Many times in my life I have been blessed with a clear and tangible sign of Gods presence and love. Sometimes it is an audible voice warning of danger or distress in another prompting action like waiting five extra minutes before getting into the car or making a phone call. Sometimes it is a sign of reassurance like the visible sparkling of iridescent green lights to all in the room on my first day of radiation treatment or the landing of a large monarch butterfly on my shoulder when I asked for an angel to hold me close. It is not a question of whether or not these things happen, it is more about being open to accept them in gratitude and joy when they occur. I am thankful to God every day for each and every miracle He brings into my life for it is through Him and in Him all joy is found.
What an interesting question. I have been following this thread since it started.
First, I always caution myself and others when we get into an area like this, I, like Paul, do not want to "tempt" the devil or participate in any of his games. When I was young (pre/ early teens) those dang Ouiji Boards were all the rage. Girls even brought them to Girl Scout camp! At the time thought they were stupid, but didn't know a thing about them or the torments that the devil can suck us in to. (Think: Poor Catholic/ Christian Formation). Anyways, I mostly found them boring, and found something else to do. In fact, I believe I was being protected by my guardian angel and the Holy Spirit.
Second, fast forward 10-12 years... Young RN, early 20's. I was a new oncology nurse, and we took care of everyone on the same unit... surgical, medical and the dying. I always felt the presence of the spirit (really the soul) when someone was dying, the pull, and tug, and sometimes a tussle (or resistance) of the soul and the body, and finally the "lift" as the soul made it's way out of the body and moved upwards. It seemed so natural to me, and I felt it so strongly, and every time I was with a dying patient that I took it for granted. I thought it was a phenomenon that everyone experienced, and didn't really talk about it.
Third, 15 years passed..... I felt it with my own father as he died in my arms. I was sitting across the room and said to my mom "did you feel that?" and she said "oh, it's just the fan." I knew better and crossed the room to his hospital bed in the living room. There was that familiar tug, and I wished him "Godspeed.... until we meet again" and his soul gently lifted up and quickly left the room. He was gone. I said to my mom "Wow, did you feel that? It was beautiful," and she looked at me with a blank face, crying and asked "is he gone?" Later I asked her about it and she had felt nothing. He was just breathing, then not breathing to her.
I have since had spiritual counsel about this and have come to realize that I have a charism in this area. It is a gift from the Holy Spirit, and it's not one to mess around with. I also know that I tend to be "extra sensitive" and have learned how to deal with it. My best explanation for this is that at the time of death the veil between the earthly world that we live in (taste, see, feel, hear, smell) is lifted and some of us get a glimpse or feel the presence of the spiritual world that is all around us. I believe that it's a good thing that we don't feel this spiritual world all the time. We are humans and do not have the capacity to interact with the spirit world on a constant basis.
One final story; I had a very young cancer patient pass in the fall of 2008. I had taken care of her with her first cancer diagnosis (she was a beautiful newlywed) in early 2007. In the late summer of 2008 she came to the surgical clinic again, 7 months pregnant, and with a massive recurrence of her primary cancer. She had to deliver the baby early (neither of them were healthy enough to continue the pregnancy). After some NICU time the baby came home, mom had some chemo, and then she died (the week of her due date). It was so sad.
But this is my story... I was on a PTO week when she died. I was sound asleep and woke up around 4 AM. I had the heaviest pressure on my chest, and had no idea why. Her name came to my thoughts and the heaviness started to lift. I thought "K" must be in distress. I started to pray for her, for whatever distress she was in. The heaviness left and I went back to sleep. When she didn't come for a clinic visit the next week (when I was back to work) I called the hospice to find out her status. She had died that same early morning that I was awakened, just minutes before 4 AM! I realize now that I was called to prayer. I don't know who needed it most, me, her, her newborn baby, or maybe her husband who becoming a young widowed man with a new baby.
So. I caution anyone who experiences spiritual phenomenon. We need to be wise, use Holy Water (I have even used blessed salt), and discern the good from the evil to the best of our earthly/ human ability. Get some spiritual counsel!
One final, final thought! There is a priest on Facebook who describes his recent experience in a hotel room while he was traveling. He sprinkled his room with holy water blessed with the extraordinary form. After he blessed the room he experienced all sorts of scary spiritual phenomena, indeed it was the devil himself. I don't know if the thread is still up but it's worth looking up Fr Mark Rutherford on FB and trying to read his posts.
Again, thank you Luke, and sorry I have rambled on, but it's a topic of interest and caution to my heart.
Then things changed.
The idea of infinity has fascinated me since I was very young. God is "infinite." I remember thinking that as a little kid. Wow. Try to wrap your brain around that.
While I still try to this day, I can't really understand Infinity or God. But, golly, its real.
I have had what I now understand to be spiritual experiences since I was young. My family has lived on old land, in old houses, in an old community. Often by grave yards. Often in homes where the history was unknown. Not to be spooky. I am just stating the facts.
Ma claims to have felt presences. Me too. Vivid dreams. All the vague paranormal stuff that language can't really convey. Premonitions, gut feelings, weird lights, breezes, temperature changes . . . standard fare, spooky stories to tell in the dark stuff.
