What happens if I don't feel anything?

Fr. Bloom,

I somehow stumbled upon your web site while researching C.S Lewis's "The Problem of Pain" for my philosophy class. I'm a senior at a Jesuit high school in Chicago, and I can honestly say that this is the first time that I have ever visited a priest's web site. I want to compliment you on your ability to reach the youth. In a time when it seems that the Catholic church is experiencing such a terrifying weakness, it's good to know that some members of the church are venturing into modern technology in order to reach today's youth.

Also, I recently read C.S. Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters." I didn't see you mention it on your site, but I couldn't recommend it enough, especially for the doubting Catholic, such as myself. C.S. Lewis made me feel like a tool of the devil for questioning my faith, and he has prompted me to open my mind up to Catholicism once again. When Screwtape said that "religion in moderation is just as good for us as no religion at all-and more amusing," I realized that all the aspects of my faith are not consistent.

Lastly, I have one question. What happens if I don't feel anything? I constantly hear about other people who believe being full of God. I don't think I feel anything. It's a constant rollercoaster for me; the more I find out the more I believe, the more I find out the less I believe. Especially at church, I find myself just wanting for mass to end. Worst of all, I look at many believers, students at my school especially, and almost judge them as simply lying. I know its wrong on my part, but I feel like if you really believe, you would never treat people wrongly or cheat or do anything bad. My disbelief almost serves as an excuse for my sins. Any recommendations?

Chicago, IL


Dear Peter,

Thanks for the encouraging words. The most common cause of dryness and distraction in prayer is, as you sense, unrepented sin. (Judging others is a good example. I have spent many prayer sessions stewing over other people's faults and making exceptions for my own.) But aridity can also serve for purification. God wants us to love Him, not the feelings. Have you read Letters to Malcolm? In that book C.S. Lewis treats the kind of questions you ask.

You are in my prayers, Peter, especially as you discern what God wishes you to do with your life. If you could sometime say a prayer for me, I would be most grateful.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom


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