So I've been going to perpetual adoration... - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-10-2010, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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for a few weeks now and I still am not feeling anything.

Any advice? Book recommendations? Anything?

I am praying for guidance and beginning to wonder what the problem is? I a,m actually starting to feel more doubtful now than ever. It's frustrating because everyone told me the opposite would happen once I became an adorer. I want to grow strong in my faith but now I am starting to think the catholic church might not be for me.

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Old 07-10-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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Not Catholic, but my family is. From observing them, feelings/emotions don't seem to be the mainstay or foundation of their faith. For them, it's True. And if it's True, it's good, regardless of their their emotions are at any given moment.

Do you have a spiritual counselor? I know that my mother's years of being counseled by a priest who was also a professional counselor helped her work through many of her emotional issues in how they related to her faith. And the religious that we've known have always been extremely honest people, not prone to making lofty promises.
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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I am not Catholic. I am Orthodox. So we believe in the real presence in the Eucharist and all that but we have nothing like the Adoration thing you are tlaking about And honestly I don't get it. But my faith is not based on emotions. There is no way feelings of love and devotion would well up in me. I would just be bored out of mind and then feel like an idiot when I had to take my wondering thoughts to confession.

I don't think your lack of enthusiasm here is any way a good indicator of your faith level.

It sounds like you have some underlying issues though. That go way beyond lack of emotion over the bread. I would schedule some regular meetings with your priest,. be sure you are participating in the sacrements of confession and the receiving the Eucharist regularly (like seriously go to confession a lot and really dig deep). I go to confession every couple of weeks (and there is nothing spectacular usually but I go as a matter of obedience) but what is evenbetter is that I get a chance to sit in the sanctuary (nave) and chat with my priest about this and that. he is getting to know me well and can better lead me. I recieve the prayers of forgiveness which is my favorite thing ever. It is such a sweet and tender thing in the Orthodox church...... I love it. it restores me. and I recieve the Eucharist every week I can (I am only able to make it to a full liturgy every other week and will not receive if I come in after a certain point but I still try to make it to part of the service and recieve a blessing on my lunch break.) Oh and as a practical not we have walk in confession on Saturday after vespers or by appointment. I always make an appointment so I am committed. I always find an excuse to bail after vespers. And I get nervous with all those people milling about. are they judging me harshly because of how long or short my confession was? I find it more of a commitment to schedule it.

Anyway. that would be my advice. Don't beat yourself up about the host adoration thing. Emotions are not everything and if you aren't feeling it, who cares. it is not about our feelings anyway. Don't try to force feelings. and try to participate in confession and the Eucharist very very regularly. More than you think you need to even if it feels like you have nothing but the usual suspects to bring to confession. And meet regularly with your priest or spiritual father/mother. Let them instruct and encourage you. Pray. go to church. keep the fasts and holy days. don't rely on emotion.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 07-12-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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This is an aspect of the "popular" way the Catholic faith is practiced that I sometimes have real difficulties with - a strong emphasis on this kind of emotional response, through adoration, or imaginative meditation on things like Christ's passion, or even personal revelations. I think in many ways it is similar to the emotionalism one finds in certain Protestant groups.

Which isn't to say it is wrong to feel emotional over these things, but going to them seeking that emotional experience is to miss the point, and can even be spiritually dangerous.

But spending time, at adoration or elsewhere, in prayer is almost always a very positive thing, no matter what feelings you have or don't have. Continuing even without any feeling of connection or progress may be even more worthwhile that doing so in response to such things. This is like the real work of love we have in a romantic relationship once the first glow is gone, but it is this work that leads to the real dividends.

Also, prayer is in one sense simple, but there are ways we can sabotage it. It might be useful to get some direction if you think that may be an issue. Or try something very simple, like the Jesus prayer.

It sounds like you were having difficulties because of doubt? Prayer is a good idea, but you may actually have to address the cause of the doubt, depending on its nature.

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Old 07-13-2010, 02:20 AM
 
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I also want to add that I was in no way trying to demeen what you were doing or the practice of Adoration. But you shouldn't do it for the emotional ride. Because it most likely won't come. Do it for the right reasons if you do it but don't expect emotions to do the serious spiritual work you sound like you are looking for. There are no short cuts.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 07-13-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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Attila, one beauty of Catholicism is the feast of experiences available to you to enrich and grow your faith in the One.

It's possible that Catholicism is not for you, but even more likely is that Perpetual Adoration is not for you.

Feeling emotionally close to the Trinity comes and goes even to the most blessed among us. Even Mother Teresa had dry spells.

I think this is much of why the term "practicing" Catholic is so useful. It is the doing that brings us closer.

