How to Have a Religious Experience

If you belong to any religion besides Judaism or Christianity, having a religious experience is simple stuff. You obtain it. If you’re a Buddhist, simply get better and better at meditation and complete separation from earthly desires, and you’ll obtain a supernatural experience of peace. If you’re a Muslim, keep on the Straight Way, look “in the heavens and the earth [for the] signs for those who believe” (Qur’an 45:3-5) and you’ll find them. If you’re a Wiccan, draw the circle, light the candles, call down the spirits, and have your religious experience.

If you’re Christian — and we’re all here for you, I promise — then you’re screwed. For Christianity, alone amongst the religions, holds that man cannot obtain God. The very first part of the Good News is the Really Bad News — God is an infinite being, and having rejected him by our sin, we are infinitely separated from him. This separation cannot be bridged by us, for the aggravatingly simple reason that we are finite creatures. The finite cannot fill an infinite absence.

This, by the way, is why we are upset by things like earthquakes and famine, child abuse and stubbed toes. We naturally desire perfection, but do not have it. We naturally desire a Heaven — a world without suffering — but nothing we do seems to get us there. We naturally desire to be happy, but happiness fades. Nothing humans do seems to bring humans what they naturally want. Christianity is just being Captain Obvious and claiming that this is the natural state of man: Separation from what he wants. Le sadness.

Thus the Christian — looking up to the sky, striving for an experience of the perfection he calls God — is the incarnation of an exercise in futility. He wants to reach God, and to have some experience of his God, but he follows a worldview which declares that it is impossible for him to do so.

But if we’ve skimmed even the thinnest layers of history, we know that Christianity is bursting at the seams with religious experience. To any man who would make the faith one amongst many — some merely moral way of living — I present the scandal of our Saints. They are — to this day — busy levitating, bi-locating, being taken up into ecstasy, getting the stigmata, prophesying, healing, working miracles, receiving visions, and being incorruptible after death.

But by presenting these Christians, I present an awkwardness: Man cannot reach God, yet the very religion that declares this contains examples of God and Man interacting to the point of ridiculousness. What, precisely, is going on?

Since you’re so good-looking, I’ll tell you: God reaches Man.

The Christian claim is precisely this: That around 4BC, “in the time of Herod king of Judea” (Luke 1:5), in a town called Galilee, God entered time and space, becoming Man in the womb of a certain Mary, under the care of a certain Joseph, a descendant of the kingly line of David.

He did this so as to reconcile Man with God, as the only human who — being infinite — can fill that infinite gap caused by Man’s continued rejection of God.

Believe it or deny it, my point is simply this: If the fundamental claim of Christianity is that God became Man so that Man could be one with God, then the Christian seeking religious experience should look decisively different than all other religions — decisively different, and decisively dumber. It seems apparent to me that there’s only one real way for the Christian to have an authentic religious experience, one that isn’t some psychology-on-crack affair anyways, and it’s this:

Stop trying to have a religious experience.

If God has reached down to us and opened up the pathway to eternal relationship with Him, than the role of the Christian is not to try, but to acknowledge. It’s not to reach, but to surrender and accept. It’s not to achieve, but to humble ourselves to the fact that there is One Who Has Achieved It All.

The Christian is not called to become good at prayer. On the contrary, all his prayer should be oriented towards the goal of being bad at praying. For the deeper the prayer, the more acute should be the realization that our prayers are nothing on their own. The deeper the prayer, the more understanding we should have that our prayer depends entirely on God, and that we can only speak to God in this way because of His action, not our own. (How can one be good at something that is pure gift? If I am given a million dollars, I should hardly speak of how good I am at making money. In the same way, if we are given the gift of prayer, we should hardly think that our goal is to get “good” at praying.)

So too with religious experience. If we sit down at church and “try” to have a religious experience, then we’ve already lost. If it is God who reaches down to Man, then all religious experience is His action upon us. And if it’s his action, then the only way to experience it is to stop caring about experiencing it, stop trying to experience it, and instead become humble, surrendering ourselves to whatever God wills for us, to do what this God-Man commanded us to, and love one another as He loves us. Why? Think about it like this:

If a Father has two children, and a gift to give, who is he more likely to give the gift to? The one who every day asks him for a gift, or the one who goes about doing what the Parent asks? To give a gift to one who asks for it and constantly tries for it is not to give a gift at all. It is to concede to a request.

The trick then is to become like little children, to obey the commandments, love one another, to recognize our complete dependence on God and give him thanks, doing all this not for the reward of religious experience, but simply out of earnest love for God. Then we’ll be prepared for religious experience. The rest is up to God.

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  • Rachel

    I love this! Thank you! :)

  • Peter Uhel

    Great, as always Marc.

  • Mary Liz Bartell

    Yes, God moves in mysterious ways and it’s not for us to make up lavish ceremonies or “pentecostal” experiences in order to “feel” his presence, for often God touches us in the silence of our bedrooms, or in the embrace of a dying loved one, or the whisper of the breeze on a summer’s day. I’ve been in great crowds of Christians at wonderful programs that “felt close to God” such as on my Cursillo 3-day I lived in 1999. I have also encountered God in my angriest and saddest moments in my life before I rediscovered my Catholic faith. To have a religious experience one needs only be attentive to God’s call… obedient, compliant with His will, and always Loving. Now every Mass, every hour of Eucharistic Adoration, every time I witness a Baptism or a Funeral for that matter can be a religious experience. Praying with my Husband can be a very close moment to Christ and so can dealing with a client in the office. There are so many ways we as Catholics can experience God’s grace without having a “WOW” or a buzz off of the occasion. Just be aware of how Christ is working in and through you! Tremendous blog Marc, thanks!

    • Skeddy

      “or in the embrace of a dying loved one”, how utterly, completely and heartbreakingly true.

  • Jeni Wilmot

    But I thought Catholics believed in earning their way to Heaven. Dude I’m so confused.

    Kidding. Kidding. Beeeautiful! I especially liked this line, “This, by the way, is why we are upset by things like earthquakes and famine, child abuse and stubbed toes”

    oh and the part about me being good looking ;)

    Keep it up as always. Love all you write! Speak the truth!

    • The Recovered Catholic

      Oh Jeni, I thought the same thing as you – “Well THIS doesn’t sound very Catholic!” Haha. As a former Reformed Protestant (now Catholic), I kind of chuckled to myself as I read this post. Our separated brethren have us all wrong.

  • Jody

    Another great post! As always, copying and pasting to my wall! : )

  • Anna Ahlbin

    This actually spoke directly to my heart. I needed to hear it today. Thank you.

  • Jay E.

    It’s gotten to the point where I hit “like” before I even read the post, and then when I get to end I wish I hadn’t because I can’t like it enough. :D

  • Karyn

    I do believe I get what you’re saying – it’s all coming from God, not from us. But if I do desire a religious experience, isn’t this achieved by receiving the Eucharist? One of the beautiful things about our faith is that we can let out a feeble “help” and Jesus is there for us in the Mass, literally becoming one with us. So we can choose to have a religious experience. How awesome! Because I don’t know that I would be capable of attaining nirvana or following the Straight Way – I’m not even good at not sinning five minutes after Confession!

    • Emily – UK Student!

      Yes, however the point is that we *receive* the Eucharist, we do not take it. It is a gift! So while we choose, we choose to *accept*, because this gift is being offered to us. God is *already* reaching down, rather than ‘giving in’ to our demands for a ‘religious experience’. :)

  • Alice

    Have you read St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography? She talks about this exact topic in it and urges prayerful people not to try to “ascend” on their own. If you have not, I highly recommend it.

  • Butterflytoes

    I have kids, they don’t listen to a thing I say….LOL, perhaps this porves the point, love this article by the way, not troll bait for once

    • musiciangirl591

      someone will troll it in some way, wait for Alexandra :P

  • Lisa Contreras

    I loved this as I have loved all your blogs I’v read since starting to “read you” a week or so ago. Have one question, however: Why is “Catholics for Choice” prominently displayed on your page? You don’t appear to be one who would agree with the agenda of that group.

  • musiciangirl591

    thanks :) i’ve been stuck in a prayer rut for a good year or so, sometimes it hurts so bad to pray, i cry (not that i’m not heard intention wise but in not feeling or hearing Him at all), i should stop trying so hard to have a religious experience and just relax and wait for it!

    • K. Bartell

      Spot on! What you’ve described sounds very much like what St. John of the Cross called the Dark Night of the Senses. The Lord gives us this trial to teach us how to love Him for Who He is, instead of what He does for us. He’s getting ready to take your relationship with Him to the next level. You’re absolutely right: hold still, don’t worry, and keep telling Him, “Thy will be done.” That’s not only the point Marc makes so well here, but it’s the testimony of the whole Christian contemplative tradition, from St. Benedict and St. Catherine to the Little Flower and Thomas Merton. You’re standing at the edge of an abyss of unutterable joy. Venially speaking, I envy you.

      • musiciangirl591

        i’ve been reading St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul (it was a recommendation from my spiritual director), i’ve come to terms with this “Dark Night” and i’m anxiously waiting for the “Sonshine” (sorry bad pun!) and the Light :)

    • Clareshort79

      When i felt like this i was comforted by the fact that Jesus shouted out on the Cross “Father, Why have you forsaken me?”. He has experienced this too.

  • JenniferTatum

    Good post! Especially the part where you mention God came down to us – it seems that in accepting His reaching out, we would have the “religious experience” many are looking for.
    On a not related note, was I the only one who saw the angel in the first photo and thought “Weeping Angel!! Don’t blink!”?

  • K. Bartell

    Don’t forget that species of Christian (there’s at least one in every denomination) who goes about looking for signs and portents, who can calculate the End Times by the smell of the east wind, or spot Our Lady’s image in the gum stuck to somebody’s shoe at half a mile. ^_^

  • Adopted_heir

    Marc, I love your posts… the only thing that bugs me is your mixture of ‘then’ and ‘than’!

    • Popeye

      “then” is sequential. “than” is comparative. yes?

  • Dburnette10

    So true…a couple of years ago, we attended a parish mission with extra confession hours, so I went. I hadn’t realized that the priest giving the mission was the only one hearing confessions. My husband, who was coming into the Church that Easter and making his first confession, was praying that he was making the right decision. Out of 20-30 people in line, our parish priest moved us from almost the end to the front because it was a school night and we had all the kids with us! It was like, “huh, I guess you are making the right decision” and one of those moments where you just look up and say “thank you!”

  • John King

    This article is incredibly good!

  • QDefenestration

    As a fellow English Major at Catholic College Person, I’d be very interested in your thoughts on the religious experiences found in Graham Greene’s works.

  • Ocotilloediting

    “God is an infinite being, and having rejected him by our sin, we are infinitely separated from him. This separation cannot be bridged by us, for the aggravatingly simple reason that we are finite creatures. The finite cannot fill an infinite absence.”

    If we were not separated from Him before the Fall, and we are separated from Him now because of our finitude, were we (or, of course, our original ancestors) infinite beings before the Fall? Again, if finitude separates us from God, then if we were not separate from Him prior to the Fall, were we infinite? Get my drift? Thanks, and God bless.

    • Christian Gjernes

      We were already with him, we chose not to be. It’s the reverse of the order that Marc said. God is infinite, and therefore could bridge the gap himself, only, at that time there was no gap.

