Which is Most Important? Faith or Feelings?

STEVE: True doctrines produce love, effections, and joy of heart. You can see this in Mary’s praise to God for being her Savior. David danced before God. Every Catholic mass I have been to, is still to me…..  I have yet to see the joy. This is confusing to me. God has done so much by forgiving us and bringing us into relationship with Him that gratefulness is good right? How do you express yours by singing, praying, kneeling and worship? I am really interested in how the Catholic Church functions. I am not Pentecostal or Baptist and there are times for reflections, liturgy and quietness before God. I like this about the Catholic Church and need more of this but there are also times for praise of God right?

BFHU: True Faith can produce love and joy of heart despite the circumstances of life. To hear the joy expressed at a Catholic Mass you must listen attentively to the words of the prayers, songs, responses of the faithful, and sometimes the readings of Scripture (depending upon what it is for the day). We are approaching AlMIGHTY GOD!!! THE ANCIENT OF DAYS!!! We formally ritualize a prayerful, thankful, praise of Our Father GOD. Asking THIS GOD to come and be present in bread and wine so we can eat Him, is too big, too important to leave to the puny efforts of each of us. And I love that I don’t have to try to drum up the appropriate prayers and feelings each day at mass on our own. It is peaceful and restful this way. Perhaps you are mistaking peace for disinterestedness.

The whole point of the mass is THANKSGIVING to God for what He has done for us. This is not about emotions. As C.S. Lewis said, they are an unreliable barometer of Faith. What is important to Our Father is submitting our WILL to Him. Choosing to DO what is right. We are under to obligation to FEEL a certain way. As Mother Theresa told us, despite her long life of self giving love, she was NEVER rewarded with feelings of Faith and certitude..images-2

Mother Teresa, who died in 1997 and was beatified in record time only six years later, felt abandoned by God from the very start of the work that made her a global figure, in her sandals and blue and white sari. The doubts persisted until her death.

The nun’s crisis of faith was revealed four years ago by the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postutalor or advocate of her cause for sainthood, at the time of her beatification in October 2003. Now he has compiled a new edition of her letters, entitled, “Mother Teresa: Come be My Light,” which reveals the full extent of her long “dark night of the soul.”

“I am told God lives in me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul,” she wrote at one point. “I want God with all the power of my soul — and yet between us there is terrible separation.” On another occasion she wrote: “I feel just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.”

THAT IS FAITH! Serving God faithfully for 50 years despite the fiery darts of doubt and abandonment from Our Enemy. Despite a long long Dark Night of the Soul. Was Satan happy with Mother Theresa? NO! What if he had convinced her to leave her work b/c she felt nothing?

As Catholics we are given permission to NOT feel anything and yet be assured that we can’t go wrong serving Our Lord in spite of a lack of feelings of love, joy, etc. It is what we DO that counts; not what we FEEL.

As a Protestant and especially since becoming Catholic, I have noticed that many of the evangelical/charismatic services are geared to engender feelings. Their women’s retreats are geared to make you cry several times a day. Why? Because there is an unspoken belief that if you don’t have the right feelings then maybe you don’t really have faith. Or if you can get people to feel something, it will be easier to convince them to commit to faith. So, getting those good feelings or feeling inspired reassure one that they must have true faith, after all. I am not saying that DOING good is unimportant to Protestants.  It is important. I am not saying that good feelings are worthless. They are wonderful, when you can get them. But, for many Protestants,  if they don’t have the Feelings also they are nagged by doubts and wonder if that means they are not really saved.

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