Catholics teach that the Royal Road to Perfect Love (of God) is to suffer always; to pray always. Look around you: there are different religions, different houses of worship. Majestic Vedic temples, massive cathedrals, little white churches: Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Mormon. You name it. You enter. You become one. You belong. You follow and you offer your soul. Each is a different roller-coaster with its own route, its own set of thrills. Lord Chaitanya taught that the Royal Road to perfect love is to chant and dance sweetly the Holy Names of God, and to feast on Holy Prasadam (Eucharist) . Yes, suffering is there; austerity is there; rules and regulations are there. They are given for our own good. Follow and be blessed. Differences do not necessarily mean one side is condemned. I wish I could talk to God face-to-face. I would ask Him about Catholics. I would ask Him about the Vaishnavas. I want to know more. If you haven’t noticed, Catholic saints are fantastic. They give their all. They push themselves unbelievably hard. They enter nirvana. Crippled nuns, cloistered nuns, Franciscan Monks; they float in space; the bilocate; they make the blind see; they raise the dead; they see Jesus; they talk to His Divine Mother. Mary bent over and handed Her Child to Saint Agnes. When the saint’s ecstasy broke, in her hand she discovered the little gold chain and cross that the Child was wearing around His neck: the one she was holding onto so firmly in her trance. She didn’t want to give the Child back to His Mother. Sor Maria gave Indians in San Angelo, Texas rosary beads she had taken from her convent in Agreda, Spain. A Chief gave his rosary to a Spanish Padre. The year was about 1620. But she had never stepped a foot outside the village where she was born. 500 years ago a great devotee sat in Vrindavan, India and in his ecstasy he sat boiling milk for Krishna. The milk began to overflow and in horror he reached out with his hands to push the milk back into the pot. This jolted him back to reality. A bird was singing. He then noticed that his hands were burned from the boiling milk. He had to wrap them in a cloth to hide them from everyone. But they knew. Yes, I would like to talk to God.
Hi, reb 108,
You don’t have to actually see God face to face in order to talk to Him. You can talk to Him anytime. Just start up a conversation with Him as if He were right in front of you. Ask Him anything you want.
Thank you. Your words are kind.
And remember to listen. I would highly recommend the practice of lectio divina. God speaks to us through his Word in Sacred Scripture. But do we really hear? Lectio Divina provides a way to hear God’s word, meditate upon it, respond to it, and listen to God’s response.
The four steps are:
There are many books that cover this practice and I have found it to have opened up a new world in my prayer life.
I wish I had PR’s big like button!
Again, thank you so much. Nobody wants to say, “its impossible,” but I guess I just have a fairy-tail-like dream of sitting down, face-to-face with God and talking to Him for an hour. And sure, certain Catholic saint’s have done this. St.Catherine Laboure comes to mind. Two hours speaking to Mary with even her hands in Mary’s lap. I’m just saying, “wouldn’t it be great?” And sure, it has happened to a few great souls over the past couple thousands years. I think mostly is a divine ecstasy. There are so many examples. St. Francis of Assisi, etc. And to some tiny degree I already put my feet into the holy waters you mention, but nowhere, sadly, what is required. There are so many distraction in my life. And besides, I am just a sinner. OK, there is also ample, good-solid evidence that God Almighty was sitting in a beautiful garden located in Puri, India about 500 years ago. So here is a real example of God talking face-to-face with men who knew precisely who they were talking to. But of course, if you follow the accounts of this meeting you quickly realize that these were not ordinary men. From what I have read, it seems that you have to be deserving to converse with God. Like following the 4 steps you mention. But I do believe in causeless mercy. This is my only real hope. Thanks again.
I would not say that. God loves all of us - the sinner, the poor in spirit, and the lost.
But I do believe in causeless mercy. This is my only real hope.
Christians certainly agree! We receive God’s mercy without any merit of our own.
And truly, like you said, this is our only real hope!
From what I have read, it seems that you have to be deserving to converse with God.
