Asking for Signs


#1

The post regarding a rose received in answer to a novena to St. Theresa prompted this question. I’m not sure if I’ve asked it before but here goes:

Is it a sin to ask God for a sign? I’ve been told by someone that there’s a reference in the Bible that asking for a sign is like tempting God. I’d really like a solid / correct answer to this one - I don’t want to offend God but then aren’t we told to ‘ask and we shall receive, seek and we shall find, knock and it shall be opened to us’ ???

What’s more - how does one RECOGNIZE a sign? They can be misunderstood - or blindly missed. I’ve been looking for a sign on something for awhile but afraid to pray for it based on the above pararaph. :confused:


#2

Dear ConservativeOne,

I would just say that it’s okay to be real with God, and hey, He just might surprise you.

Last year when I’d hit a really low point from being unemployed, I was reading about how Pope Benedict had just landed in Australia and that people were bringing him cats to borrow while he rested up in preparation for World Youth Day.

So I complained to the Lord, “How come the Pope gets all the cats he wants delivered to his door to comfort him? Where’s my cat?”

Several hours later, there came a loud, polite MEOW at my door …

Turns out the neighbor’s cat had pulled an escape, only at the time I had no idea who the cat belonged to. All I knew was that out of all the apartments in the complex, the cat had picked my door to make her presence known and ask for entrance.

I kept the cat overnight while making efforts to locate the owner … Fortunately in the morning I heard the owner out in the hall looking for the cat, so there was a happy reunion.

Hope this helps, … and hey,
… it’s good to see you back around, ConservativeOne!
:slight_smile:


#3

The problem is when you already know in your heart what God’s will is (rather than being unsure), but you ask Him for a sign anyway. That can be an example of breaking the command that “thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the test.” Then you’re just pushing for marvels rather than really seeking to know God’s will, which is about glorifying the self, is about vanity. Also, unreasonable unbelief can be an example of putting God to the test.

Seeking a sign can be perfectly valid, though, as in the following case:

Asking for signs can be perfectly valid.

Thankfully, when the Lord is speaking, He knows how to make Himself obvious to the person He’s speaking to. Sometimes a person seeking a sign will ask for a specific sign, or that a sign be given them on a certain day (My Dad did both when considering Christianity, and his prayer was answered). When I was considering Catholicism and the time of decision really came, I asked the Lord for a clear sign and He gave me one within about 30 minutes, one accompanied by very great clarity and power.

Another example: Often, when apparitions of Mary come, the local priest or bishop will ask the visionary for a miracle for them to prove it. When it’s really Mary, their request will be answered.

Sometimes people seeking signs don’t ask for specifics about what the sign will be, but it’ll be dead obvious that God is speaking anyway. If there’s any doubt in your mind, don’t worry about whether the sign may have come and gone without you noticing. God knows how to make His will obvious for everyone that isn’t purposely shutting Him out. Not that He’ll certainly give you an answer. I can’t promise you that. But if your ears are open and He does choose to answer, you’ll know it.

If you wind up feel that He might be speaking but aren’t sure, I recommend talking to your priest about it.


#4

The Temptation of Jesus in Matt 4 is a good example.

If we put God to the test then we are leading God, rather than the all knowing God leading us.

Asking God for a sign may not be the same thing, if we are looking for a sign we might be looking for evidence of God’s will or His existence/presence, this is not wrong. When we start saying things like I won’t go to Mass unless I have a miracle we get into very dangerous waters.


#5

:eek::eek::eek::eek: I’ll say! That would be a horribly shocking attitude. It’s deliberate disobedience to the Church and to Christ. If it’s Sunday Mass described, that’s also a mortal sin, whereas if it was daily Mass, it might be a venial sin because of the attitude.


#6

I believe that its important when you are asking God to show you a sign, that you ask God to show you a sign first of all if its His will, and also that you understand the sign He shows you. I don’t think its a sin to ask God for a sign though.


#7

SO MANY GOOD ANSWERS ! So little in my mental memory bank ! :smiley:
But I will try to address each of you - and thanks for the great input.

Phoenix, I LOVED your story. (I still have goosebumps!) That WAS an answer. Something tells me that if your neighbor ever decides to move and can’t take pets, you’d best volunteer to adopt that one. Say a prayer for all of us…sounds like you have a pipeline to Heaven. And many thanks - it’s good to be back.

