On a number of occasions, I’ve claimed my father appeared in my room the night he died. I’ve also mentioned “double whammies” (like a breath going through you in waves from head to foot), voices, and a few other bits and pieces.
It’s obvious I’m not the only one who has “spiritual experiences”. In anther post, the OP mentioned a smell of roses after her father in law died, along with two clocks stopping at the very time of his death, to the minute. Others have mentioned a smell of roses also.
So I’m wondering if people would set down their own “spiritual experiences” as a summary of our common experiences. I’m **not asking **for private revelations or messages, but simply a description of what you might regard as one or more of your own “spiritual experiences”, as much for my own curiousity and edification as anything else.
I very definitely feel my mother around me sometimes. Her familiar scent, and a simultaneous enveloping warmth, as if being wrapped in a blanket just out of the dryer. I feel as if I could reach out and touch her.
A man passed away that was very close to me. I used to call him my uncle. He was more like a father to me. When I walked in the romm where hw was the air was thick with his presence and I felt my lungs fill up with air and I hear a voice that I think was mine say He’s here. But I didn’t go into the room wondering if his presence was there or not. 5 minutes later his sister walked in the room and almost got knocked down and she said he’s here! Sam is in this room! She exclaimed confidently. I knew it was true too. I could feel his presenve filling the whole room. Later that night the kids all got a visit from him within minutes and they were all in different rooms. They all came rumming in. One from the back yard, one from the basement, one from the living room. The all said Sam had spoke to them. He said he was up in heaven and his leg didn’t hurt no more. All the kids had the same thing to say coming from different places. I never saw a ghost but I believe he was allowed to say goodbye to everybody.
quite frankly I am not qualified to say that this or that experience I may have had during prayer, or at any other time is “spiritual” or merely a psychological or physical effect that I could not explain. If I do have such a seemingly spiritual experience that makes such an impression that it seems to linger and have more significance, I take it to my spiritual director for discernment. Until then, it remains just a burp in my prayer life.
The one thing I can share, because my priest agrees that this is valid, is the absolute knowledge and experience of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the bishop confirms our candidates. There is no sense impression, simply intense inward spiritual knowledge and awareness.
In times of extraordinary stress within my life, the Lord has been good to me. This is a time of great mercy and you aren’t the only one to feel it. A lot of folks are being helped out when needed these days.
As the original OP, thanks for your responses. I’ll be interested to see what other experiences people have had.
It’s one of the reasons I’m not very interested in the Philosophy section and trying to “prove” God exists. When you had certain experiences, you just know He exists, and academic exercises to prove His existence are just that - academic.
I have come a long road spiritually, and I can share one experince out of the many, of some which were evil, that is good.
One night I started to doubt my faith in God, and considered turning to some more New Age type thing, and I did not if God the Father was good or evil. I cried to Christ, and said,“I need an answer Jesus NOW! Is God truly Lord or not?” I went to sleep in my bed, and later on I awoke and felt strange. I swear to this day that I saw a white light standing by the side of my bed, and the faint outline of a bearded man’s face was in it. I was consumed by this warmth and feeling of loving ease. The yoke had been lifted off my shoulders of my doubt. I never knew what that was to this day, but it may have been an angel, a vision, or Yeshua Maschiach,Jesus Christ, Himself.
I’ve had several visits from the little saint I believe is Little Nellie of Holy God.
I was reading more about her, and felt that her sweet witness was not only an example to me but also to TwoSweetGirls (who are the age now that Little Nellie was then). I’ve since asked her to help me be a good Mommy to TwoSweetGirls and show them the love for Jesus that Little Nellie had for Him.
A few mornings later, I was awakened out of a deep, sound sleep–and awakened without any of the eye-rubbing confusion that normally accompanies such an awakening–it was an instant, clear waking-up. What woke me up was a very clear sound of a little girl’s voice, in the sound it would make if she were waking up gently and sweetly from a restful slumber and sweet dream. An “ahhh” kind of sound, as if she were sitting up in bed and having a nice, big stretch.
The voice was very close to my bed, and I immediately looked around it, thinking one of the TwoSweetGirls had snuck into my room while I was sleeping. But no one was there–in fact, my bedroom door was still completely shut (and the doorknob rattles loudly when it’s opened). Immediately I knew Little Nellie had paid me a visit, and I double-checked the whole episode with my Confessor.
I once attended a Charismatic conference at Notre Dame University which was about 3 days long. The music was awesome, but i kept wanting to hear the group play “How Great Thou Art”. I could just imagine 10,000 people praising God with this song. Every day I told my friends I hoped they would sing it. They never did.
However, on the last evening I was in the chapel at St. Mary’s (where I was staying), praying, around midnight, when all of a sudden someone starts playing the organ in the loft and a beautiful male voice began singing “How Great Thou Art!” That was it–no more songs–just that one. It was beautiful. I believe it was answer to my wish.
