Why You Don’t Feel God…(and what to do about it).

How many times have you wondered “Why don’t I feel God?”

It’s a natural question.

Created as a union of body and soul, it’s normal for a Christian to desire a sense of God’s presence. After all, we are “created through him and for him”, says St. Paul (Col 1:16).

Of course, this doesn’t mean we necessarily “feel” Him like we do the rest of the created world. In fact, that’s pretty rare.

Regardless, in order for there to be an authentic divine intimacy (and any chance of sensing him), we must have a plan of conquest. It’s what many spiritual writers call the “science of sainthood.”

And this plan, this “science of sainthood”, is necessary because because like a buried treasure, God is hidden within you. But interestingly, St. John of the Cross doesn’t say we seek the treasure of intimacy with God so as to expose it.

Rather, the spiritual treasure hunter “should secretly penetrate its hiding place, and when he finds it, he too is hidden as it is.”

It’s almost like that old game of “sardines” you used to play in high school. One person hides, and when another person finds him, they join in the hiding until there’s only one person left who hasn’t found the hiding spot.

(That last person was always pretty lonely:)

But there’s a twist, says Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary of Magdalen. In hiding with God, we actually reveal him. Why? How?

Well, the biggest reason he was “hidden” in the first place was mostly due to the clutter and junk in our lives that covered him up.

We hide him by our superficial distractions and focus upon worldly affairs.

But in the process of finding him, we clear out the clutter and cut through the distractions. To put it another way, in turning away from ourselves, we find God, hiding with and in Him.

So as we approach Advent, focus on removing the junk and clutter that keeps you from sensing the presence of God.

“Forgetting everything and withdrawing from all creatures, hide yourself,” says St. John of the Cross, “until you find Him in the intimate seclusion of your spirit. Then…in secret you will hear Him and love Him and enjoy Him…above all that tongue and sense can understand” (Spiritual Canticle I, 9).

God bless!

Matthew

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If you’ve ever wanted to deepen your life of prayer and actually make some progress in avoiding vice and growing in virtue, look no further.” Dr. Brant Pitre – Renowned theologian & best-selling author

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PILGRIMAGE TO POLAND with MATTHEW!

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091: Living with Sheen: A Conversation with the Remarkable Msgr. Hilary Franco

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Every now and then you meet a person whose life blows your mind.

I recently met that guy while in Israel.

His name is Msgr. Hilary Franco, a priest of 64 years and unlike anyone you’ve ever encountered.

He’s a living treasure-trove of knowledge spanning the last six decades of Church history.

But it’s his personal history that wows.

(You can read all about it in his incredible memoir Bishop Sheen: Mentor and Friend.)

What makes his life so special?

Only the fact that he lived and worked very closely for years with two of the most incredible Catholics in the history of the modern Church – Pope St. John Paul II and soon-to-be Blessed Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

No joke.

And boy, does he have stories. And you’re about to hear some of them. For example:

  • How Sheen prepared for his Emmy Award winning television show
  • The secret identity of the Angel erasing the blackboard on the Life is Worth Living (Sheen’s program that had 40 million viewers…a week!)
  • The beautiful encounter between Venerable Fulton Sheen and St. John Paul II
  • Some inside scoop on Vatican II

And while he’s lived quite the life. Msgr. Franco isn’t not done yet!

He currently represents the Vatican at the United Nations and is helping promote the Catholic faith around the world.

This guy is a total dynamo and you’re going to love him. Enjoy!

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. Doors re-open to the world’s largest online school of Catholic spirituality at the end of summer 2019!

CLICK HERE to check it out and get on the Wait List! (Wait List members are eligible for big Early Bird Discounts!)

If you’ve ever wanted to deepen your life of prayer and actually make some progress in avoiding vice and growing in virtue, look no further.” Dr. Brant Pitre – Renowned theologian & author of Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

The Danger of Forgetting Pentecost

Pentecost is one of my very favorite times of year. (And you’re like, “Matthew, you’re a little behind. That was weeks ago!”)

Yes, I’m aware of the liturgical calendar.

Just because Pentecost is in our rearview mirror doesn’t mean the Spirit has blown by. Trust me, that wind is still operating at gale force.

But too often we lower the sails of our spiritual ship because we think “that season is over.”

People, the Spirit is never subject to a calendar. And it’s extremely dangerous to think He is.

If we’re to grow in the spiritual life, we must continue to move with Him. We must allow Him to fan the tongues of fire that burn in our hearts.

Lots of times when we roll into so-called “Ordinary Time,” we lose proper focus. Yes, we continue to work on correcting faults and growing in virtue, but too often forget who is actually behind our progress.

Namely, the Holy Spirit.

The great Carmelite Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D, says that we emphasize the moral work at the expense of the theological work. What does he mean?

Basically, that we often get so wrapped up in trying to correct faults ourselves that we separate ourselves from God, so to speak. We’re so busy trying to be “moral,” that our actual relationship with God suffers.

The irony, of course, is that the Holy Spirit can do a far better job than we can.

But when we forget that, and take our eyes off Him, we’re like a sailor who is so busy rowing, that he forgets to check the wind.

Now realize this doesn’t mean we stop working.

But we can never forget that the quickest way to progress in the spiritual life is through continual dependence on the Holy Spirit. Not only does he tell us what to do, he gives us the power to do it.

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. If you’re a member of Next Level Catholic Academy, our latest Live Q&A just posted in your Library. If you’re not yet a member, we’re re-opening the doors in late summer! Check it out!