How to Fire Up Your Faith When it is Weak

Fireplace and coffee

How to Fire Up Your Faith When it is Weak


Is your faith a furnace, running at extreme temperatures at all times?

Or does it sometimes feel like it is a low heat, running on embers? Or worse, flickering like a pilot light, not quite going out, but...

I think there are questions we can ask ourselves when our faith feels more fickle than normal. Here are some that I think of when my fire is burning a little low.

1. Have I forgotten that God’s love came first, without me doing anything to earn or achieve it?

It’s so easy to get disoriented in reference to God. We might feel like we got into his good graces through our good behaviour, or good choices.

But it’s good to go back to this: we know that God loves us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (cf. Rom 5:8)

Want more proof from Scripture? How about this:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;
you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
(1 For 6:19-20)

Or this:

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 17:7)

God won us, and he wants us to live in the victory he won. His gift of salvation, and invitation to relationship came first. He doesn’t say to us, “Here is how to earn my love. Go.” He offers his love without conditions and says “Go, and sin no more.”

His love is primary.

When we realize that God’s love is first, preeminent and superabundant, we can see remember that it is not a love that only sees the good things we do. It is a love that encompasses and enfolds us in our weakness as well.

2. Am I allowing myself to be fed with good food?

I remember once a young man telling me he was going through a dry period in his faith. I asked him to tell me more about it and he relayed that he wasn’t going to Sunday Mass because he wasn’t “getting a lot out of it.”

It’s important to make a distinction between dryness, which God permits to allow us to grow in faith, and lukewarmness, which a lack of spiritual fervour on our part. The latter is on us.

It’s important to make a distinction between dryness, which God permits to allow us to grow in faith, and lukewarmness, which a lack of spiritual fervour on our part. The latter is on us.

One thing I look at when I am feeling a little less fervour in my faith is, what am I doing to foster my faith? Am I allowing myself to be fed, or am I starving myself spiritually?

Some examples of food for your spiritual life:

  • Prayer
  • Scripture
  • Sacraments
  • Spiritual reading
  • Good media (eg. Catholic media, praise and worship music, and art that draws us to the good, true and beautiful)

Speaking to two, starting with the Sacraments, it is sad that my friend that I mentioned, by skipping Sunday Mass, was refusing to take the most obvious medicine for his “dryness”, our Lord’s very presence!

For Jesus says, “My flesh is food indeed. My blood is drink indeed.” (cf. John 6:55)

Worse, by skipping Sunday Mass altogether he was putting himself into serious sin! No matter how dry you are feeling, you never want to place yourself in mortal danger like that. (Hate to remind but Hell is a VERY dry place…)

Speaking to prayer, scripture reading, praying the Rosary, I am reminded by Pope Francis that:

At its core, holiness is experiencing, in union with Christ, the mysteries of his life. It consists in uniting ourselves to the Lord’s death and resurrection in a unique and personal way, constantly dying and rising anew with him. (GE, 20)

We can choose to feed our souls by praying and meditating on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This really can strengthen our faith.

Related: Check out an interview I did with Msgr. Greg Smith on pursuing holiness.

3. Am I putting up actual barriers?

Anytime we make peace with sin we are allowing a barrier in our relationship with God. The example above about deliberately missing Mass places a significant barrier between us and God.

There are big barriers (mortal sins) and less-big barriers (venial sins), but they are real barriers. We need to look hard and see if we are placing them in our relationship with God and weakening our faith.

Have you surrendered any parts of your life to sin? Have you given up the fight in some area? Have you decided that you are so wretched that even God can’t deliver you from some evil?

Kick that stuff to the curb!

God desires sin to be eradicated from our lives, with his grace and help. Let us look deeply within ourselves and seek his mercy frequently. Let not sin or pride be a barrier to receiving the mercy of God again and again.

4. Am I seeking the input of good Christian friends?

Who do I speak about my faith with? When it’s strong, or not as strong, God places people in our lives who we can draw wisdom and counsel from.

Who do you look up to as an authentic disciple of Christ? Draw near to them and your faith will be strengthened.

5. Have I become too inward focused?

This one is less obvious, but there is a missionary dimension to Catholic faith, for ALL Catholics. The message we have received is meant to be spread widely, and if we allow it to become our private matter, something we never seek to promote to others, then we lose out on something of our faith.

Conversely, engaging in a missionary effort will build your own faith up. The evangelist is the first beneficiary of evangelization.

If you can help out in an Alpha, or small group faith study, or some other deliberate evangelization, you will grow in faith.

We can also add under this category the effort to address the corporal needs of our neighbor, i.e. care for the poor, the elderly, the infirm, the lonely, etc. 

6. Am I letting my own weakness trump God’s immeasurable strength?

Pope Francis said something in his recent apostolic exhortation that really struck me. He said:

When you feel the temptation to dwell on your own weakness, raise your eyes to Christ crucified and say: “Lord, I am a poor sinner, but you can work the miracle of making me a little bit better”. (Gaudete et Exsultate, 15)

Does that resonate with you? I think it’s worthy of reflection whenever we are down.


What do you do when your faith is weak? Does the above help, or do you have other ways of fanning the flame?

Are the embers of your faith burning low? Here are 6 questions to fan the flame. — Josh Canning

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