| By Father Joe Waters

Reignite Your Faith Life

August 25, 2023 | Father Joe, I am a cradle Catholic but often feel I am just going through the motions at Mass. I have friends who seem on fire with their faith. How can one become more devout and passionate about faith? How do I reignite my spiritual life after many years?

Please know you are not alone. Many Catholics can relate to your experience at some point in their faith journey. Often, one senses an “ebb and flow” in passion for the things of God. Moments of spiritual dryness vary in duration and intensity and can discourage and agitate us. We should not lose hope but take courage. Your question reveals you are already on the right track. Recognizing that you are feeling spiritually dry is insightful. While disturbing, these feelings can also motivate one to seek more time in prayer and worship. Awareness of spiritual struggles is itself a grace. Once aware, it is easier to rejuvenate your spiritual life.

Stay Centered on the Eucharist

Focusing on the Mass is helpful. More attentiveness to the Eucharist is a great way to begin a spiritual renewal. Drawing close to Christ’s abiding presence in the Eucharist will spiritually nourish and refresh your faith journey. Actively participating in Mass can be a fountain of grace, leading to a more heartfelt sense of God’s love and providence.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Believers should avoid comparing their life of faith to others. Comparison is seldom fruitful and can lead to deeper discouragement. We cannot see into another's heart or know their unique spiritual struggles. The devil uses comparison to ensnare us by stirring a spirit of competitiveness, jealousy, and envy in our hearts. We can become harsh on ourselves and others and overlook the positive things we are doing. In other words, the path to perfection becomes the enemy of the good.

Don’t Give Up

When you feel like you are merely going through the motions, you should stay faithful to spiritual habits like attending Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and daily prayer, even if you don’t feel like it’s making a difference. Staying the course in dryness allows God's grace to break through and helps us progress spiritually. Also essential is bringing our spiritual struggles into God's light by relating our discouragement to the Lord in prayer, asking for the grace needed to overcome our lack of zeal for Godly things.

Speak to Someone Trustworthy

We also should disclose our struggles to a confessor, spiritual director, parish priest, or another wise, spiritual person. Sharing interior struggles with trustworthy guides frees us from fear and empowers us to confront our struggles directly and with more energy.

Follow the Rules

St. Ignatius’s Rules for Discernment gives the believer some powerful tools to address spiritual dryness and discouragement: The rules promote:

  1. Increased prayer, examination of conscience, and suitable penance.
  2. Greater trust in our power to resist temptation.
  3. Cultivating humility, patience, and gentleness to break spiritual discouragement's hold over us.
  4. Understand struggles as opportunities to grow in faith, deepen personal conversion, and mature in the ways of Christ.
  5. Recall moments when you felt God’s closeness intensely and were on fire in your faith to reawaken your sense of how God labors to love and provide for you, his beloved child. Any one of these tools will help.

Learn More

Father Timothy Gallagher has written two books that can help rekindle your spiritual life in challenging times: Overcoming Spiritual Discouragement and When You Struggle in the Spiritual Life. His books can be found at Catholic Book Stores and on Amazon.

Father Joseph (Joe) Waters is Judicial Vicar and Censor Librorum of the Diocese of St. Petersburg.