ASK FATHER: I feel disconnected from God after being involved in New Age practices.

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I feel disconnected from God after being involved in new age
practices. I feel a dark presence in my life and pray for it to go
away but it doesn’t. What can I do?

So many people have fallen into false and even evil practices and notions of “New Age”.  It isn’t all just risible B as in B, S as in S.  Some of it is pure evil.   Our own Catholic pastors and teachers are to blame: had they not left an enormous vacuum in our sacred worship and preaching, many people who got tangled up in New Age stuff wouldn’t have felt the need to reach outside the Church and into that nasty tarpit of woes, there to be stuck, besmirched, defiled.

You write to me at the beginning of Lent.

Lent is the perfect time to go back to the essentials of our salvation: sacramental grace, prayer, and virtue.

First of all, right now, get down on your knees and recite with all the fervor you can muster the Act of Contrition.  My old friend Fr. Finigan has a good explanation of how to make an Act of Contrition in a classic post at his blog: HERE

Then, get on the internet, do some schedule hunting for your local churches and GO TO CONFESSION.

Then make a good sacramental Communion.

You have some work to do.

Set yourself a regular and steady diet of those three good practices, above: staying in the state of grace, regular prayer (including quiet time for listening), and virtuous practices.

If possible, look into how to do lectio divina.   Some people who have been into New Age stuff can benefit greatly from this form of mental prayer.   Be careful not to fall into the New Age forms of so called “meditation”.  Keep to the Catholic forms of mental prayer according to one of the authentic methods:

  • Benedictine lectio divina
  • Carmelite mental prayer
  • St. Francis De Sales method of mental prayer
  • St. Ignatius of Loyola’s 3 methods of meditation and contemplation

If once you get underway, with a good confession, Communion, and you’ve started to pray and to cultivate virtues and remain in the state of grace, and you still feel a dark presence, ask your holy Guardian Angel to protect you and then consult with a really solid priest whose head is screwed on in the right direction.

Finally: You CAN do this.

ACT OF CONTRITION

O MY GOD, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

It is VERY good to memorize that and to say it often, not just in the confessional.  Also use these during the day.  It is amazing the effect they can have over time:

ACT OF FAITH

O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.

ACT OF HOPE

O MY GOD, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I
hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and Life Everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.

ACT OF CHARITY

O MY GOD, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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8 Comments

  1. elijah408 says:

    I would also suggest praying the Auxilium Christianorum prayers which you can download their app.

  2. Just my opinion…Use every sacramental you can muster; Holy Water, Blessed Salt, St. Benedict Medals, Miraculous Medals, Blessed Palm and then ask Our Lady to protect you, as well as Good St. Joseph. Call on your Guardian Angel too. Pray your Rosary, pray your Divine Mercy chaplet and the Chaplet of the Holy Face. Just saying the name of Jesus in a respectful way is also a great help. These all seem like small things but in reality they are great things. I am praying for you!

  3. JesusFreak84 says:

    The prayers recommended by elijah408 are also available as a free app for your favorite iOS/Android device, and they’re in a book I would recommend by a retired LA-county sheriff: https://jesseromero.com/store/lord-prepare-myhands-battle-book (I know not everyone owns a printer these days–I don’t–and the book’s cheaper than printer or ink =-p )

    Also, get holy water (needed for what I wrote below,) and exorcised salt, (with Latin blessings, if possible, though I get that that’s a bigger ask than usual thanks to WuFlu, and blessed salt can be hard to get in the best of times,) then sprinkle that EVERYWHERE where you live, (some say especially at doors and windows.) Blessed candles are also awesome–you can buy the candles from the Dominican Sisters Father links to in the sidebar here ;)

    If you can find a priest who does house blessings, (again, maybe a bigger ask right now, but whenever you’re able,) that wouldn’t hurt, especially if 99% of what you did was in that location. Demons like to hover in places as much as people, (buildings don’t get a Will save in real life any more than in D&D ;p ) as Father’s noted plenty. (I apologize for repeating Father a ton, but I don’t know how new this person is to the blog and don’t want to send him or her on a post-hunting safari ^^;;; ) Blessing your living quarters yourself with holy water once you’re in a State of Grace will hopefully help if you can’t find a priest to do a solemn blessing, but when you CAN…

    AFTER everything Father says here, if you still have anything physical from those NA practices, look up local regulations, (secular,) so you don’t get a ticket, fined, or whatever, but *if you can,* what Exorcists recommend is burning everything that can be safely burned, sprinkle holy water on the ashes, and (ideally) dump the ashes in a moving body of water, but burial works if you can’t do that for either legal or practical reasons.

    If there’s no legal or practical way to do anything I mentioned in the previous paragraph, (or if you have some item(s) that would be dangerous to burn,) I *think* burial is still an option, but someone else here in the comments might have other ideas?

  4. ScottW says:

    The Hallow app has some excellent guided meditations including Lectio Divina. I find it very helpful.

  5. Jones says:

    A sincere reciting of the Holy Rosary does wonders to. I’d work up to saying a full 15 decade daily. Whether split up throughout the day or all at once. Takes right around an 1hr.

  6. LeeGilbert says:

    Penitent Catholic, you write:”I feel disconnected from God after being involved in new age
    practices. I feel a dark presence in my life and pray for it to go
    away but it doesn’t. What can I do?” Been there, but not for that reason.
    1. Baptized, you share to an extent in the priestly power of Jesus Christ. It is in your power to say with authority, “Begone, Satan, in the name and in the blood of Jesus Christ!”
    2. When your mind is not otherwise occupied, when waiting in line, when driving, repeat the name of Jesus again and again, ad infinitum. “To pray, ‘Jesus,’ is to invoke Him and to call Him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies.” Catechism of the catholic Church 2666. Find that passage, mark it and refer to it often. Its last sentence is one of the most remarkable ever written. A variation of this is the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Make it your mantra.
    3. St,. Stanislaus Kostka was of enormous help to me in this regard, and lifted a heavy spirit of darkness from me two or three times. I called to him from the darkness, and soon all was light. He seems to be e the patron saint of resolving interior difficulties. In his biography by Edward Healey Thompson I found this sentence: “”Padre Bertoli, who wrote ninety-seven years after the saint’s death, asserts that instances were daily occurring- and, doubtless, many more existed, known only to the individuals themselves- of relief from every species of horrible and afflicting temptation; from scruples, aridity, desolation of spirit; from the inability to excite contrition in the heart, and even to offer a single prayer; in short, from every peril and internal suffering which can menace or oppress the soul- all through the effectual intercession of St. Stanislaus.”
    4. Write to one or two Carmelite convents and beg their prayers. Did you you think you were going to get out of this mess on your own strength? In short, make yourself totally obnoxious to the Spirit of Darkness. When he finds that you are causing prayers to be said, he will leave you alone.
    5. When out and about in the world, make yourself a mendicant and beg for prayers. There, a receptionist has a bible on her desk. Tell her you are having a rough time (no more than that) and ask for her prayers. There at the bus stop is a man with a cross on his lapel. Do the same.

    I didn’t read through all the suggestions above, but I suppose they included frequent Confession and Communion, the Rosary. You can’t do them all, obviously, but this was the way I made my escape, or rather was delivered by the mercy and grace of God.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    JesusFreak84: Good book recommendation.

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