Thursday, October 9, 2014

Catholic Spiritual Experiences- What Does the Holy Spirit Feel Like?

This discussion came from the Catholic Answers Forum.  Catholics discuss what the Holy Spirit feels like:

"The Holy Spirit doesn't just give us feelings. He changes our hearts and lives. He makes us desire God, believe in him, love him, and be sorry for sin. He makes us love our neighbor and endure hardship with joy. He gives us special insights about ourselves and others. He helps us to have true confidence that we can be saved. Of course we can resist his influence or put up obstacles, or just be passive and not grow, in which case we will regress. 'Feelings' are nice, but not necessary to live a Spirit-filled life. If we depend too much on feelings to follow God, we do not yet love him for his own sake."

-from Catholic Answers forum user Ad_Orientum, post 11

"I've had an encounter with the Holy Spirit a few times, usually when being prayed over. I can only explain it as the most peaceful feeling you will ever encounter .... peace just pure peace ..... the Holy Spirit is a very important part of my prayer life."

-from Catholic Answers forum user CatherineFitz, post 14

"Some times when I'm reading Scripture, the Catechism, or if I hear a great truth of God I feel a sense of electricity go through my body. The Holy Spirit is getting my attention! He's saying pay attention! I have this deep sense of KNOWING that what I just read or heard is TRUE!
I have on rare occasion been given a gift of prophesy for some one. Some who are familiar with the Holy Spirit are very excited! Others who don't know God think I'm crazy, and should be on meds... until the prophesy comes true. Then they are stunned, and like, 'what?'
I feel the Holy Spirit at Mass, during the Sacraments, and in the music. The Holy Spirit calls us to surrender, deep surrender, be at peace. And it's a most excellent journey!"

-from Catholic Answers forum user Regina_Love, post 17

"Sometimes when I pray, I start to feel as if I am on skin, my face, and even my heart. It is as if the Lord is pouring love into me. I feel overwhelmed by his love, and I love him more than I have ever loved anyone in my life. At these times I wish I could just die on the spot and be with him forever. I am filled with joy and I am afraid of nothing. I want to do anything He asks of me. Other times...say while reading scripture...something will pop out and it is clear that is a message for me. It brings me to tears. I have had this happen during mass too...the priest will be giving his homily and say something that makes time stop for me. I start crying and can't even remember the rest of what he says."

-from Catholic Answers forum user WaitingForJesus, post 19

"The Holy Spirit feels like nothing I've ever felt before. I felt Him for the first time about nine months ago, and He's simply amazing. He moves me; He moves through and within me. He is the tears of my soul. I spent my whole life bottling up my feelings, unable to face myself. I was cold and unfeeling, but not by nature. Now my nature has come out, and I weep for joy at the beauty of Love Himself. He woke me up and taught me to be the man He'd designed me to be. He is all that is lovely and comforting in this world. I love Him so much, and I thank Him every day for my heart.
... Bottom line: the Holy Spirit is transformative. He took my old life and slam-dunked it in the rubbish bin."

-from Catholic Answers forum user Sorenu_Itenu, posts 22, 30

"I've had wonderful feelings come after prayer. I am, unfortunately, unable to give the experiences justice. I had felt incredible love and forgiveness and a physical warmth in my heart. I'd almost come to tears at these moments - found them incredibly humbling.
For me, these feelings did more to help me change my lifestyle than my own will was able to accomplish itself. I don't mean to say if you haven't had the feeling you are doomed - just that for me it was more profound than anything I could rationalize for myself. I'm definitely a sinner, and I think God knew I was in need of some help."

-from Catholic Answers forum user RedFox0456, post 32

Catholics discuss the Holy Spirit bringing people to tears at Mass:

"Has anyone had the 'gift of tears' before consecration?  I had them this morning, just before the priest washed his hands. I usually always have them after I receive Communion when they come. The tears just came all of a sudden for no apparent reason.
...this is the gift of the Holy Spirit being active in your life in a profound way. Accept it and thank the Spirit for allowing you to experience it.
...It truly is a gift. It comes from the Holy Spirit through you, but not from you. It is His gift at that time to you. It is a wonderful experience and He gives it to you at Will. I experienced it for quite a while before I found out what was happening. Just enjoy His union with you and just let the tears come...  It is a gift from Almighty God, just enjoy the intimate union."

-from Catholic Answers forum user lakotak, post 1, 15, 17

"I have to fight the tears sometimes as I kneel next to the priest at the altar during the consecration. I also experience this after receiving when I go back to my chair before the closing prayer..."

-from Catholic Answers forum user Lapey, post 2

"I have, many times. I didn't know what they were at the time it began. I would literally have tears streaming down my face through no control of my own, before the consecration, and while I received/after I received Communion."

-from Catholic Answers forum user thequietsinger, post 7

"I began having tears after receiving Communion at Mass -- suddenly, and with a deep feeling of joy, gratitude and peace."

-from Catholic Answers forum user crcurrie, post 29

"I did experience it one day after Confession. There I was walking home one beautiful spring day, it was a Saturday. The tears of joy just started pouring out and inside it felt as though the Holy Spirit was caressing my heart."

