So, I figured I would share this for two reasons:
Some people have not known what it is like to feel God’s presence, so I think they might be able to find comfort in knowing that it is possible, but perhaps not the time yet for them.
Some of this stuff is kind of crazy, so I wonder if anyone has experience the same or something similar.
Anyway, here it goes. For the last few years, there have been times when I have felt “something” spiritual going on inside my heart. It started to as something that came and went but is now a regular part of my life. So, the first time I felt it:
I was in a fraternity in college. At this point in my life, I was not exactly the most pious person in the world… I was falling more and more into sin and wasn’t going to church every week. Well, at the end of one of my semesters, it was time to initiate some of the pledges. This is an exciting time. I was very active in the fraternity and was looking forward to bringing these new guys in. Anyway, we (the active members) met at the fraternity house. We decided to drive together and my friend volunteered to drive me. We started walking towards the car but as soon as I reached to grab the handle of the rear left door I felt something “tug” me from inside of my heart. It was a physical pull backwards! I was really puzzled. So I was worried. I told the guys I wasn’t feeling well and I would meet up with them in a minute. I went back to the house. A few minutes later, I got a call from the driver and he told me that he was in a car accident. The car was totaled. More importantly, the other car hit the his car in the left rear door! My friend said, “man, it is good that you didn’t get it!” Then it hit me that this was no mistake.
I decided to pay more attention to my religion. I started going to church again every week. This was a huge wake up call for me. Apparently though, satan (or whoever was against me) was not willing to give up without a fight. Only now, it turned physical as well! One night, I was asleep. I had this dream that I was in a large corridor. Everything was in black and white, and the hallway went on forever. Somehow I had this feeling that I was in hell. I walked away from the hallway. But then something grabbed me from my my neck and jerked me up into the air. The crazy thing is that at this point I woke up! …but this feeling didn’t stop. I was in my bedroom, eyes open and it was broad daylight. I was completely conscious, but I was still getting choked and I couldn’t yell. I tried to call for my roommates, but I couldn’t. Finally, I said “Jesus!” I don’t know why I thought of that, but when I said it, the feeling stopped and I was no longer paralyzed. My heart was beating so quickly. I thought that it was really really frightening and strange, and I didn’t expect it to happen again. It did. Again and again from night to night. I finally asked my mother what I should do. She gave me a prayer to say. It was simple, but I figured that maybe it will help. It did. It stopped. At least, it was no longer common.
Recently, something new has come into my life which is much more comforting than what happened before. I have been living alone in Japan for a few months. My wife is back in the US. This has given me much more time to think, meditate and pray. Most importantly, I have been going to confession regularly. Throughout most of my life, I have only gone about once a year. I knew that I “should” do it more often, but I never did. Well I can definitely see that the Holy Spirit is calling me to go to confession on a regular basis. I have had a problem with committing the same sins (I won’t go into too much detail though - perhaps another conversation). Anyway, I have been going to confession to confess this over and over again. I keep praying to the Lord that he can give me strength. I have been asking the Holy Spirit to help me since I have proven that I fail on my own. I ask, “please stop me. Don’t give up on me!” Well, it is interesting how God will answer your prayers if you honestly ask. However, it is interesting that, for me, it is linked to the sacrament of reconciliation (not just asking for forgiveness on my own by the way). So now each time I go, I am literally spiritually re-energized. What this means is that after I go to confession, the first time I think about committing this sin, or think about something that could be related. I am “tugged” at again. Right from inside my chest something just slams me down in my chair or on my feet. It is actually pretty violent at first. Then, as I go on committing sins, this sensation gets weaker and weaker until it stops. Then, I go to confession and this starts all back up again. The first couple of times back to confession, I completely forgot about the fact that I was getting this feeling the previous time, so it took me by surprise - especially because of how forceful this is. I believe that: first of all, God is showing me how important it is for me to resist sin, second, he is showing me how I gradually become detached from him as I continue to sin. And let me tell you, it doesn’t take long. I now truly believe that it is important to go more than once per month. Obviously, it is not “necessary” but, for me, I can tell a huge difference in my spiritual health if I let sins rest on my soul for too long.
Well, sorry for writing so much in one post, but I decided that it was all related.