I said this and I think I want to stick with it. But I don’t know the fine details. Why did St. Francis of Assisi become what he became? I almost tend to believe that the really remarkable (dynamic, famous, most noteworthy) saints are, in fact, angelic personalities who took birth before (John the Baptist), during, and after the advent of Christ to assist Him with His goals. How else did St. Francis of Assisi go from a fairly common man to who, and what he quickly became? I have read the four leading books on his life. Or, Catherine Laboure is another great example. So is Sor Maria de Jesus de Agreda. Or, the 400 saints who have raised the dead as detailed by Father Hebert. Its just that I read about them and they are very very special personalities. One out of tens of thousands. So this is why I wonder if you don’t have to be deserving to converse with God …like they did. I mean, on their level of divine communication. Sure, I go out into my man-cave and pray. That feels good, for sure. But its not on their level. How did they attain their state of grace? You have to admit that they were hardly creatures of this earth. Father Hebert mentions how rare they were. Just a few per century, perhaps. Out of all the Catholics. As I read, they all seemed to have some deep seated quality about them. Like they were born with it. Anyhow, this is all very interesting to me.
Well, Ive talked to God face to face (he didnt have a face, just a pair of hands with a candle lit and some inscription on it and a other worldly light full of colors that are not of this world. His voice was that of a roaring ocean but was very calm. Its the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me, and I am very humbled by it Oh yeah, His angel was with Him, Micheal.
The simple answer is that we don’t know why God chose to converse with theses blessed people more directly - but that shouldn’t trouble you at all. The fullness of salvation is available to all - from those with towering intellects, to those who have brain damage.
There is no ‘merit’ involved - only that we respond to the love that God has already shown us, even if we don’t quite understand.
Perhaps, you are struggling with the problem that God has not shown you a provable sign to verify his love for you in a logical way. But we are called to a life of faith through grace, not a mere intellectual reward for effort.
Faith in the midst of clear doubt, perhaps, is my struggle. Perhaps it is yours as well.
Very cool. Obviously I need to keep trying.
Hi Reb108. You asked why they saints did what they did. In Christianity we are basically asked to be like Jesus. In the words of St John, may Jesus increase and we decrease. For that to happen we have to die to the self. Perhaps this is similar to some teaching of great religions of today like Buddhism though I can’t say with certainty.
Jesus gave everything in obedience to the will of the Father. If we are to be like Jesus then we too have to give everything to God. The most valuable of our possession is of course the self and everything that we do is for the good of the self. This is conventional world wisdom and when we are exhorted to die to the self we are against the way of the world. Many say that Christianity is sign of contradiction and how true it is.
And yet the way of the suffering brings so much joy and contentment because what God has to offer us is much, much more than we can ever imagine. So yes, St Francis gave up all the pleasure of the world and lived a life of simplicity as many of the other saints as well.
We can only talk to God the more we are close to him, to follow him, to obey him and to choose him over everything else. It is easier then to talk to him when we are in communion with him. If not we can only request and perhaps quarrel and accuse God when we talk to him because we cannot understand his way and his love.
God bless you.
I too believe that the full salvation of all of us is available. Absolutely. When you say, “only that we respond to the love that God has already shown us,” you certainly hit that nail right on the head. I can tell that God is talking to you. As far as your next thought, I am not consciously struggling with a “provable sign,” but still this is also a very good point you make and I certainly feel blessed - through grace, indeed. As far as being squeezed by both faith and doubt, that would be a struggle.
As for myself, I didn’t even have parents who believed in God, took me to church, etc. As a little boy I took pleasure killing birds. Then I got bigger and killed deer. But fate intervened. My older sister was kind of a nut. Even as a kid she talked about flying saucers, mystic yogis, and Elvis Presley. This was back in the mid 50s. I’m now almost 67. Then one day she married the most senior Scientologist, next to L. Ron Hubbard. Again, I wasn’t much interested in any of her stuff. Still I visited them traveling from N.Y. to California. I went to a few meetings. I was 16. I was very much impressed, but God wasn’t mentioned or even recognized. Scientology is more of a “you are a God” based system. But again fate intervened. My hand got cut real bad at a paper mill. It got all stitched up and I was OK, but suffering from pain a million times greater than I ever thought possible. Then my sister and her husband show up. He told me he could help me with a technique he had been taught by L. Ron Hubbard. 