Thursday, February 9, 2006

Spiritual Heart Attack Warning Signs

Spiritual heart attacks are wake up calls to those of us who aren't taking care of ourselves spiritually. Our spiritual hearts are similar to our physical hearts in that it is a pump. Whatever we take in (or don't take in) through our spiritual heart is pumped right back out.

Similar to the way God breathed on the first man and gave him life, Jesus breathed on His disciples saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit," (Jn 20:22). Wouldn't it be wonderful if our spiritual hearts were taking in and pumping out the Holy Spirit! But, just like when we don't put good things into our body, we can damage our spiritual heart when we fail to care for it properly.

The following are some warning signs that you may be having a spiritual heart attack:

  • Feeling of emptiness. Most spiritual heart attacks involve an emptiness or worthlessness in everything we do. When we question why we are here or feel like no one cares about us, or that we do not have a purpose, we need to find a church and priest immediately!

  • Depression. I understand there are many physical, psychological, and physiological causes of depression. But the spiritual heart will suffer if there is no connection to feed it from God.

If you have any other warning signs of a spiritual heart attack, please share them in the comments section.

The good news is that after a spiritual heart attack, God will "revive the hearts of the crushed," (Isa 57:15) and promises:"I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts," (Eze 36:26).


Barb, sfo said...

Negative Attitude. The spiritual heart is not compatible with a negative attitude for very long. The only thing that IS compatible with such an attitude is the Evil One.

ND EnviroChick said...

Weakness Toward Sin: Effects can include loss of compassion, anger and hostility directed at others, inability to resist temptations of secular, materialistic world. The spiritual heart needs constant nutrition of God's grace and the Holy Spirit to remain strong against evil and sin.

Isolation: The faithful make up the Body of Christ, and when one's spiritual heart health is in distress, it is easy to feel disconnected from the rest of the Body. Eventually, the Body part that is not accepting God's love will atrophy, wither, and fall away from the Body of Christ - i.e., leave the parish community, perhaps even the Catholic faith or Christianity.

A significant difference between a spiritual heart attack and a physical heart attack is that, with a spiritual heart attack, one does not have to worry if help will come in time, for God's love and healing touch are ALWAYS available to the sufferer at a moment's notice. The question then becomes - will this person accept the eternal life-saving measures, or has he/she signed a spiritual DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order?

Darren Norton said...

Excellent answers! Any other takers?

Anonymous said...

I have been reading a great book on just this question: the discernment of spirits according to St Ignatius of Loyola in the spiritual exercises. What you are describing is desolation, and there are some real techniques to get around it: pray more, meditate on scripture, and fast, until the light comes back.

Gallagher, Timothy M, The Discernment of Spirits An Ignationa Guide for Everyday Living, Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 2005