I’ve been having trouble with really knowing God. I feel like I’m just perceiving God as a thought, and not a living, powerful, and most of all, loving being. I know that one way I can know Him is by praying, but for me, it usually just gives me a fleeting feeling of recognizing who He is. I also know that charity and acts of love can also help to know who He is, but I’m afraid that will also give me that fleeting feeling (but of course I won’t only be doing those charitable acts for my own purposes). I don’t want God to be just a feeling to me. I want Him to be my actual God. It would be great if you guys could help me get some answers. Thank you so much and may God bless!
Something I thought of after I read your post is that maybe you should try to read the Scriptures, especially the gospels and psalms, and meditate on what God is doing as/through Jesus of Nazareth to help see Him as really there. But, try to concentrate and really think about it. Meditate on your own life and see what little things, or big things, happen that might be God at work–even something very small, like you happen to be around when someone needs help for a task.
Know Jesus, know Peace.
No Jesus, no peace.
- acknowledge you are a sinner and repent thoroughly
- acknowledge and believe in the holy sacraments and use them
- Search for God in the heavens and earth. He’s easily seen around us
- Get to know Jesus of the Scriptures. You will know about God
- Jesus prayed a lot most of the times and especially when things got ruff. You should too.
- Ask God openly to give you understanding of whatever you need.
- Get yourself away from noise and just sit and listen.
- Attend regular mass. Go to confession (if you haven’t already) and receive communion
- God listens to those that try to keep his commandments and those of Jesus. Love God above all things and your brothers/others as you would treat yourself
10Offer to God offerings like withholding things that are important to you such as love for this and that e.g. love of cigarettes, movies, cars, small things like candies and cokes and best of all charity will get you far.
Good luck, God Bless. Take your time and search, search, find. He’ll most likely find you in the quiet of your heart.
I think there are a lot of people out there who never make the distinction between the two, Knowing About vs. Knowing Personally, so I think you’ve got a good head start. I know everyone is going to give their different opinion, so it can seem overwhelming, but the key is to find what works for you.
My advice can also be found in Luke 24:
“He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
If it’s possible to spend more time with Jesus in person a week, that would be a great start. An extra Mass on a week day. A few minutes in front of the Blessed sacrament if you’re parish has perpetual adoration. Just Love Jesus in person, without really praying or acting, just understand what he did and does for you every day, and you will come to know him.
Read about God and His perfections. Get to know Jesus Christ better by reading your Bible. Spend time alone in prayer with Him, set aside at least 30 min. for mental prayer daily. Ask Mary to help you to know, love and serve God better; she will help you if you ask her confidently and perseveringly. God bless you.
When I first became Christian in 1982, I did so as the result of a sort of spiritual push, and also it was the tail end of the worst four years of my life. But a year later, things were again not so good - I had just gone through a divorce, I’d been chewed out at work, not much money, I’d had to sell the house I had due to the divorce etc.
I was also supposed to be “leading” at a Scripture Union Beach Mission. Scripture Union is a protestant based non-denominational group which has various outreaches, but one is what they call “Beach Mission”. They’ll set up a marquis (large tent) at a camping ground or caravan park during the school holidays over Christmas, and run programs for the kids of local campers, with a view to children’s evangelisation.
Of course the parents are happy to get the kids off their hands for a few hours.
This was a new culture to me, and I was feeling out of my depth to boot.
I was in a cynical frame of mind, and asking myself “How do I know this is all true, and not just a psychological prop?”
Each day we would have a Bible Study for “leaders” without the kids present, usually around 2 or 3pm or thereabouts, which was led by the overall camp leader.
Now I was sitting on one of the chairs or bench seats, half dozing off, but in a cynical frame of mind. The leader was reading from Samuel or Kings, regarding David. But when he got to the words “… man after my own heart…”, this “double whammy” hit me out of nowhere. It was like a breath going through me in waves from head to foot. I nearly fell off the chair I got such a shock.
After the camp was over, I related the incident to my own pastor. His comment was “I think the Lord was just giving you some encouragement. He knew you’d been through a tough time.”
Now that happened twice more, and there have been other spiritual incidents of other sorts. So I know God’s there from personal experience. But even so, the way He works can be very hard to accept sometimes. He can be pretty unfair and somewhat humiliating.
I think it was Saint Theresa, and if anyone knew God, she did, who when she was knocked off her horse and her brand new cloak ended up in the mud, protested about it. She seemed to get the reply “This is how I treat all my friends”.
She snarled back, “Then it’s no wonder you’ve got so few of them!”
So you may sometime get a direct sense of God’s presence. But don’t think that means that from that time on, Christian life will be one long litany of beer and skittles.
I actually have been reading the Bible, but I feel like I’m doing so more out of obligation than out of really wanting to read it. I read through the gospels and right now I’m on Acts, and I have to be honest, Acts hasn’t been the most interesting thing to me. I will definitely try your suggestion. Thank you so much for your help!
