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(03-21-2017, 12:57 PM)In His Love Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-21-2017, 12:48 PM)J Michael Wrote: [ -> ]Okay...God became man in Jesus.  But Jesus was only incarnate and on this earth for approx. 33 years. 
Technically, He's on this earth in every Catholic [and Orthodox  Smile] church around the world, in their tabernacles, and on their altars at every Mass. Smile

Yes..."technically".  I know what you mean and you're right.  However....(you probably knew that was coming, didn't you  Smile ?), He always seems to be in the form of bread (either in wafer form or Prosphora) and/or wine.  Now, no matter how you cut it (pun intended!), no matter whether you accept the concept of transubstantiation or any other explanation of how the bread/wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, it is still extremely difficult to have a "personal relationship" with in the sense that we have personal relationships with other people or animals.  I know, it occurs on a mystical plane or level or what-have-you, but that is a place or state that I and I'd venture to guess most other people tend to spend very, very little time in, if at all.
(03-21-2017, 12:48 PM)J Michael Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-19-2017, 03:52 PM)Sequentia Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-19-2017, 10:33 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ].My own conversion to faith in Jesus Christ was due to a mystical experience that never happened again, but since that time I've never experienced anything else but semi aridity in prayer. I tend to be skeptical of the miraculous, things like stigmata or even Marian apparitions. I don't personally have much interest in stuff like that but it might just be my temperament. I admit that the Tilma is something undeniable though. That's probably the most intriguing phenomenon in Latin Catholic history.

I've got a sense of the presence of God, the Theotokos and the saints but it's mostly by the luminous Darkness of faith and the habit of prayer than anything else. I guess I don't want to experience something that might make me question my sanity. I'm generally ok with prayer being a drudgery that I can't live without.

I find that for me that one experience I had was enough to convince me ( it's not provable in any way to others) that Jesus Christ is real. I suppose that will have to be the most I get this side of the veil.

I had one mystical experience myself a couple years ago that involved the scent of jasmine flowers suddenly permeating my bedroom. I've never been able to replicate that odor. I try not to look too much into it or think about it, but I read that the scent or rose+jasmine flowers occurs at the tomb of Ven. Maria of Agreda in Spain (the nun who wrote the "Mystical City of God"). Still no idea why a 16th century Spanish nun would want to come visit me, if that's the case. We have to be careful not to intentionally "chase" after miracles, but this wasn't one of those cases.

Unfortunately I still have a hard time believing in God, or rather that God loves me...or any human being for that matter. I do not know what it means to have a "personal" relationship with an almighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God. Having a "relationship" with God is only a concept or idea to me, not an actual person.

This is something I struggle with, sometimes mightily, too.  How does a human person, a creature, have a personal relationship with an omniscient, omnipresent Creator of all the universe?  Just how does that work, in practice?  Okay....we can think about Him, try (yeah, right...) to conceptualize Him, pray to Him, "talk" to Him, etc., etc.  But sometimes, maybe more often than not, how do we know that His "replies" or whatever are not just our own inner dialogue or noise in our heads?  Okay...God became man in Jesus.  But Jesus was only incarnate and on this earth for approx. 33 years.  Then....poof!!..."up" (if this even involves some kind of physical directionality) he went to heaven....In my more difficult and doubtful moments I can't help but wonder how that fosters any kind of "personal" relationship??  But...hey...I just keep on plodding on, saying my prayers, reading my spiritual material and Scripture, living my life as closely to how I think God want me to, and, well.....hoping for the best, whatever that might turn out to be. Unsure Unsure

Those are all great rhetorical questions.

Quote:How does a human person, a creature, have a personal relationship with an omniscient, omnipresent Creator of all the universe?  Just how does that work, in practice?

It's the deepest of mysteries how this works. Too much thinking about it leads to doubt I suppose. I can understand why to some folks this could lead to thinking this dialogue is really an inner monologue with ones psyche or subconscious and not God. Personally speaking I have always somehow believed in God---not necessarily God as Trinity or God in Christ---but God, the "omniscient, omnipresent Creator of the Universe. Why this is so is beyond my understanding.  In light of my studies of Islam lately I can say that their idea of the "fitrah" or covenant with mankind before we took birth or something like the controversial (in trad Catholic circles) idea that we are somehow hardwired with a desire for God is compelling. It's like we know on some deep level that we are only strangers here, and that this isn't all there is. At least I feel that way.

As a Christian we can have a relationship with God especially because of the Incarnation. There are consequences to an Omnipresent and Omniscent God taking on our humanity. Listen to the late Father Dumitru Staniloae:

Quote:We know that an inter-communication exists from person to person; it's a fact that according to the extent that they bear them, the burdens, pains and joys of others pass from one to another in a mystical way. It's a fact that one can feel all the moods of others, receiving them into himself, or penetrating them. A person, by the sensitivity of love, is able to know and to understand his neighbor, and can be burdened with the living of all his experiences. How much more can Jesus do this,the loftiest man,the man perfect in love, for His neighbor. He is the one who has a perfect freedom from sin, therefore from egotism and indifference. This gives Him a unique sensitivity. He is close to everyone;He comprehends with supreme subtlety what is in everyone, and also takes part generously and without sin in the beating of every heart. He shares everyone's fondest hopes and his struggles against evil and He strengthens him.

Dumitru Staniloae Orthodox Spirituality page 60-61

Somehow that particular passage has spoken to me for years now. It brings out in a certain way how close He is to us because of the Incarnation.

These days I don't engage in any kind of Eucharistic devotions, but for Roman Catholics that is one way to get close to Him. I prefer the rhythym of the Prayerbook, Divine Office or the Jesus Prayer. You just have to find some way of trying to connect with God even while realizing that no matter what He is always far beyond anything we can imagine and will always remain veiled from our eyes. Even in Heaven God will still be God and we will never fully comprehend Him.

Finally I will say that at least for me life would seem meaningless without some connection to God.  Even though my prayers are often dry and sometimes just from force of habit I feel like I absolutely need to pray. This need to pray to God and not the Void is one reason why I could never find happiness in Buddhism despite finding much that was good and noble in it. It is utterly Godless, and the void is lifeless. Although I cannot prove to anyone the validity of Theism there is something within me that must believe in God and pray. I can't explain it adequately but it is something i have felt deeply from my childhood to now.


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