Can God read your thoughts and Is there still a sense of personal mental privacy?

Ie: when you are just talking to yourself, and reflecting on things by yourself for yourself. For instance, when you complain and whine or when you express yourself mentally. Like objecting to some aspects of Catholicism with mental swearing and complaining? For instance, there are things I say in prayer that are specifically directed at God but there are also things that I disagree with or dont like that are directed about religion but I dont directly say to him or say out loud but rather keep in the backburner of my sea of thoughts.

For example, when I have a thought that goes something along the line of “this is really stupid and pointless” or “this seems like BS” about something religion related but I didnt directly say out loud publicly or bring out during prayer, would that count as blashphemy?

Do all your thoughts, I mean each and every single one and not just the things you say in prayer… All belong to God? since he is omnipotent, omniscient, etc etc? Is there still some sense of personal mental autonomy or are all our thoughts linked to one Divine mental command center… Or Something like that.

Do you still have your thoughts to keep as your own, or will God keep a record of every mental thought? Like keep religious thoughts in prayer but keep the mundane things to yourself without necessarily having to involve religion or God?

I guess what I am trying to say is this… Must we also watch and micromanage every one of our thoughts (which are impulsive and instinctive) in the same way we do to every one of our actions??

Must our heart always be aligned with our actions? Or is it ok to do the act without our heart being aligned to it?

Or can we still hold opinions (strong ones) on certain things but still do what is pleasing in God’s eyes? For example : going to school. We dont want to do it but we have to do it, or putting on a mask towards people we dont like in order to fulfill Jesus’ commandment of loving your neighbour?
In both cases, you still have personal objections, but you still do the act. Will you be judged on the act alone or both your heart and the act?
When praying, I sometimes think “this is a waste of time” (just sometimes), but I still get my prayers done regardless.

I personally think that those **"****thoughts" **are interference from Satan, trying to interupt our prayers, and I think GOD knows how Satan is trying hard to bother us in any possible way, but once we are in Paradise I’m sure non of these would ever happen…

There is a lot to address there but I’ll start with this one.

Do all your thoughts, I mean each and every single one and not just the things you say in prayer… All belong to God?

God knows your thoughts. That doesn’t mean he makes your thoughts. You have a brain. The thoughts in that brain belong to you. External things can indeed influence your thoughts, but God does not put thoughts in your head. Some of your bad thoughts could indeed be from an external influence, but God is not putting thoughts in your head. That’s what free will is about.

As to how your thoughts are going to be judged, it’s about your heart. Just like your actions, God knows you inside. If you intend them as blasphemy, then yes it will be blasphemy. If you are just searching and trying to understand, he knows that as well. God isn’t an angry man watching you while stomping around just waiting for you to make a mistake, he’s a loving Father who worries about his child and wants to give you the best you can have. He’s not watching your thoughts waiting to beat you the moment that you have a bad one. He’s waiting with open arms to forgive us, even when we think something uncharitable towards him.

Our thoughts do need to be managed, but not in the sense of micromanaging every single action. You need to make progress in all things. When you realize your having a thought you shouldn’t have, simply think of something else. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not a sin to have a thought… it’s a sin to dwell on it. Fill your life with good things. Watch TV that reminds you of good things, read books that remind you of good things, spend time with friends that remind you of good things, take advantage of mass when you can. You’ll find that the mind works on a very simple principle. GIGO (Garbage in Garbage Out, God In, God Out). The more time you spend with God and with things that remind you of God, the more time your thoughts and actions will reflect that. In the same token, the more time you spend doing worldly things, watching worldly things, listening to worldly things, the more time you’ll spend thinking and saying worldly things.

Yes. But think of it like this. When you are a parent, you sometimes watch and listen to your very small child when they don’t know you are there. You hear and see all they do, including thing that they, hearing about them as adults, would be embarrassed about. But you love and understand all these things the little child is doing, because you are the loving parent.

I might suggest that when you think something is stupid, you tell God that. He’s listening, anyway, just tell Him, ask Him, “Father, this seems really stupid to me…” You’ll be surprised how often He answers.

To God, you are not a sheep (which is a word for both male and female) but a little lamb He loves more tenderly than any mother can love any child.

You can’t manage thoughts that arise, but you can banish them when you recognize them and this is a great skill to develop and discipline to practice. Thoughts per se aren’t sins. Indulging a lot of sinful thinking is.

Must our heart always be aligned with our actions? Or is it ok to do the act without our heart being aligned to it?

The actions of love and charity you do in spite of your interior state are the ones most holy, the ones where we choose to get our sinful selves out of the way and let God work through us. Jesus said to pray for our enemies and pointed out that anyone can pray for a friend.

When you pray when you don’t feel like it, you are sacrificing something to God that’s very special. As special at least as praying when you feel like it. That’s about you. But praying anyway, when you’d rather do something else, is a gift to Him. It’s a true act of faith. You don’t have to believe at that moment or feel at that moment, you act in faith, anyway. Love is not really something you feel; it’s something you do.

That seems a beautiful thing, to me.