I’d suggest you just pray to God that He will give you some unmistakeable sign of HIs presence. You may have to wait a while, but He will certainly hear you.
Tell him you love him over and over. And that you accept whatever he wishes and bless him for it. That I know will get his attention.
One more thing…get rid of all deliberate sins.
May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.
To know God, you must first know yourself,
Learn about yourself,discover your own weakness and strengths first,
Accept your own faults, and try to understand what actually causes those strengths & weaknesses , be forgiving of your own faults, if you discover these thing in the name of God , then you will have a better understanding of the power of God,
It will also strengthen your spiritual being, with a strengthened spiritual mindset ,
You will lose doubt, if there is no doubt,it will show,because your personality will glow ,
So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.”
and we know Jesus took human form and walked the earth - He’s real. Maybe that helps?
Worlds, the Bible shouldn’t be a chore but a book to enjoy. Read the scriptures and just soak them in with no agenda on mind. Close it when you want to. Allow the Word of God to reside in your Soul. Then Scriptures would be much more fulfilling. And of course start with easier more updated verses as are found in the New Testament. The Old Testament can be a little rough around the ears and edges.
Pretty much everyone who thinks they’re relating to God is really only relating to their own thoughts. If you truly want to know God and not just your thoughts about God, turn your attention away from thought and toward That which perceives them.
I think this “is spot-on”. I think it was St. Jerome who said, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” Logically, then, it follows that knowledge of the Scriptures is knowledge of Christ.
In other words, if you want to know God, then know His Word – this means knowing the Bible (not only what it says, but also what it means, the interpretation the Holy Spirit has given the Church), receiving the Eucharist, and following and fulfilling Jesus’ commandments (not only refraining from sin, but doing good, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, etc).
(I think it’s the same as coming to know anyone: We observe what they do, and listen to what they have to say.)
So for a start, how much do you recommend I read a day? A few verses? A chapter? Thank you!
That depends on you, your time, etc. Personally, I find the USCCB’s daily reading a good staple for my daily routine (also available from their ‘Bible’ drop-down menu or clicking a date on the calendar).
Catholic Answers also sells (or used to sell) a Read-the-Bible-in-one-year, a selection of the Old Testament and New Testament, prefaced by a quotation from a saint. They estimate it taking about 20 minutes, but of course it depends on your reading speed. I suppose you might get it from Ignatius Press, although I recall it being from Our Sunday Visitor.
Exactly. But how to do that? I recommend starting with a concept called “Cloud of the Unknowing.” That is also the title of a classic 14th century book on Catholic spirituality and prayer.
If I take everything my human mind can know and even imagine and put them together, I call this my “Cloud of the Knowing.” Within that cloud, I can have any name or description of God that makes sense to me or that doesn’t, and it is still within the cloud.
But the cloud is but a speck of actual knowledge. If you think you know a lot, take my SD’s advice to me as a technical person for my very first reading assignment, Job 37-42.
God exists in the Cloud if the Unknowing. Any name, any word we apply to God, no matter how majestic to us, is nothing. It is just us thinking about it. If we want God to come to us in any way that doesn’t just reinforce what our minds already have thought (or are capable of thinking at any given point in time) we must move into the Cloud of the Unknowing.
This is what Jesus meant by Old Wineskins – essentially the Cloud of the Knowing. You can’t know God “personally” by thinking about Him or heaping one glorious name after another upon Him, as we see many people do. People can emote all they want and say how much they love God, and I’m sure they do, but as long as it’s in their minds and mouths it isn’t taking them out of their intellectual comfort zones.
The Cloud of the Unknowing author recommends silent prayer. And not meditation, and not “trying to think of nothing on purpose.” It’s more like you just sit and calmly let your thoughts go by without investing any particular focused interest in them. This way you can get your head out of the way so that the God can access your heart. I think of the heart as our “light” and our mind, the “bushel basket” Jesus speaks of. If your mind interprets everything before it gets to your heart, you will not likely even notice the action of the Holy Spirit, much less be guided by it.
Does this help?
I feel your pain. I think Acts is pretty boring, too.
I actually downloaded the Audible version of the New Testament, and like to just keep it playing in the background as I go about my daily activities. That way it doesn’t “take time” and it allows God to speak to me while I’m paying attention to other things. Now and then it catches my attention and I hear something useful.
Hi, how do I get myself an Audible version of the New Testament for my window’s 8 laptop computer? Any ideas or suggestions?
That certainly does help, but when you were talking about the silent prayer, I was confused as to what you meant. When you said “let your thoughts go by”, did you mean to just not think, or try not to focus on thinking, or something else? Also, when you say “heart” I’m usually confused as to what this means. Does it mean my spirit, or the emotional side of my mind, or, again, something else? Sorry for all these questions, I’m just a little confused.
As for the second part of your answer, I actually have the Bible app, so I can probably have the app read to me.
Thanks so much for your response!