I display cognitive traits a psych text labels "magical thinking." But, that isn't enough to explain weird stuff that has happened to me.
I've almost drowned. I've been in a car accident . . . There has always been someone there to help. Always. Let's just say I'm beyond fortunate to be alive.
I've seen stuff that simply can't satisfy me as simple mental phenomenon. It all seems too coordinated to be accidental or just "in my head."
I've seen a cloud of smoke swoop up into a horned demon and blow through me like a cold wind.
I've heard radios crackle and hiss with no power source: batteries not included stuff.
I've seen storms of lightning coordinate with prayers in times of desperation.
Nature, the sun, clouds, rain, breezes, birds, pets, you name it, all of them behave in ways that I can only explain to myself as God trying to say something to me.
Highway to Heaven kind of happenings.
My grandpa died in 2003. I remember writing a poem for the family, and he was "with me." I started to talk to him, and he back to me. Not with a voice, but with something I understand as a sensation like music. Not audible. But something else. Something musical.
Then I picked up on the idea that maybe life is not so random. Life seemed to be trying to tell me something.
Michael de Montaigne, a French Catholic wrote An Apology for Raymond Sebond. Raymond Sebond wrote a book on Natural Theology. I don't know the Catholic Church's stand on this text. Just the same, the idea in the book really resonates with me: Before God inspired the Bible through the prophets, Humans were able to read the book of Nature. The best way I can explain "reading the book of Nature" is to say that "Nature" or "Creation" is written by God using events and objects and creatures as signs in a language that speak to Human kind.
Every event is like a letter, a series of events make up words, series of series of events make up phrases, sentences, building up, up, and into what Humans experience as the book of life itself.
This idea has completely changed my life. Everything is a spiritual event. God is talking to us all the time, communicating his plan through the reality of Creation.
There is nothing random about Life. Nothing Random At All . . .
I get what I ask for, what I pray for . . . prayer works.
I have seen iridescent floating light that seem to act as protection when I need it most. Like airborne glowing jellyfish. Subtle energy charges that hang in the air like wafting, morphing clouds of neon gas. These seem to be good spirits. I've seen these on many many occasions.
I've seen darkness that lives. Like creeping shadows . . . inky, black, mindless, hungry . . . Not good. Not good at all.
I have seen what seem like hidden guides to life manifest as people I meet at crossroads in my life. Little undercurrents to phrases that act as signposts along the journey we call life. Weird coincidences where people I've never met seem like old friends and come along at just the right moment . . . phone calls from Grandma, Sis, or Bro, and just when you are about to go on the bum kicks.
Smells like flowers, flutter of a butterfly, a blue bird or a cardinal, or a rabbit going fluff, fluff along . . .
Or the other way around, I'll be in a dark mood and dredge up old enemies and hard times past . . .
Swarms of flies . . . dark smells like death. Flickering lights. Stubbed toes. Candles going out.
But, in spite of all the dark spooky stuff, the only real threat to my actual physical well being has been getting all bent out of shape about any of this and becoming frightened to the point where I can't keep my head on strait. And i have usually brought such fear upon myself. In light of this, over the years, I have now found that loving prayer oriented to God through Jesus, seems to WORK as an antidote to this weirdness, disorientation, and spooky confusion. Well, not SEEMS TO, but actually, beyond all doubt: WORKS! I don't know why this seems so nuts to say, but I am saying it anyway.
Prayer works. Light works. Holy water works, blessed sacred medals work, appeals to saints, and the condition of a heart that is peaceful and oriented to God, these things work to keep the cold, inky, hungry weird blackness away. The simplest prayer: JESUS. Two syllables. It works. Jesus is the purest, whitest, protection from evil there is. Nuff said.
Ma says "I claim the blood of the Lamb for my protection." Thank you, Jesus.
Dunno why I am posting this stuff. But, I asked the question, so I suppose I should answer it.
Angels, spirits, The Holy Spirit. It's all real. It's always goin' on. Just listen for the music. If any old friends read this stuff they'd think I'd gone crazy. Ah, well . . .
So, beauty is what it's about, never mind completeness and accuracy?
I seriously doubt that Paul meant any harm, or did harm, with his comment. But, your reaction certainly lacks charity.
Without accuracy in content, we can write some beautiful things... never mind, that it be "embellished" or misleading.
If the lady simply recognizes/makes a technical correction, there is no need for that to tarnish the rest of what she states.
Yes, to some of us the distinction he cites is extremely important. It needs to be understood by more.
I wonder what ladies here would say about a man not being accurate in his representations? (It's a question, not a statement).
Anyone who would leave the Church over a statement such as his either has no understanding of our faith or has already rejected it.
Many (if not all) people are wounded and are in some stage of healing. If we add to their wounds by a lack of charity, it is no wonder people who are weak in their faith will go somewhere else. We all want to feel loved, but that is different for every personality. Even Corinthians states, "if I speak with the voice of angels, but have not love, I am nothing." There appears to be a fallacy in our thinking that just because what we say is true that it gives us a pass in the bluntness department. We all need to love more.