Maybe you are not called to sit and pray, maybe you are more a "To work is to pray" kind of person. Maybe praying the hours instead? God needs all kinds of gifts in the service of the world's people.

"All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall well" Julian of Norwich
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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As a Catholic I don't know personally anyone who goes to Adoration for "an emotional high". My own understanding and experience is that you are going to kneel, sit, stand and sometimes if you feel called prostrate yourself in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. You go for intimacy and knowledge of God. To be available and to carve out time to be in God's presence in a unique way. There are many times when I find myself experiencing a great cloud of prayer at Adoration that I enter as soon as I arrive. I experience the grace and deep peace and presence of God and sit with that with no thought other than to be in God's presence. Just like when you want to be in the presence of any person you love and/or want to know better.

At other times while I am there my prayer-time is quite arid and I don't have experiences which Catholics call "consolation" where you know deep in your soul and in your experience that God is with you. However, we do believe as others have already said so well on this thread that God's presence is the same. My sensations, emotions or thoughts make no difference to the reality of God.

Therefore I always take my bible and some spiritual reading of other kinds and if I don't find myself receiving the grace of contemplation at that time I kneel in silent conversation with God and then sit and read during my time there. I have also gone to God at these times when I was upset or angry, fearful or even bored and distracted because I believe God cares about me and my life and I never find that time wasted, quite the contrary. It always bears fruit in my life in some way and I'm sure ways I am not aware of. I've known people who like to write letters during Adoration because of the grace they believe they receive and the peace that it brings.

Personally I love physical and sacramental aspects of Catholicism. The use of the senses, the beauty, smells (incense), sounds and ritual movements all give me a rootedness in my faith. I find the faith very welcoming to the female way of experiecing the world. The popular devotions are popular because they have many, many layers and depending on your experience of yourself and your life at that moment speak to you in many ways. I find popular devotions and places of pilgrimage feed my faith.

Remember that all forms of prayer are a gift. If you find yourself in deep contemplation that is a gift of the Holy Spirit. If at others times you feel as dry as a bone and even the most simple vocal prayers feel like hard work and a chore this is still grace. The form of prayer you use does not make you "more holy" because it doesn't come from you but from the Holy Spirit praying within you and you can't take any credit for it. Some of the most saintly people I know constantly pray the rosary and meditate of the mysteries of Christ, which I personally find hard work. But that is the grace they have been given. As one wonderful priest I know says "Pray the way you can, not the way you can't". In other words do what is working for you in your relationship with Christ.

One aspect I do love about the Catholic church is after 2,000 years you can find every kind of Christian spiritual expression within it and almost certainly books and a canonized Saint to guide you in that path to Christ.

I would also recommend a spiritual director.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:36 AM
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I love going to perpetual adoration, but I did not like the guided visualizations that some folks recommend for that -- they were too cheesy for me. What worked for me was to bring some Scripture passages that I selected ahead of time, and to reflect on those in Adoration. A simple prayer that helped me a lot was the Divine Praises. I suggest talking to your priest or the person who organizes Adoration for some ideas that could help you. But maybe this isn't the best type of spiritual expression for you -- I agree with Duchess that there are many other paths in the Catholic tradition that could be meaningful to you.

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Old 07-14-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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From what my quick Google search tells me , Perpetual Adoration is not really meant to elicit any particular emotional state. The purpose is more a fulfillment of responsibility to the Host and to the parish community. A devotional feeling is nice but not necessary or expected. Roman Catholics, am I right about that?
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:08 PM
 
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My understanding regarding Catholic Theology is that emotions are not good or bad they just are. They are a normal part of human experience. We can't control our emotions but we can control our will. Our will is what makes us unique as humans and when we decide for God with our will then we are in relationship. Catholics have a strong belief in free will.

I remember hearing a great sermon by a Franciscan father who said when we give our will to God satan cannot reach us. The only way he can make us change our path with God is through our emotions so we change our will. We do not believe in predestination of any kind. We believe we can choose for God or not for God at any time. That is why spiritual habits are so important. To pray as soon you wake, talk to God and be with God in all your work and play. All life can be sanctified, sacramentalized.

In terms of "devotional feelings" we know they exist and are part of our experience and sometimes we are graced with them as a comfort from God a "consolation" but we cannot rely on them alone. I do not go to the other extreme either where emotion and spiritual ecstasy are frowned upon. In a balanced life and that includes the spiritual life there is a time for spiritual highs and joys. To go LOOKING for them and chasing after them as the only valid expression of spirituality is suspicious however. A mature spirituality will hopefully understand that faith is based on much more than that. Spiritual highs are not part of the criteria the church uses for Sainthood for example, instead it is "heroic virtue" that is holy. Virtue in the face of life with all it throws at us, constant faith, hope and love.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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Attila, going back to your original question, Adoration is an optional devotion. Many people experience great grace and I'm sure your time in Adoration was not wasted and God will bless you for your desire to know Christ better.

However, if you are really not enjoying this devotion I would do something different, especially if you are not even Catholic. Are you in a parish RCIA group? What is your personality like and what is attracting you to Catholicism?
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Not Catholic, but my family is. From observing them, feelings/emotions don't seem to be the mainstay or foundation of their faith. For them, it's True. And if it's True, it's good, regardless of their their emotions are at any given moment.
This is pretty how I feel. I go to Adoration when I can to have some quiet time in the presence of Christ. I don't expect to feel or experience anything. I think it's wonderful that many adorers do, but I never really have, and I don't think there's anything "wrong" with you if you don't. I don't think that means you shouldn't go, I would just re-examine your expectations.

I know Christ is there, and that's what matters the most to me. It's nice if I have a spiritual experience, but that's not why I go and it has nothing to do with why I believe in the True Presence.

I remember reading about one of the St. Therese/eas (I can't remember which one!) Anyway, after she would leave the Church and the Presence of Christ, she would mark a tally on the wall outside if she did NOT feel Him there "one for every day You were not there" is how she put it, I think. She did that every single day for something like 7 years. So for 7 years she didn't feel His presence, but she kept going, and she's a great Saint of the Church. I always think of that whenever I feel discouraged because I haven't had a spiritual experience or felt moved or something for awhile. What I feel doesn't matter as much as what I know.

I'd also point out that the process of conversion really leaves you open to dark spiritual attacks.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just some clarification: I am not a new Catholic, I spent the first 20 years as a devout believer and the next 15 as a confused searcher. I've been back to the church for awhile now.

I am most definitely struggling with doubt. Mostly struggling with feeling God's presence and love.

I didn't join Perpetual Adoration for an emotional high. (yikes) I didn't even mean to imply that. However, I was told by a few people that adoration is such a powerful experience and a powerful way and place to pray and I was let down to realize I didn't feel the presence. Which led to more doubt.

I am not going to stop going, not yet. After I posted that the next adoration I went to was different, but I am too gunshy to explain.

I realize my free form "wah" wasn;t clear - I guess I was hoping that someone would offer up what they do while in adoration and their personal experiences with it?

I don't relate to the complaints of "emotionality" and a likeness to Protestant religions. Our church si actually very emotional, beautiful, sacred, alive and and active and that is what I love about it.

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Old 07-15-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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Attila, delightful that your experience was transformed. God's funny that way!

Glad the Presence was present!
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Old 07-15-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Oh, I usually just go and do a rosary Or read a theology book.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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It is so hard to really convey spiritual matters over the internet, isn't it.

When I read your question I didn't think you were expecting a spiritual "high," but I know why people assumed that. Many people think that is the point. I am at a Steubenville Conference right now...if you know nothing about it, the breif explanation is that is is an emotionally charged spiritual experience for teens. The emotional aspect can get so hyped that many kids walk away feeling let down because they didn't "feel" anything. We have to constantly remind our teens that everyone experiences God differently and that he speaks to us in the way that we need to be spoken to. My husband for instance during intense prayer services speaks in tongues. That is totally uncomfortable to me, I just don't get it. But, he experiences God that way.

I hear God in the silence. That's actually why I like perpetual Adoration so much. I'm often the only one there, I can speak freely to God with no distractions. For me, going to Adoration is the most peaceful place on earth. I can sit and listen to Him. I usually bring my Rosary and say a decade or more. I often bring some sort of prayer book, where I can read a short passage. But, often I take nothing but myself and just cry out to him. My prayers are simple..."Jesus, I give you my burdens." "Jesus, comfort me." I also often do a simple breathing exercise...nothing weird or anything, just exhaling my pain and inhaling the Holy Spirit. "Come Holy Spirit" is a common prayer for me. I also have been really liking the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

I would love to hear more about your journey of faith and what in particular you struggle with. I think so often we carry these burdens alone when so many are strugglign with the same thing. You can PM me if you want to talk more.
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Old 07-18-2010, 04:19 AM
 
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Having read the whole thread including your updates... first, I wish our church offered adoration at all, much less perpetual adoration. I haven't been in years, and I went the last time they offered it.

Anyway - what I would do at Adoration? Pray some prayers of thanksgiving and gratefulness, maybe a couple of pre-selected readings from the day, ask silently for guidance on any difficult issues (not that I ever receive 'answers' from that!).

I didn't "feel" anything about the experience, but I do feel it's a time to be uniquely close to God physically and a good time for quiet spiritual reflection.

Mom of 7, ages 13, 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, and 2.5!
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