A good way to overcome this doubt is to stop looking for validation, because the very search for it tends to make one feel even worse. As long as you have surrendered yourself to God and are doing all the Church requires of you, there is no need to search for sensible consolation. God does not require us to feel holy, but to be holy.
This is what a man in his early twenties learned. He was a very dedicated Catholic, but wondered whether God was pleased with him, which brought about much depression and anxiety. He wrote,
Lord, I am beginning to feel that awful state of depression coming over me again! I lose all desire for prayer because You have seemed to turn a deaf ear to my cries. My distress grows from day to day…My God, do not let this despair of mine continue…This faintheartedness and lack of faith is frightening.
However, this young man came to the realization that he would find peace of mind by ceasing his search for it. He replaced this search with prayerful surrender to Divine Providence, writing, “
I no longer look for comfort from either Heaven or earth. You, Divine Master, can judge whether such are necessary for me. I propose to worry no more over the aridity You send me. You, my God, are the font of both aridity and grace.
When the search ceased, he found tranquility and peace.
Who was this young man? The first canonized American male: Saint John Neumann.
Trent Beattie lives in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of the newly-released book on scrupulosity, Scruples and Sainthood: Accepting and Overcoming Scrupulosity With the Help of the Saints, and he selected the daily meditations for Saint Alphonsus Liguori for Every Day.
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