-from Catholic Answers forum user Abba, post 34

From another thread.  A Catholic describes a spiritual experience while partaking of the Eucharist.

"I was baptized, confirmed, and partook of the Eucharist last Saturday night during the Easter Vigil. It was magnificent and I am so happy to now be a member of the Catholic Church.
...When I was offered and received the Host, nothing happened. However, when I partook of the Blood of Christ, before I could even get back to the pew my entire upper torso seemed to 'heat up.' As soon as the blood hit my stomach I felt this warmth (I mean EXTREME warmth) and the tears came uncontrollably. This was the most dramatic experience of my life and I’ve been on this planet for 51 years. Well, this is probably a lame description but it’s the best I can do."

-from Catholic Answers forum user tmac1956, post 1

Another Catholic describes a spiritual Eucharist experience:

"I think the easiest thing to say is that God's main influence on my life is in peace. The pure peace and calm that I feel in the presence of the Eucharist and during the sacraments (especially confession and Mass) are really incomparable to anything I've ever felt anywhere else.
And I believe that I'm present for a miracle every time I go to Mass, when God himself descends to earth and allows us to consume Him and become one with Him"

-from reddit post, "Ask Me Stuff About Catholicism", by user RexPontifex

Other spiritual experiences:

"I've been involved with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for those 20 years. I have felt His Presence off and on both during certain times of prayer and occasionally when I'm not in a 'prayer mode'. I'd say it's plenty of dryness with occasional reminders, 'Hey! I'm here! I love you!' I've seen tongues, words of knowledge, prophecy.
I believe that most miracles are of the heart or the soul (besides the Eucharist), but I have seen one or two physical changes. (My memory is a little fuzzy, but) an old man was doubled over with arthritis at a healing service, and he was prayed over and he stood straight up and walked around. An acquaintance of mine had pretty severe carpal tunnel, and she was healed of that."

-from reddit post, "Ask Me Stuff About Catholicism!", comment by user scardeal

"I am a revert not a convert (was raised catholic then left for protestant churches) and I had many doubts when I returned to the catholic church. Not Mary, but many other things.
...Most of my doubts are gone now. It's taken 4 years though. Just keep trying to learn and to understand and don't give up in the meantime. If you keep seeking God, He will answer. I have found that to be true. If I get confused now I ask God to show me the truth. He has and He will do it for you too. But maybe in His timing, not ours."

-from Catholic Answers forum user AnneTeresa, post 9

"...I was playing guitar and singing at a 6-week charismatic Life in the Spirit Seminar...  On week six, as everyone was going forward to be prayed over for receipt of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I sat in the back waiting to play closing music. One by one my friends went forward for prayer...  As I watched them cry tears of joy and burst into song, I got the strangest feeling of being in a holy place. I remember thinking, 'God, if this is real, I want it!'. The next thing I knew (literally) I was up front on my knees with tears in my eyes, and the words of all new praise songs flowing through my head. And I heard a voice from over my right shoulder; it said 'Welcome home, Tom'.
...Ok, I realize some of you may not recognize the Charismatic movement as credible, but that’s where I found God and surrendered to him."

-from Catholic Answers forum user Mathias64, post 29

These two testimonies are transcribed from videos on the Catholics Come Home website.  A woman tells of her return to the Catholic Church after leaving it in highschool:

"When I was away from church, I yearned to be home.  What brought me back was my longing for the Eucharist.  The Eucharist fills me with the Spirit you can't find anywhere else.  I have a peace when I walk through the doors of the Catholic Church, like that's where I belong."

-from Pam's Testimony

A man tells of his spiritual experience of confession.

"I had this sin that I carried in my heart for a long time.  And I told myself for many, many years that the Lord wouldn't forgive me for this.  When Father in confession says, 'Your sins are forgiven,' there truly is a feeling of weight lifted off.  I don't care if it's two or three little sins that you're carrying, there's a feeling of, 'I can breathe deeply again.  I feel pure inside, and I'm ready to come to Mass.'"

-from Frank's Testimony

A man converts to Catholicism from Islam.  This conversion experience came from Rev. Imambux Bawa's personal blog:

"I actually had the experience that I had been longing for, something impossible to put into words.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.’ How can I describe it to anyone who has not experienced it himself? Instead of darkness I began to see light everywhere. By divine grace, I experienced the love of God that cannot be expressed in words. My heart was dancing with ecstasy. I began to feel that my soul was imprisoned within my mortal body. I saw so much love on the Lord’s face and all around me, that my heart went out in love towards everyone.
With every breath I felt inspired to pray for the salvation of all mankind. I began to feel sorry for those who disregard this experience and hence lose a great blessing. My heart urged me to even give up my life, like the Lord did, to bring sinners to the righteous path and to devote all my energy, knowledge and life for serving the Lord.
By accepting Christ the Lord, I have received peace beyond understanding and my journey in this world has been filled with delight.
May all my countrymen experience and receive this divine favor."

-from "My Spiritual Experience", Rev. Imambux Bawa

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