      • Blake Helgoth

        Adam and Eve shared in grace. They participated in divinity, but they did not have it. Therefor, when they sinned they lost the gift and could not regain it on their own.

        • Korou

          I’d be interested to know – did Adam and Eve fall from grace because of the apple they ate, or because they disobeyed God? What was in that apple?

          • LMJKL

            I think we’re missing the point here. Dr. Scott Hahn does a great job of explaining what happened in the Garden of Eden. The serpent (the devil, of course) tempted Eve. He was jealous because God wanted him to serve humans. He convinced Eve that eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would not be a bad thing, but, rather, it would make her like God. He played upon Eve’s natural envy of God’s power. Eve went along with the idea because she was being prideful and greedy. She was disobedient and did not trust in God’s Divine Providence. She then convinced Adam to do try the apple. When God came to them and asked them what they had done, Adam pointed the finger at Eve, and Eve at the serpent. They could have repented, right then and there, and God would have forgiven them, but they, for the first time, felt shame. They did not trust in God’s infinite love for His creation, man, who is made for Him, in His image, to love Him. They doubted His mercy, love, and forgiveness, and even their own worth.

            That’s the gap that we need to bridge…the gap that Christ bridged for us. God, from on High, humbled Himself and came into our world as a tiny, helpless, poor, infant. He came down to us. What a tremendous gift! Then, He gave everything, taking all the sin and suffering of all the world upon His own shoulders, and conquered death for us.

            Nothing is more profound than this absolute Truth.

            Know that miracles happen, every day! God loves you more than you can ever imagine, and he does not pick favorites. He loves us all as deeply as he loves the greatest of the saints. As deeply as he loves even our Blessed Mother. Think you’re not worthy of that kind of love? Well, you’re right, and you’re wrong. God made you to be worthy of it…it is a gift.

            Quit trying to prove anything, and never allow yourself to live in shame. Repent, turn to God, and be certain that He is there for you. For us all. There is no need to wait. There is nothing to prove. Do it now. Do not doubt. Doubt is the exact opposite of faith.

            Catholics, confession is an incredible thing. Use it!

            God’s law is written in every human heart, everywhere, so, of course, non-Catholics can find their way to Him, too.

            I have experienced miracles, undeniable miracles, first-hand. I have many friends, strong, Catholic families, who also have. I also know other people of other faiths that are well-aquainted with miracles and “Godincidences”.

            Have you asked for a miracle? Be humble. Just trust Him, allow yourself to be loved by Him, and return that love to Him. God works miracles every day. What if he’s simply waiting for you to ask?

            Have the trust of a child, be certain that God adores you, throw your ego out the window, and let the Holy Spirit fill you with His Great Love. Then, hold on to your socks! Your life is about to change.

            Practice the virtues. You’ll grow in holiness. God will continue to bless you the more you exercise the virtues.

            Do you think there is no Peace on Earth? Well, you shall know Peace for His love will bring it home to your heart.

            God bless you all. He gave everything for us. Never doubt your worth because He’s already paid the ultimate price to redeem you.

            I’m sorry this is such a long post, but it wasn’t long ago that I experienced a miracle, and I’m still reeling from it. :)

      • Sagrav

        What do you mean ‘we’? I sure as hell never made such a choice. According to your religion, we’ve had sin inflicted upon us because a dust man and a rib woman ate magic fruit.

        • Lily

          That’s actually a metaphor, but don’t let that stop you from disparaging something you don’t understand.

          What happened was, the first humans (that is, the first primates imbued with souls) knew God, but in some way that we don’t know, turned from Him, rejecting the grace he freely gave them. Though we all have original sin and concupiscence, that’s really not as big a deal as personal sin, that is, an individually freely choosing to do evil, which we have all done in big or little ways.

  • Erin C

    Each and every post I read from you is amazing so I thank you for another Marc!

    Also you need to go see the movie “For Greater Glory” if you haven’t already. It really ties in well with what we are going through in America with the HHS mandate and what not. The characters undying faith and strength in the face of evil is breathtakingly beautiful and it kind of reminded me of a post of yours that asked why we aren’t setting cars on fire and giving our lives for what we believed in. All in all it was a great movie that you need to go see and then promote here because I think all of your readers would really benefit from it.

  • Amber

    Wow. St. Therese of Lisieux’s little way is all over that post. This is amazing, Marc. It was literally an answer to prayers concerning this very issue. Thank you.

  • Peter

    “If you belong to any religion besides Judaism or Christianity, having a religious experience is simple stuff. You obtain it. If you’re a Buddhist, simply get better and better at meditation and complete separation from earthly desires, and you’ll obtain a supernatural experience of peace ”

    As someone who has practiced other religions, I can tell you that this completely wrong. You can be a Buddhist, meditate all you want, it is no guarantee of a religious experience. Your ignorant characterization of other religions could just as easily be applied to Christianity. For example, Jesus says “Seek and you shall find, Knock and it shall be opened for you”. So I could say having a religious experience in Christianity is simple, simply seek and you will find one.

    Your main point “Stop trying to have a religious experience” only serves to display further ignorance of other religions. Why? Because this very same concept can be found there too. In Buddhism it is said that you must give up all desire (not just earthly desires, desiring heaven is still desire and keeps one attached to the fruits of action) and this includes the desire for enlightenment. Hinduism (which you completely ignored) contains concepts which are strikingly similar to, if not identical to the one which you out forward in this article. That it to say, liberation cannot be obtained through one’s own effort but only through through the gift of grace from God or Guru. In fact, in certain branches of Hinduism the idea of “obtaining” anything at all is considered itself to be the obstacle, because God is omnipresent and so we must learn to recognize what already exists within us, rather than strive to obtain anything new. The idea of spiritual effort in Hinduism, is not fundamentally different from spiritual effort in Christianity. Effort is required in both religions, despite the fact that salvation is ultimately obtained through complete surrender. The reason we speak of effort, is to prevent people from getting the idea that they can just go do whatever they want, disobey God, etc and still obtain salvation. I don’t think many Christains would agree with that and that is not what your article says. In fact, many of your points are valid, it’s just your comparison to other religions that is misleading. Your ideas, while true, are hardly original or foreign to other religions especially Hinduism. You certainly find the concept of humility, love for and devotion to God, non attachment to goals/fruit of ones action (that is loving God for the sake of loving God rather than to obtain heaven or spiritual experience) and humble surrender to the will of God in Hinduism.

    • RoaminCatholic

      Well said, and I understand what you’re saying, but I think you miss-read Marc’s jagged sarcasm as ignorance. He doesn’t mean to poo-poo other religions, only to illustrate that Christianity is the only religion where God Himself comes down to man, to our level, in the FLESH and DIVINITY of MAN and GOD in order for us to experience him.

      GBless :-) x

      • Sagrav

        Other religions have deities taking human forms as well. In the Hindu religion, gods can incarnate as a human (or even animal) avatar to achieve some divine purpose. According to that definition, Jesus was an avatar of Yahweh (or however you choose to spell his name). In Buddhism, the gods are believed to be in basically the same boat as all other beings; they are born, they grow old, they die, and then they are reincarnated as something else.

        Also, capitalizing the words ‘flesh’, ‘divinity’, ‘man’, and ‘god’ don’t really grant dramatic weight to your words. It just makes it sound like you are screaming those words over the internet.

        • David

          Indeed, according to Hindu belief, Vishnu has incarnated on earth many times in response to the needs of men and gods. His human forms have been real, in the flesh, yet being fully divine. He responds to his devotees in the form of grace, without which they can not attain anything. This grace can come directly through a devotees devotion, or mediated through a human guru. Vishnu is both personal and impersonal, pervading the universe, yet separate from it. The existence of this belief and conception of God has actually been a stumbling block for Christian missionaries, because Jesus is so easily seen as being simply another avatar of God. Many Hindus love Jesus and his teachings, but they don’t see him as being unique.

        • Lily

          “God”, with a capital G, is the accepted spelling of the god of Christianity, and many words also receive capitalization when associated with his divinity. Flesh is of particular import, because in Chistian theology, we don’t see it as an avatar of God becoming a man, but rather Truth/Reason itself (and yes, this is capitalized in theological texts.) becoming a particular, individual human being with a mother and cousins and friends. When you think of it like that, it becomes rather special. Other religions do have similar beliefs, but as you pointed out, each religions concept of what exactly God or gods are is different. Please don’t treat all religions as if they are the same, because to do so is unfair to all religions.

  • L.

    I was going to say what Peter said.

    My partner is a Buddhist.

    It is far from “simple stuff.”

    • musiciangirl591

      try being stuck in a rut for 2 years…

  • Patrick Shrier

    Excellent explanation of why Christianity is different.

  • Rujuta Xavier

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful… Yes it is God who reaches out to men, not the other way round.

  • Blake Helgoth

    This is great. I always say that all other religions, besided Judaism, are mans search for God, but Christianity is God’s search for man. We were lost and the Father sent His
    Son on a search and rescue mission. That being said, He does however, expect a lot of effort on our end when seeking Him. When we begin to meditate it takes effort to focus the powers of our intellect upon whatever we are meditating. Sometimes, grace makes this very easy, but it is aiding a natural power we have. God even makes it sweet so as to lure us back for more. Eventually, God takes over our meditation, useually for a few minutes at a time, and begins to teach us to love the giver of the gifts more than the gifts. This is the beginning of contemplative prayer and it is a gift from God, not something we can produce. So, while we should not be seeking the religious experience, it does take effort in the beginning to do the work of meditation.

  • Christie

    Food for the soul. Thanks, Marc.

  • AD

    Yet it is said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”, so while I get the idea that we need to accept God’s will in all cases…is there not room to pray for a specific request? In fact that we should pray for that specific request often.

    • emily

      Intentions for growth in virtue or other things is not the same as asking for a religious experience, specifically. Though, I imagine, that when you are asking for one, you sometimes get one, and that when you are praying for other virtues, you get the gift of an experience instead.

  • Lauren G

    These types of posts are my favorite.

    Really, really good job.

  • Sorgeangel

    I am pretty sure all the major religions believe you cannot attain God in their mystical tradition.

  • John Beckett

    As a Pagan I disagree with your context, but your suggestions are spot-on: stop trying to have a religious experience and concentrate on being faithful to the practices of your religion.

    The Buddhist teacher Baker Roshi said “enlightenment is an accident, but practice makes us accident prone.”

  • K. Bartell

    I note this morning that Pope Benedict addressed the same theme in his Wednesday audience. You called it, dude!

  • David

    Anyone who says that Buddhism (as if it were a single, monolithic belief system) has no concept of grace needs to take a look at Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, the largest sect of Buddhism in Japan. Grace also plays a major role in Tibetan Buddhism. Grace doesn’t have much of a role in Zen Buddhism, but the more you try to “obtain” enlightenment, the more you separate yourself from it.

  • Fisheradamc

    i get what you are saying, and i agree of course on your side of Christianity, but you opened this post quite poorly. i don’t believe you are as knowledgable about other religions as you think you are. ever been into any sufism? the mystical branch of islam? you may find some strikingly similar ideas as with mystical christianity. you can’t simply rope off islam or any other religion with an out-of-context quote or one idea you have of it. you’re using the same awful tactics that protestants use to discredit something about the Catholic faith.

  • Catherine

    This is a great post – It reminds me very much of what St. John of the Cross says in The Dark Night of the Soul.

  • Chris L.

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “religious experience.”

    I believe it’s a wonderful idea to constantly pray for a deeper understanding of our faith, to feel God’s love, for help in loving others and controlling our own temptations, and, of course, for patience (without patience, the yearning of the soul for God can seem unbearable). If your heart is open for these gifts, you’ll receive them, at least to the extent your mind is capable. And sometimes the receiving of these gifts, when it seems to overwhelm the soul with love and understanding, may be considered a “religious experience.” And these gifts must be sought to be obtained (at least to the extent we are able to seek them, for we can barely imagine the true nature of what we seek), for how could God give such gifts to people who won’t hold our their arms to receive them?

    If, on the other hand, you’re praying for God to make you levitate or make a vision of an angel appear before you or give you super powers to show off to those evil non-believers, then not only are you not likely to get your wish, but it’s probably a good indication that you don’t understood what this whole “faith” thing is about in the first place. It’s not about witnessing “magic tricks” for the sake being awed by their mysteriousness. It’s about love; loving God and loving each other.

    You write: “… doing all this not for the reward of religious experience, but simply out of earnest love for God.” But the love of God is the ULTIMATE reward, and feeling even a very small grain of it is a profound experience.

  • Bugd

    Great article!! I was slowly getting to the realisation that the more reading I did the more I realised I knew nothing. This article hit home once you pointed out prayer as a gift, I never really considered the nature of a gift o_0

    My reaction to all of this upon this realisation was laughter :)

    St. Padre Pio: “Pray, hope and don’t worry” :)

  • Stephanie

    So good.

  • Paige

    Thank you so much for posting this! Many times I feel like my prayers aren’t worth anything & it’s true! Without Jesus none of this would be possible. For anyone else stuggling, find joy in adoration by simply ADORING God. Keep it simple & he’ll take care of the rest! :)

  • Andrewposter

    Great article! I really enjoyed it.

    Can someone explain why the author wrote that Christ came in 4BC?

    “That around 4BC, “in the time of Herod king of Judea” (Luke 1:5), in a town called Galilee, God entered time and space, becoming Man in the womb of a certain Mary, under the care of a certain Joseph, a descendant of the kingly line of David.”

  • Burt

    “The trick then is to become like little children,..”

    You know something? I think it’s easier for little children to have ‘religious experiences’.

    I know I did when I was young. That was before they wrecked things!

    But when I was a kid I had a religious experience most Sundays.
    Quite mystical really.

    Mysticism sounds all very esoteric, and as the word implies, mysterious.
    But it didn’t seem mysterious at all. It just felt right.

    In reality mystical experiences can be very natural things.
    In the sense that supernatural things are very natural things.
    Why? Because that’s how God made us. It’s in our nature.

    When I was a little kid, we received Holy Communion in a much better way period!
    It was better because we were kneeling, side by side, eyes closed. Fed. Bread from Heaven, fed direct from Jesus in guise of a priest, which we knew, because His Holy Church taught us, and we also knew the bread we were fed was Our Lord Himself.

    We just wondered at it. On our knees, eyes still shut…..we paused for a little while and then got up, slowly walked back to our pew…still Jesus on our tongue. Kneel back in our place ..with Jesus,…who is also Our God, Our Creator!

    We had all that in our head, I know I did anyway

    It didn’t seem strange, what can be more natural than for a human child to feel close to the very Being who holds him in his existence.
    We didn’t think in terms of ‘religious experience’ just felt close, and felt loved, and then usually we said thank you, it probably meant thank you for making us.

    People believe me . Very bad people have taken that Catholic experience away!
    My parish priest point blank refused to allow my children to receive Holy communion the way I and every Catholic saint in Heaven I had ever heard of did.

    All my kids are grown up now. Not one of them consider themselves Catholic.

    Please join me in urging all bishops and priests to bring back the altar rails.

  • Nikki

    I love, love, love this article. I can’t tell it enough: I love it ! Your blog is like a fresh breeze :D !