CB, “How Great Thou Art” reduces me to tears each time I hear it… just beautiful, although it can be kind of embarassing for me when sung at Mass.
The Lord has given me several special gifts during my lifetime, and has allowed one bad one to happen which was for the greater good, all of which were mystical experiences.
The first was when I attended a Charismatic weekend retreat at the age of 16ish. That morning the priest was talking about the real presence in the Eucharist and I wasn’t so sure about that. I prayed to Jesus to help me believe that He was really in there. The day went on, several hours went by including lunch and confessions and whatever else was on the agenda that day. My prayer forgotten, it was time for the evening Mass. Nothing unusual happened during Mass, went up to receive the Eucharist and went back to my seat. Suddenly I felt a whoosh of warmth starting from my chest then up to my head and down to my toes, then an incomparable feeling of being loved and feeling giddy. That’s when I remembered my prayer that morning. God had decided to give “doubting thomas” proof that it’s REALLY Him! I’ve never doubted the real presence since.
The second one happened quite a few year later… during my deversion period. I’d been married about 10 years by then, had 5 children and was into all that silly “Oprah Winfrey” silliness. I no longer attended Mass due to laziness and ignorance rather than disbelief as I had never had a moment of disbelief in my life. I was a child that had always “known” God. A day in my life never (still never) went by without thinking about Him or the afterlife… but still, how quickly we push away worshipping Him! One night, I was playing a pinball video game with one of my sons in the living room, and since it was late, I decided to sleep on the sofa that night. This is somethng I never ever did. I awoke suddenly in the middle of the night to find a dark presence above me, about 3 feet away. It was extremely dark in the livingroom but the presence was blacker than black. The only detail I could see were pointy wings and that it was reaching toward me. In my fright I couldn’t speak, I looked around the room and saw the chair in the corner, the outline of the window beside me and other furnishings. I tried to regain my voice but all I could do was croak out a whisper. I KNEW that if this presence touched me, that it was going to take my soul (and not anywhere I wanted to go either). My whisper was “I’m not ready yet”. Can you believe that? What a thing to say! As soon as I said that, the presence disappeared, and I called out to my husband who was in sleeping in the bedroom. I ran into my bed and cried my eyes out.
This is something that God allowed me to experience as well as the next thing that I will divulge. For months following, I was in spiritual distress. I’ve never felt anything like this before and never have since (Thank God!). My soul was absolutely depressed and my brain was doing overtime. I was afraid for my soul because I knew that if I died, I was going straight to hell. During my sleep, I was actually thinking and trying to figure out the afterlife. I’d wake up with these strange thoughts going through my mind and for some reason these depressive thoughts would make sense as I woke up. Then I’d cry myself to sleep, thinking I’d figured out that God didn’t exist or some silly notions. It got to the point where I had a panic attack one day and after the attack I collapsed to my knees and begged and pleaded with God. I think it was the most fervent prayer I’d ever prayed in my life. I begged God relieve me of these thoughts. I told Him that I knew that He was real but that my head was trying to convince me otherwise. I also told Him that He even had my permission to make me mentally disabled if that’s what it took to be released of this. I was desperate, crying, sobbing and down on my knees begging. After about 1/2 hour of this, I calmed down and went about my day. God relieved me of all of this on that very day! Sure, my brain tried to play its old trick on me during the night a few more times, but all I needed to do was pray to God, and instantly those thoughts would vanish.
Personally, now that I’ve thought about it, I honestly believe that it was the evil one playing with my head. God allowed it to happen for the greater good… eventually bringing me back to my faith, or should I say learning the faith and following it?
The last thing to happen was about 10 years ago. My husband was in another province and I was living near our extended family. The plan was that my husband would work another year away, and then join me there. Well, one year turned into two… financially and emotionally things were in turmoil as our family was separated and it’s difficult to pay for a mortgage as well an appartment while still supporting 4 kids. We missed each other terribly and so decided that I should move back to him since where I was living, the employment options just weren’t very good for my husband. I was a regular at Mass by this time, learning my faith and trying my best to be a good Catholic. I was getting really worried about our situation though. Who would buy this overpriced home so that I could go back home to my husband?
My youngest son was preparing for his confirmation, and it was the night that everyone was invited to go to confession before Mass. After my confession, I went to pray in my pew, asking our Lord to bring our family together again. At that moment I heard a voice which wasn’t mine, but was inside my head, yet also felt like it was beside me. It wasn’t my own thoughts, it was a completely separate voice… actually I couldn’t even say if the voice was male or female. It told me " Stop worrying about things around you, let me take care of your worldly needs, and you take care of your faith life" What a reassurance! That month, I decided that I was going to leave the house and go back to my husband. We emptied out the house, I flew back, and my cousin in law was in charge of selling the empty house. Well it did take over a year to sell in that depressed area and we did lose 45,000 in the sale, but it was the best move we ever made.
