.  In an infinite, eternal NOW, you will now ALWAYS ETERNALLY have that act of love with you in heaven.  YOU CHOSE TO LOVE GOD.  That is a treasure of infinite value.  And all you said was "Jesus, I love you."  Clink, another deposit in heaven.  How about helping around the house?  How about an I Love You to someone?  Do this to love God, and you are loving God.  It is really that simple.

And if you can do other things, do them.  But always find out what you CAN do and WILL do and leave the rest to someone else.  And certainly helping out in the community is a great way to love God.  Or just volunteering to clean up in Church after the pot luck lunch.  Small simple things add up over time to a massive treasure for you.
Read this:

Then this:

And please listen:


Pax Christi!
It it times such as these that the greatest graces are achieved by perseverance.

Simple and strong words are the best I have found during these times.

I recommend the Imitation of Christ and Introduction to the Devout Life.



You can buy them as well.

Also, I recommend the The Secret of the Rosary. It contains examples of real people being saved, people who are not models of virtue.

Someone recently posted an excerpt from this book, which I intend to get, but I have not read it fully. It is called "The Glories of Mary":

What James said about not being able to walk to the end of the driveway is true.

Remember:  God is merciful, and He's not a jerk.  He is not going to send people to hell because they didn't work in a soup kitchen when they can't get to the end of the driveway.  Remember the Widow's Mite.  We give God all we are capable of, and that's enough.  If you are not capable of going to a soup kitchen, He won't count it against you.

Also, as people mentioned, if you have that level of anxiety, you should get help if you haven't already.  You don't have to live like that.  It may be difficult to overcome, but with help you should be able to get your mail, go back to Mass, etc.

Maybe pray the Divine Mercy chaplet and ask for consolation.  There's nothing wrong with asking Our Father for a hug.  It's not my cuppa, but many Catholics have this devotion:

And don't forget Our Lady.  If you're scared of God, run to her.  Everyone goes to mom when they're afraid of dad.  Ask her to pray for you and to intercede for you so that you have faith and confidence in God, and only a holy fear not a crippling one.

You know, I'm big on killing two birds with one stone.  Maybe what you should do is get help with your anxiety and offer the suffering and struggles doing that up to Christ.  Fight your problem for the love of Him that you can serve Him better, and offer your sufferings with His on the Cross.  That would be giving a lot to Him, and it would make you better able to serve Him.

An Ave for you, and it's good to see you back!  :) :pray:

P.S.  Coping mechanisms don't create the Universe and die on the Cross.  God is real.  You know it in your heart and soul, I know you do.  The doubt is mental.  Don't let your mind get the better of you, especially when it's obviously in a fragile state with the anxiety.
Thanks so much, everyone, for your kind advice. I'll definitely try to put it into practice. There's just no one around to give me this kind of reassurance. The state has something like 2 percent Catholics, and my priest is busy taking care of two parishes visiting the nearest state prison once a month, and running some kind of inter-faith summer camp. Besides, we don't see eye to eye ever since I started wearing a chapel veil and he started giving me a hard time about attending a Latin Mass while away at college. So I really don't know where to turn, and it got really overwhelming.

Thanks again.  :)

P.S. I'm definitely going to be looking into some therapy/counseling.

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