How to feel God's presence and activity?


#1

I am a baptized and confirmed Catholic, but despite my vigilance and prayers, I still retain a spiritual difficulty I had while in RCIA and before. I never feel as if I can naturally sense God's presence, or God's activity in life. I have to imagine that it is there to feel it, and when I stop imagining, the feeling stops. I do not sense it naturally, without imagination. I pray for both things every day, often several times, but I never have those senses without my specific imaginative effort. I'm not asking to see God physically; I know that won't happen. But... it just feels as if God isn't there, at all, unless I imagine it in my mind. I don't want to sound abrasive or joking... I am dead serious. Please, any advice would be very helpful.


#2

Maybe you are just not inclined to feeling the spiritual realm. Women are more inclined than men to “feel” things because it is more in the woman’s nature to be emotional. Some people are more logical than emotional ( not saying that if you are emotional than you are illogical) don’t really “feel” things. It could be the way your brain is wired. But i am just guessing.


#3

[quote="scameter18, post:1, topic:181978"]
I am a baptized and confirmed Catholic, but despite my vigilance and prayers, I still retain a spiritual difficulty I had while in RCIA and before. I never feel as if I can naturally sense God's presence, or God's activity in life. I have to imagine that it is there to feel it, and when I stop imagining, the feeling stops. I do not sense it naturally, without imagination. I pray for both things every day, often several times, but I never have those senses without my specific imaginative effort. I'm not asking to see God physically; I know that won't happen. But... it just feels as if God isn't there, at all, unless I imagine it in my mind. I don't want to sound abrasive or joking... I am dead serious. Please, any advice would be very helpful.

[/quote]

Just keep praying and seeking to Love God better. Most of all try to live out the commands of Love from Christ. Love God with your whole being. Love your neighbor as yourself for the Love of God. Seek God in your day, not trying to "feel him" but seeing Him present each time someone holds a door for another; each time someone gives up a seat to another; each time any good or kind act is done.

Then make sure you are doing these things as well. Drive extra courtiously, hold a door, say grace in a resturant (including the sign of the cross); Speak kindly and let someone go ahead of you in a line.

God is felt most closely when we are living as He wishes us to Live - In Love and in Action.

Peace
James


#4

I used to be in your situation as well. Something that helped me in addition to praying for God to open my heart to His Presence and to help me to listen to Him was just going out and being in nature for a while. Just staring out at the vast expanse that He created, made me feel Him and once I was able to establish a connection there, I knew what to strive for in the other aspects of my life.


#5

All of those things are references to God though, not a feeling of God directly, and they’re not things God does directly but products of products of things God has created. With emotions, they make you psychologically feel what you are imagining about God. With love, it is things people do that we imagine refers to God. And with nature, it is something there that is old, deriving from other states in nature, that we imagine ultimately derives with God’s creative act. I don’t mean “imagine” as in invent the concept ourselves, but I mean to think of it in our mind, intellectually, rather than sensing it experientially and directly.


#6

Not nessecarily. When I look at nature it reminds me of what God created out of love, how God gives life to the world. To be honest, when I think of how God can create such beauty and what gift it is that we get to enjoy it, I tend to tear up a lot. God is love at the core, it’s our greatest commandement and His greatest gift. At least the way I see it, love in its many forms is absolutely the key. If you feel pure love, that’s when it becomes easier to feel God in your life and by your side. But anyway, the nature thing was just a suggestion.


#7

I'm sorry, to those who replied to this thread. When I began it, I was depressed and in a state of doubt, and I may have unintentionally insulted your ideas. I have thought about this, and I think all of you are correct. Thank you for helping me with this issue. And mandyi4031, your suggestion is absolutely true. I very often feel inspiration from nature, in it's vastness and beauty. It's humbling and a great reminder of God's loving creativity. Thank you for that suggestion. :)


#8

I’m glad you’re feeling better about this.

I sometimes ‘feel’ God’s presence very much and sometimes not at all. In such moments I remind myself that feelings are overrated and that faith does not equal feelings. God will sometimes gift us with certain expereinces that can include feeling His presence more. But not always. Just pray often, that’s the most important thing.


#9

Remember that sensing God's presence is a grace, and God may choose to withhold this grace if it is what is best for your soul.

In my case, it was nearly 20 years ago in youth group when I was utterly astonished to hear someone talk about sensing God's presence. It wasn't until I had a deeper conversion at age 31 that I had this experience, and it was constant for several months.

This is pretty common following a conversion. Often people need this boost to persevere in the beginning. Eventually this feeling diminished, and now this experience of His presence comes and goes, lasting only briefly. Much of the time I don't have this experience; for me, God's "visits" are few and far between.


#10

It's funny, but when I am "normal" and consistent in my faith, I often feel as if I can't sense His presence. But then when I doubt God's existence, I feel an explicit loss in my mind, as if a presence was there but then left, or I left it, when I doubted it's existence. When I repent my doubt and resume faith, the feeling returns. Perhaps my test is to keep God's presence in mind even when it's not obvious to me. This was a big test for me during RCIA, and maybe it still is. Hopefully, it can make my faith stronger. :)


#11

[quote="scameter18, post:10, topic:181978"]
Perhaps my test is to keep God's presence in mind even when it's not obvious to me.

[/quote]

Actually doing this is called recollection, and doing so is an aid to spiritual growth. See this brief chapter from Spiritual Theology: The Presence of God

You might also enjoy The Practice of the Presence of God, a short (20 pages or so) book written by a Carmelite who reached a high degree of union with God in this life by practicing recollection consistently and constantly.


#12

Maybe you could read some St John of the Cross. There is much about not feeling the presence of God and spiritual growth in his writings. I'm reading the Dark Night at the moment and many things are starting to make sense.


#13

I will definitely look into those three resources. Thank you both. I appreciate the help. :)


#14

Try to trust God completely before trying to feel :)


closed #15

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