I’m supposing most of you are all asleep after my writting of this novelette But God loves us so much! He allowed these things to happen to me because otherwise I’d probably be a lost soul. I now pray that He’ll do the same for my children.
I have three small things to share - I’ve not had many experiences, and in a way I’m glad (blessed is he who believes and has not seen).
First, I was saying the rosary in my car one day, during a period when I actually managed to say it every day. Suddenly I could smell roses very definitely. Then it went away as suddenly.
Secondly, I became very blase about attending Mass when I left home and my Mum couldn’t make me. After a few years of finding it difficult to bother going on a Sunday, I changed to the traditional Latin Mass. I’ve never had trouble since, and I didn’t do anything to change myself.
Third, I was falling asleep one night, and I had a very strong image, sort of like a half imagination, half dream of what it would be like to die, that exact point where you leave your body behind forever, and you can’t go back and fix anything, no second chances. It filled me with dread. I spoke to my priest about it and he said “Well, what a blessing!” That surprised me.
I’ve had “similar” experiences. I’ll be dreaming, and then suddenly it seems the dream is hijacked and becomes a nightmare. I’ll wake up, and there’ll be a sense of something sinister in the room. The light goes “dark” for lack of a better word and sometimes there’s I can just discern something hanging around the ceiling.
As the original OP, I accept some of the spiritual experiences we have may not all be divine. Some may be demonic. I’m simply requesting “spiritual experiences” of whatever sort.
Not my experience, but I remember a former homosexual giving a testimony at a Presbyterian Church I used to attend. He claimed he was at his second suicide attempt (he had previously become a Christian, but the “bug” had beaten him - he couldn’t take it any longer). He was just about to pull the pin (I don’t know what suicide method he was using), when Christ suddenly materialised in the corner of the room, moved towards him and somehow merged with him.
From that time on he said, he never even had to struggle with the tempation of homosexual encounters, had married and had a couple of small children. Yet in his worst days he was, in his own words, in “everything going. You name it, I was into it.”
I have had a very wonderful experience as a young child. I was praying inside the church looking up at a beautiful statue of Mother Mary. I don’t even remember what the prayer was but I remember it was very heartfelt. I suddenly felt this warmth and love and saw her smiling at me, yes the statue smiled! I have never forgotten it.
Recently I went to a retreat based on the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius. It wasn’t my favorite retreat as I found the exercises tedious and the silence we were expected to keep was very hard for me. I had a powerful experience in confession which I find too personal to share but I will share another one.
During adoration I was kneeling with the rest of the participants and we were waiting for the Blessed Sacrament to be exposed. As soon as the tabernacle doors were opened I couldn’t bear to look at it. I felt this power and light emanating from it, it only lasted a few seconds but for that brief moment I believe I felt what it was like to experience being it he presence of God himself. My body had this warmth from head to toe for a while after. It really shook me
I always read about people experiencing spiritual dryness and I feel like God spoils me sometimes. I try to relish these experiences as I know there might come a time in which I might not feel anything.
I can’t recommend enough for people to go on retreats. I know sometimes it’s hard with work and family etc but to me they have helped me grow spiritually tremendously.
just to thank people for sharing and to note common elements in most stories, one being receptiveness and openness to God, often because of or even in spite of some suffering, and the way God uses even the worst most painful circumstances to bring us close to him, and give us consolation when we need it.
As the original OP, thanks for the experiences expressed thus far.
This particular episode almost seems like the light that is commonly portrayed as coming from the heart of Jesus and Mary in religious paintings, except this time it’s coming from the tabernacle. It would have been unforgettable.
This is very true and why living the the present moment is so important. I once corresponded with two people that had extraordinary things happen spiritualy during an ordinary event. One, this guy woke up and looked out the window and had a profound sense that all of nature was praising God. He said the trees and the grass seemed to stretch up in worship. Another was a woman who remembers when she “died” as a dove landed on her clothesline. She was in the process of discerning the experience, but was on the road to discovering of the purgative and unitive state the experience may have been. I find it interesting how the Spirit can work in the ordinary.
Years ago a little article in Catholic Digest told the story of a woman whose alarm clock had broken so when she went to sleep she sort of jokingly asked her guardian angel to wake her up in time for Mass. At just the right time the next morning, the fire alarm in her home went off.
Well, funnily enough, I read this article in bed before going to sleep one Saturday night with plans to attend 8:30 Mass the next morning. Having just read the story, I, too, sort of jokingly asked my guardian angel to do the same thing for me, even tho my alarm clock worked fine.
DISCLAIMER: Catholic Answers has turned over the archive to Catholic-Questions.org and no longer owns, manages, or moderates the forums. For additional apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.