Each one of us has experienced restlessness at some stage in our lives. So what does mean to have a restless heart and how can we combat this restlessness?
Firstly restlessness is that unease that has to do with my soul and search for truth. As a practising Catholic, we have the truth, but that doesn’t mean that restlessness suddenly disappears. It only manifests itself in different forms through one’s life. Each of us yearns for fulfilment. If you’ve ever found yourself bored, unfulfilled, and restless—even while working tirelessly at the same time—the following spiritual diagnosis may pertain to you.
Sloth is definitely one of the main vices in this day and age. Many people think of this as laziness but it can also be a work-a-holic. St. Thomas Aquinas defined sloth as “sorrow at the difficulty of a spiritual good”. Sometimes we compensate restlessness with hyperactivity or constant entertainment such as Netflex binging or social media. Whilst this might numb us from our restlessness it is not getting to the root of the restlessness. It only distracts us from our unfulfillment. Restlessness can lead to spiritual boredom, lack of fulfilment and sadness can lead us to lust, greed, pornography, drunkenness etc.
Often times this sloth can turn into flippancy, thinking that something holy is profane or the seriousness of a matter is silly. Ultimately looking down on the good. C.S. Lewis says it best in the Screwtape Letters, 56: “Any of them [humans] can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny …. Every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it”.
The following steps and being constant with them helps me with my restlessness. Hopefully, they will help you too.
- Sacraments – Living a sacramental life, going to mass, confession and adoration has greatly helped my spiritual life and deepened my relationship with God.
- Living your vocation – Perhaps you are already married or a religious reading this or perhaps you haven’t yet entered your vocation. Everyone’s vocation is to love God and help each other to heaven. Our vocation is not our career, we are called to something higher, union with God.
- Pray – have a routine of morning and night prayer, pray the rosary as a family or with your friends, read scripture and good spiritual books that will nourish your soul and your heart. As St Therese of Lisieux says ‘thy world is thy ship, not thy home’.
- Be of service to others- as young people, I really encourage you to get involved in your parish, in youth groups and any other volunteer organisation where you give your time and skills to help others. You will grow in virtue and develop important skills that will help you in your vocation.
- Be humble – none of us is perfect, we are imperfect human beings striving to love God each day with our hearts. We all fall at some point, but in our weakness, God is strong in us and we must turn back to him in confession and humility.
“Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.” (St. Augustine, Confessions)
As with any battle, prayer and entrusting our hearts to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus will help soften our hearts to the will of God.