Lief - Another saint with a pipeline to God - in 30 minutes ?). I’d be scared silly doing same as Gideon. He got his answer but - in a manner of speaking - asked God to prove it the next night. :eek: That’s really testing God, in my humble opinion. Yes, I recall those prelates who demanded Our Lady give signs after apparitions. I can understand it - but it could have gone either way (God’s Choice) - and not necessarily disproving the apparitions. Yet, how could those prelates take the chance of making that demand in light of testing Our Lady? Not sure if they were testing the seers or really curious but I’d be hesitant to have asked for that. Really storming the Gates of Heaven.

Michael - Absolutely, I wouldn’t defy God - which sounds like the “I will / won’t go to Mass” tradeoff. I know God doesn’t work that way. I just have a question that needs answering (don’t we all?) …but it’s not the kind of question God usually answers. But I don’t make deals with God. He makes the rules - not me.

Katie - Thank you. I didn’t think asking God for a sign would be sinful until someone warned me. I would think that going to God for the answers is the best route (with some added intercession from Our Lady - and I’ve already gone to her !) I will try to find those right words in prayer. It’s not the kind of answer God usually hands out but maybe, it would be worse not to try, right?
Thanks again - God bless you all.


#8

I’ve been looking for a new confessor, as my old one left under some sad circumstances. Someone here once advised to ask the Lord, “Take me shopping.” So I asked Him to take me shopping and tried out a few, and one of them - the new priest in the parish - I crossed off right away - he was just not my type at all - too cheerful and not deep enough. Then I ended up with him the next week, and he was better, but I still didn’t want him all the time.

Then I had some business to conduct with him and made an appointment to see him in his office one afternoon. A nagging thought kept popping up - maybe it’s him??? So I thought (prayed very informally) that if we ended up talking all afternoon and it was very good, I’d take that as a sign that he was for me. In reality, I expected to make my little presentation and request and be out of there in less than half an hour.

I’m sure you can guess what happened. He was waiting for me in the reception area when I arrived ten minutes early for the appointment (so I could make a quick visit to the Blessed Sacrament). I made a quicker visit than I planned so as not to be rude. We went to his office and THREE HOURS LATER I glanced out the window and saw my DH coming to pick me up at the time we had arranged - we’re sharing a car and have to make compromises.

Our conversation was the most incredible conversation I have ever had in my whole 54 years of life. We talked about the business I came to discuss (which was a little touchy in itself), then anything and everything else - people, parishes, his vocation story, that kind of stuff, and then he moved in for the kill. Soon we were talking about all my deep dark secrets and he was being very direct and very gutsy about what he was saying and I was totally blown away - mesmerized. No one has ever spoken to me like that. Ever.

The receptionist looked at me as if I had grown an extra head when I left, so I just joked that when you meet someone new, there’s a lot to chat about - haha.

I emailed a thank you and explained a little about what I just said here about choosing a confessor. He wrote back and praised the work of the Holy Spirit. A couple of days later, he waited for me outside after Mass to talk again and said how glad he was that he had had no other appointments that day. Coincidence? I think not.

So I guess this is it. I just asked for another meeting - we’ll see how it goes. Anyway, that’s my sign story.

Betsy


#10

Hi :slight_smile:
don’t ask for a sign so that you can believe. Rather, pray for faith.
tempting God is when you don’t believe but ask Him to “prove” HImself to you. Don’t ever do that.

but if you already believe, as you do, I think it’s alright to pray for a sign. Like when you ask St Therese for a rose, all that is, is encouragement…she just reminds you that she’s with you, and it’s like she becomes your friend :slight_smile:

if you need to make a decision about something…I don’t know how reliable it is to ask for signs, to be honest, because they can be misinterpreted. Maybe instead, just ask God to show you in whatever way that will work. :slight_smile: but if you feel lead to, ask for a sign too. Just put the situation in His hands.

but I can say that with St Therese’s roses, I did recognize them as signs, I dont know, I just knew.

God bless :slight_smile:


#11

wow…that is cool! :slight_smile:

and I can’t believe people were bringing the Pope cats to borrow!! haha… :slight_smile:


#12

Many thanks for that thread. It makes good sense. I don’t know what words to choose or how to ask or if I will even get/recognize an answer. Sometimes, God says, “No”. I’m really not that worthy. Ironically, I asked Our Lady - months ago - not for a sign but as regards this need - and found I was using words Mary Magdelene had said. I was stopped short realizing the spontaneous, unplanned choice of words in my prayer.
With a heavy heart.


#13

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