Subconsciously doing these things you have described above is not sin, though it helps us to understand the effect our environment and knowledge we have gained affects us. The remedy here is to consciously direct our will to accepting God’s will, and being more careful about what we allow get through our senses into our minds.

Consciously doing them doesn’t necessarily mean you are sinning either. You may be inclined to that response naturally, but still know what is right and still be willing to do it. The key thing here is an examination of conscience. From time to time, examine your conscience not just for sins, but also to know what your dominant thoughts are, your dominant feelings. If they are of rebellion (i.e not in line with the will of God) the remedy is to calmly (don’t get all upset) reaffirm your dedication and/or devotion. Make an act of contrition too if it is needed.

It is clear you don’t want to offend God, but let that desire be fuelled by love for him and not by fear.
If love for God increases, you will not only want Him to hear and see ALL that you do, you’ll be showing them to Him like a new dress (even though He bought it for you).

My major advice? Let Him look at you so that He can smoothen the rough edges. Even if you are complaining, complain TO Him, not AT Him.

Lots o’ love.:wink:

Ahh… this is kind of the point of religion/faith, even philosophy, really. To align our thoughts and our will. To make our soul and body ONE. - It is a discipline and a goal… not something that happens in a blink of an eye or simply because we love and follow God.

Secondly… you need to differentiate ‘errant’ thoughts… and ‘deliberate’ thoughts.

It is one thing for me to have a quick, flash of a thought. Let’s say I pick up the phone and someone who I don’t like is on the other end. - history has taught me that this person says hurtful things - so it is part of my human nature that I roll my eyes and think for a second “Oh great!..this person!”
BUT… it is an entirely DIFFERENT thing if I dwell on that feeling or thought and allow myself to vilify that person… make disparaging comments to myself about them, mock them under my breathe or in my own mind, etc. If I do THAT, then my fleeting emotion turns into a deliberate thought. See the difference?
I DO have control over what I dwell on and choose to think about and which emotions I give into and act on. - that’s part of what Freewill is about. Thoughts are part of WHO I am, not separate. Catholicism teaches that we worship and follow God with our WHOLE body, not just our spirit or our arms or our legs apart from our minds. But our entire person, mind, body and soul.
In other words… it moves from being just a knee-jerk reaction to being something I will with my mind and give into if I dwell on it and rationalize it as OK because that person hurt me in the past.

See the difference?

It is one thing to catch your eyes glancing at a pretty women. - that is a venial sin. Over time you can change your attitude and build up a discipline against that. You can catch yourself doing it and say “NO… that wasn’t right, I shouldn’t have done that”
It is, however, completely different and much worse to then linger and enjoy those lustful thoughts and evaluate the girl as an object of desire, examining each body part. – THEN you have definitely passed from fleeting thought of an undisciplined mind, over to SIN.

But regardless… our goal is to train our BODY as much as our soul/will - and develop disciplines that protect us so that small sins don’t lead to MORE.

Make sense?

And having said that… so that no one thinks I am a hypocrite…
And when you figure out how to do this… let me know. I’m still working on developing discipline in my life.

Makes sense. But heres my point. Sometimes, people (such as myself) dont necessarily LIKE or WANT to follow the rules and regulations that God has put forth… but I still do it anyway because I know that it is pleasing to him. But I just want to feel that sometimes, I am doing this for a good reason.

For example, Instinctively, as a young man, I would like to savour and check out women. But I know that this can lead to something else so I turn and look away. I dont do because I WANT to do it or I LIKE to do it, I do it because it is pleasing to God. but the point is I still do it anway… and there are tons of examples like this.

So would that mean I have to force myself to liking something I dont want to do? Because Honestly no matter how many times people here on CAF justify it… at its core, living a good Catholic lifestyle really boils down to alot of restrictions and rules. I dont feel that it emancipates me, I dont feel that it even frees me sometimes… I just see it as that, a bunch of rules and regulations? Do I LIKE following these rules personally? Not necessarily… but I have to because if I dont I go to hell, or otherwise I do it to please God and at the end of the day I do, and thats the important thing.

Keep doing what your doing. It also helps to think about why you are doing what you are doing. Why do you turn from the women before you have a lustful thought? Why is a lustful thought bad? Because women are created in God’s image and deserve more dignity than to be simply an object of sexual desire. They are people, with brains. When you find yourself asking why is this wrong? I don’t understand? Find out.

Nothing wrong with not understanding why, but it should bring about a desire to find out. God doesn’t restrict us, he transforms us. When we realize why the rules are there and what they do for us and for others, it makes it much easier to realize we are freeing not only ourselves, but others. We are freeing ourselves from desires that harm not just ourselves but others, and we are freeing others from being the object of our sins.

Yes, but when you see hot women in the gym intentionally, who wear tight / revealing gym clothes… guys just cant help to notice. And some of them want to feel “beautiful” anway, thats why they dress sexy (I did not say that they want to be lusted after). To look is an instinct and the more I not look, the more I feel I am depriving myself of my manhood.

So doing good sometimes really means supressing your instincts.

But yeah, I get your point. I just hope all this sacrifice and self denial really does pay off (again, an internal thought)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit