Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why Spiritual Experiences Can Ruin You

Spiritual experiences can confuse us greatly. No, spiritual experiences are not a bad thing. Heck, they're really, really, REALLY frikkin' awesome. It is a HUGE blessing and has an addicting effect on souls, and can change any life forever. Soooo then... why is it we go on retreats, start speaking in tongues, prophesying, gettin' drunk in the Spirit, then we go home and life isn't very exciting anymore? Where have the spiritual fireworks gone? Why does our spiritual life feel so... boring again?

Perhaps because we rely too much on our senses than we think.

When we feel God's presence, it's super easy to believe in Him, right? When we have the proof right in front of us, God feels so much more real to us. That's human nature. However, to really prove that you're serious about following God, He wants you to prove it by going beyond your natural human borders and discover the deeper side of love, despite the fact that you might not "sense" Him there all the time.

I heard this true story once of a formerly Catholic woman telling someone about her leaving the church because she felt like she wasn't getting anything out of it. The man then responds by saying, "Let me get this straight... You're saying that you've been consuming the literal body and blood of Christ, listening to the entire Bible plus teachings of it for years, and receiving absolution, and you haven't been getting anything out of it?"

This lady is a prime example of how the human heart can become obsessed with the stimuli of the senses. If all we really need is a spiritual experience, we can go to a Buddhist temple and be totally satisfied after that. Our reliance on experiences is what's caused all those "wars"and is why the body of Christ keeps splitting up, it is certainly not because of religion itself. It's just like our general idea of love, how gooshy feelings, soulmates, and making out and "woohooing" our weekends means romance. Or  even more commonly how in movies we know that two characters are in love because of that big kiss scene.

This is why divorce rates are so high, especially among Christians, because we worship our feelings, not the actual God Himself, which is love. Love isn't an emotion, it's an action that we choose. Love is when we choose not to yell foul words or accusations at someone, even though they've wronged us. Love is forgiving and forgetting. Love is cleaning up after the other person even when you're worn out from work. Love is laying down your life for your friends. Again, love is NOT based on feelings!!! In fact, oftentimes, true acts of love are done when the other person doesn't even want to do it.  

That is what makes the Eucharist so wonderful. It looks like a wafer, it tastes like a wafer, but we know in our hearts and minds that it is the body of Christ. There's more "magic" and power in that than any sort of feeling we may find, because we are denying ourselves and letting Jesus in physically. We may not fall to the ground crying from it, but despite that we just know that it's really truly Him. This is what faith is all about. 

Now let me say this again, spiritual highs are really sweet, and this isn't to say you won't or that you're not supposed to get "high" from taking communion, I'm just saying that love and faith is beyond us. And there is no doubt in that at all. 

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Teal Moustache