40 minutes later the pain was 95% gone and I could finally lower my hand without it throbbing. This wasn’t a divine miracle but it was miraculous and my faith in him and my sister certainly improved greatly. I then spent a 4 years out in California studying under Charles Berner. One of my classmates was eventually hired by Steve Jobs years later and was part of the original Mac computers. But even with all this high-powered association I wasn’t all that happy. God wasn’t in my life. Again, Charles was most fond of teaching that I was God. One day in a lecture he mentioned Krishna (also spelled, Krsna). All I knew then was how that name was the most different and most beautiful-sounding name I had ever heard. He said that Krsna was some ancient divine-mystic who was roaming around India thousands of years ago causing all sorts of havoc. This was all totally new to me. Without God, and thanks to God, Charles’ mystique wore off and I got drafted. You know, the Vietnam war and all. Years “flittered” by and one day I was alone in a cabin in the Adirondacks and came upon a question I couldn’t answer: “What does my creator want me to do?” Then I thought about Krsna, thinking that perhaps He had left some message. So I opened that box and spent 5 wonderful years living with devotees of Lord Krsna. That is still and endless box of blessings that I hold most dear. 3 years ago I read about a Spanish nun. In a Sunday newspaper. Books about her were mentioned, pointing to a different box. So I reached in. I ordered a book. For the last 3 years all I have pretty much read is from this Catholic box. This, too, is an endless box of blessings and excitement that I hold most dear to my heart. Yeah, there are some differences between the two religions but I don’t get all heated about them. I just feel enormously blessed to have found both in my life. There are ancient voices from each box giving me enormous faith in God. Doubt hasn’t a chance. Hmmm. I mustn’t sound so proud. Anyhow, back to your last point, I just know that it is because I have dared to reach into both boxes and sincerely believe that with God, all things are possible …that my faith and doubt are not troubled. Its just that I would love to sit down with God for an afternoon, like I could talk to you, and ask Him to explains some things to me. On the other hand, patience is required and in good time all will be revealed. And I know that I am a sinner and don’t deserve such a great favor from Him. I am going to pray more often. I am getting that message since starting this tread. Thank you for your reply. All glories to Lord Jesus Christ. Sorry for any typo errors.
Hi Reb 108. Thanks for sharing your background. Many years ago, when I was a New-Ager, I practiced a form of meditation called Surat Shabd Yoga, so I understand the attraction to eastern practices. I don’t know much about Krishna, but the form of mediation that I practiced taught that the world is bad, and that God is good, and that we must escape the illusions of this world through love of God and meditation. Not sure if this is similar to what followers of Krishna do. One of the many things that I like about Catholicism is that it teaches that God created the world, and that creation is good, since God created it. It’s not our true home, though. This might be one of the differences between eastern practices and Catholicism. I’m not sure what to make of miracles occuring outside of Catholicism. That’s a difficult thing to address, I would think.
I’m glad you’re here!
I didnt try for anything. It was when I had no longer believed in God and my loving family prayed for me. My life has been changed by prayer and I will also pray for you to friend.
You’re obviously familiar. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? One can truly have a conversation with God.
Every person who has been canonized a saint, other than the Blessed Virgin, has been a sinner. This is the scary part. We are all called to be saints and being a sinner doesn’t let us off the hook. It is tempting to believe that God made special people to be saints and the rest of us are just your run of the mill sinners so we don’t really have to be all that holy. And the worst part is that we think it is okay because God will understand. But we are all, each and every one of us, called to be saints and to make those around us saints as well. Pretty daunting when you think about it but it can be accomplished with God’s grace and a willing heart.
No one is deserving. All it takes is the desire. We have a Father in heaven who loves his children. What father would not desire to speak with his children. He awaits for you to approach him. He is the Father who stands looking down the road, waiting for his son, and when he sees his son he runs to him and throws his arms around him.
God bless you.
Dear kimg901, I firmly believe that the strongest force in the world is the prayer we pray for another person’s benefit. Thank you so much. I am honored to be your friend.
I can believe what you say. It is so simple and straight forward. Once, about 500 years ago, the Lord was standing in a temple in Puri, India. He was surrounded by many of His beloved disciples. They were near the altar, waiting for a door in front of it to be opened so that that could see the Holy objects. This is a true story. When the doors to the altar finally opened, an old lady came up behind the Lord who was standing near a stone pillar. She became so excite to see the altar, she actually tried to use the pillar and the Lord’s shoulder, where she placed her foot, to boost herself up so she could see better. Upon noticing the boldness of the old woman, the disciples in horror tried to pull the old woman down. But the Lord stopped His disciples and admonished them that they, too, should pray to have this woman’s eagerness.
Honestly, when I examine my “desire,” the amount of eagerness that I find in my heart to follow and love God is too insignificant to even discern. But I do believe in blessings and herein lay my hopes.