Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Double Yoke Syndrome - Lack of Faith

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

As long as I look at myself, my eye is filled with bitterness. But if I look up and fix my eyes on the aid of the divine mercy, this happy vision of God soon tempers the bitter vision of myself.
                                                                                  St. Bernard of Clairvaux

In the first part of this series I wrote about how despair over circumstances, ourselves, or other people may stem from a need for the virtue of hope. I stated, "Half the problem with feeling doubly yoked is what we believe about ourselves and others mixed with what we may not believe nor trust about God." Here in this next post I'd like to tackle this second aspect of feeling "doubly yoked", a lack of faith in the goodness and mercy of God.

 You can see how this would be a huge obstacle. How can we give ourselves to someone we don't completely trust?

We can start learning to trust by throwing out our false ideas of who God is.

No more believing in an ineffectual God that smiles benignly down upon his people, rarely interacting, never intervening. God is a god of power.

"I AM"

Then Jesus approached and said to them,"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me."                 
"And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world."                 Mt 28:20

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty."        Rv:1:8

No more believing in a lightweight God who dispenses"cheap grace" when the mood strikes him. God is generous and grace is rich and freely given.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."                           Lk 11:9

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest."      Mt 11:28

"From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace..."                    Jn 1:16

The necessary grace is there waiting for us. Jesus assures us of this truth.

If what He is saying holds true then why may we feel "doubly yoked" at times? Where does the problem lie?

With us. The problem lies with us.

We lack faith and therefore have trouble receiving.

We block grace through our unbelief.

"If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

"O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"                       Mt 14:31

When temptations to doubt plague us we can push them aside, refusing to trust our own thoughts rather than God's thoughts.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.          Is. 55:8-9     ( Ch 55 - An Invitation to grace - Beautiful!)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; in all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.              Prv 3:5

In this way, we overcome the tendency to doubt. We place his ways above our own.

We boldly approach the throne of grace.

So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.           Heb: 4:16

Confidently, because we are relying on Christ's merits, not our own. This is where people get confused at times, they confuse confidence with a lack of humility. Truthfully, it is the opposite. When we approach God, we are trusting in his goodness, his love, his merits. 

Humility seeks help, pride runs away from it. And what walks hand in hand with pride?

Despair. Once again we come back to despair - that hefty beast that is too heavy to carry. This is why, as I mentioned in my last post, faith, hope and charity are so necessary - they are the three vital virtues that keep our feet firmly on the path of salvation. We cannot do without them. So let's humble ourselves, ask the Lord for the help we need to carry our crosses, and believe that He will answer our prayers.

Let souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy, because the abundance of grace which I grant them flows from My mercy. I desire that these souls distinguish themselves by boundless trust in My mercy. I will provide them with everything they need to attain sanctity. The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is - trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is my desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts.            Our Lord to St. Faustina, Diary of St. M. Faustina Kowalska -1578


  1. Yet another brilliant post Mary. You certainly set us thinking. Thank you.

    There are, in my mind, two types of lack of Faith. There are those who don't believe - period. No Faith whatsoever.

    There are others who have Faith, who are good Christians (whatever that is); yet their Faith falters when things get difficult. "I believe, Lord; help my unbelief" Mark 9:24

    For these people, doubt sometimes lurks at the back of their minds. It is sometimes good to doubt. Doubt is part of our make-up as creations of God. Doubts make us think, and sometimes, by questioning we gain understanding.

    But too much doubt is the playground of the devil. It gives him a door into our minds to lead us astray.

    I believe God understands our frequent stumbles and temporary lack of Faith. And He forgives.

    A kind priest told me once, when we're ill, and suffering great pain, and we doubt God's love for us - our Faith is not lacking but it is strengthened. The very fact that we're thinking that God has abandonned us is proof enough that we believe in His existance.

    Even Christ believed that God had abandonned Him when on the Cross. That was not lack of Faith. But a strong belief in His existance.

    God bless.

  2. Hi Victor,
    Thanks for your comment. I understand what you are saying here and you are right that we all go through periods where our faith is tested. Bearing this patiently and waiting on the Lord brings about spiritual growth for us. It purifies our hearts, shows us how utterly dependent we are on God and helps us to grow in humility as well as teaching us to let go of our all too human way of relying on our human understanding of
    things. We learn that below the raging surface waters of our "faith" there is a deeply flowing river of strength always supporting us. This is good. God is secretly supplying the grace in these moments.

    As you say, too much doubt is the playground of the devil and these are the doors we need to close. And we need to slam them really. This is what I am speaking about in my posts as well as discerning the difference between our real crosses, the ones God asks us to pick up and carry, and those "false crosses" that the devil lays on our shoulders in order to bring us to a place of despair. Some of these false crosses are ones we've laid on our own shoulders as well through our pride, belief in our own strength, or through a lack of knowledge of ourselves. Sadly, both these types of crosses are insupportable because they were never meant to be carried by us in the first place. Unfortunately,I have borne many of these in my I needed a complete overhaul of my thinking process in order to discern these :)

    In my posts on feeling doubly yoked , I am trying to point out how it is possible that we just may be adding to the weight of our own crosses by the need for the increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity and we should pray for this increase. These three virtues help make our crosses lighter and easier to bear.

    God bless you too, Victor!

  3. Mary, lovely job with this post. You had just the right amount of beautiful scripture verses . . . .a lot! I think I trust Jesus about the big thing - death, judgment, salvation. Have been blessed to learn enough about that and about the efficacy of his merits, his sacrifice, his mercy and love and forgiveness. Not sure I trust enough in the moment, the moments, the non-four-final things moments. Want to though, and believing in the writings of St. Therese, he has us desire what he wills. I trust he will bring me to a place of more continual trust. That faith and peace would not be so easily surrendered like the seed that fell among the thorns. Peace to you and may your trust and holiness continue to grow!

  4. Hi Colleen,
    Lol...yes, I guess there were a lot of Scripture verses in this post compared to what I usually place in my posts :) Like you, I want to trust more and this is something I am working on in particular this year! Thanks for commenting, Colleen, you are in my prayers!

  5. One thing I know, for myself (over the course of many years) - I no longer waver in doubt about God's constant presence with me. I know I do not always see Him, but I trust in his presence, even in crisis. Especially in crisis. This is a grace, it comes from my experience of Him in my many crises!
    As far as trusting in His mercy, well, that is another story. I can tell others to trust in His mercy, but sometimes I don't. When that little girl inside me tells me that I am not good enough, oooh boy. I have to pray and hold onto God then and remind myself of His mercy and goodness and unconditional love. I am getting better at this. I am getting a lot of practice!
    Great post!

  6. Hi Colleen,
    Same here - I know that He is always with me but trusting is a growth process. Like you, I am getting a lot of practice and trusting so much more. Reading the Bible and the lives of the saints has helped me a great deal when it comes to trust!