If so, you are not alone. Most people have been there at some point in their lives, as sloth ("lethargy for spiritual things") is considered a deadly sin. Sadly, 70% of Catholics do not go to mass on a regular basis, which is evidence of the prevalence of sloth in our society.
It can be a really, really tough sin to overcome. Father Barron said that pride, envy, and anger often result in a collapse that leads you back to God. However, sloth can make you stay right where you are without anything big to bring you back to God.
What is the antidote to sloth? Father Barron said it's zeal. It's having a sense of God's presence, an excitement about your faith, and an attitude that you want the Lord to send you wherever he wants you to go. One of the things I just love about Father Barron is the fact that he keeps reminding us in his videos over and over and over again that we are so loved by God. He constantly tells us that in this very moment of life we are being loved into existence. Not only that, but God has a special plan for us, and he wants his love to flow through us so we can accomplish something big that only we can do! A unique plan for every person.
Just reflecting on that is so encouraging! Read through the following quotes. It's hard to not be filled with zeal for God, your faith, and your life when you reflect on these truths!
"The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to the truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creation."
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you."
- Jeremiah 1:5
"For I know the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope."
1. Pray - We have to pray by not only asking for God to reveal his will for our lives, but also be open and ready to for his answer. "When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)
2. Read Scripture - Don't just read it to read though. Read it and ask the question - what do you want me to do, Lord? Again, be prepared for an answer!
3. Spiritual Direction - Find a spiritual director who will guide and advise you through your struggles.
4. Mass - Go to mass! That is the heart of our faith as Catholics. Just put yourself in the presence of God and pray.
5. Practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy on a regular basis. The corporal work are feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, burying the dead, and giving alms. The spiritual works of mercy are instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, advising, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, forgiving, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead. If you pick some of these and start practicing those on a regular basis, God will show you where you are meant to be in this world. He will highlight your strengths and help you to see his plan more clearly.
Thomas and I also feel like sometimes you really just have to fake it til you make it. Make yourself go to daily mass. Make yourself read the Bible even when you feel like there are a million other things you'd rather be doing. Even if you are just doing it halfheartedly, God will meet you where you are and will bring you what you need. Whenever I make myself go to Bible study when I don't feel like going, God sends me a message that really encourages me, and I end up being so glad that I made myself go.
Also, just remember that ultimately we will not be satisfied unless we live out our lives to glorify God. No matter what you try to fill your time with, fulfillment comes from him alone.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”
What do you do to get yourself out of a spiritual rut? What makes you feel full of zeal?