Has God ever rained on you? Did you know for certain it was God?
Have you ever—despite fidelity to Our Lord—suffered dry periods when God seemed on another planet?
Do you wonder how to get past short-lived emotions to make a lasting experience of God?
In this series we will explore: (1) What it means to experience God; (2) How Spiritual experiences differ essentially from other human phenomena; and (3) The Essential Prayer-Life connection and how to advance.
here are 4 key elements in any human experience:
1. Contact: Something + me. Music enters by sound waves; the smell of a flower enters by odor particles.
2. Awareness: A rock which gets wet does not know it; when you get rained on you DO.
3. Affectivity: Every contact with reality causes some type of pleasure, pain, enjoyment or movement within you. On hot days that quick thunder-shower will feel refreshing.
4. Passivity: The flower you smell or the music you hear change you for better or worse – after getting wet you will not be the same.
It’s hard to find balance between skeptics who think coming into real contact with God is impossible, and seemingly pious souls who “speak facilely of ‘listening to the Spirit’ and attribute to God thoughts and desires whose sole origin is themselves.”
Here are a few traits which only divine experiences can give: When God touches you, he doesn’t need waves or water or particles – he just does. No warnings, no privileged places. Wham! And he can move you in such a way that you NEVER forget; ever to the most minute details. Yes, this is contact, but on a divine level; God doesn’t need mediums, tools or instruments. Lastly, when God touches you, you always grow better. The spiritual fruits are an excellent proof that it was genuine.
We are not talking about extraordinary phenomena such as visions, or revelations … but at the same time we are also not just banally referring to emotional experiences which can teach you about God, such as a beautiful sunrise or the laughter of an intimate friend.
Contact with God cannot be sensed: nothing is felt, seen or heard. The Lord produces his effects in us directly, beyond the natural order of things.
So WHAT you ask, do we actually experience? We experience directly the EFFECTS God causes within us.
These effects are delicate, wordless and imageless awarenesses of God. They are a gift which we receive; they are not produced by us. Called by St. John of the Cross a “dark secret wisdom,” or “an inflow of God into the soul;” by St. Teresa of Jesus a “loving attention to God,” or “a desire for solitude with Him;” or lastly by Father Dubay a “given or infused desire for God.” In other words, it is a quiet attention that the recipient cannot attain by his own efforts.
Now has God ever rained on you like that? Did you know it was possible?
(Quotations taken from Fire Within – by Fr. Thomas Dubay)
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