Over the years I have talked to a number of Charismatics and Pentecostals who say that God talks to them on a regular basis. They aren’t Catholics. Most Catholics I know do not really buy this “God Talk” stuff. Most Catholics I know feel that God talks to us through the Church the Pope, the Priest.
A Pentecostal friend says that he actually hears his God. He talks to God, usually while kneeling in prayer by his bed. He often hears God.
“Got to be careful though,” he warns me, “because the Devil will get in there and try to mislead me.”
“How do you know when it’s the Devil talking instead of God?”
“What the Devil tells me doesn’t track with the Holy Scripture, God’s word does. If what I’m hearing contradicts the Holy Scripture, it has to be from the Devil. The Bible is God’s absolute word. If I’m not sure, or don’t understand what’s being said, I talk to my minister.”
Could it be that he has missed some of the best conversations with God? I have come to realize that there is a lot of truth in what a little Trappist Monk explained during a retreat at Gethsemani, KY. The monks are silent. They have a sign language that they use among themselves. I asked him why. He explained in a gentle voice that God talks to us all the time. If we are busy talking or we are bombarded by a lot of unnecessary noise, we will not hear him.
The Baltimore Catechism said prayer was a lifting of our hearts and minds to God.1 The Seeker’s Catechism describes prayer as a loving conversation with God.2
I’ve learned to hear my God, at least sometimes. Hopefully you have too. Rest assured that God is talking to you. Open up your heart and listen, trust. Trust the ear in your h-ear-t.
It was a shock when I realized that I, a closeted sinner, have been talking to God for much of my life. He was answering me. I just never really recognized him. He didn’t fit the mold the Nuns said he should fit. Of course I never fit the mold they said I should fit. I’ve seen the movies and heard the stories about Jesus and Mary appearing lots of places. They always dress like the pictures in church. Mary is always dressed like a Jewish matron of 2000 years ago. Jesus appears dressed like a Jewish traveler of 2000 years ago. That doesn’t make sense. The Bible describes Divine Appearances. What does God really look like? Through history, it’s recorded that Gods come to their people looking like, and dressed like, the people with whom they are visiting. The Bible describes God as contemporary. Therefore if God comes to visit us today, he’s logically still contemporary. He would dress like us, look like us, talk like us, and he would act like us. He would demonstrate his Divinity through his actions, not his dress.
It doesn’t make sense that God would be contemporary two or three thousand years ago – but not today. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? God? The Nuns? The publishers? The film makers? Whatever the answer, I don’t think it’s God’s error. Kind of makes me think of the TV series where Michael Landon played an Angel. How would people have responded to him if he wore robes and wings? They would have locked the sucker up in a flash and filled him with mind altering drugs.
Could it be that we have the opportunity to talk to God whenever we wish. Most of our lives we don’t. Even when we do, we don’t believe. It’s taken me fifty years to believe, and even then mine is a questioning belief. Over those years, The Divine and I have communicated in many ways. Petitions were the most common. Requests for guidance came later, during the dark years. Now I know that dreams or visions and personal interventions have played a large part as well. I’ll talk more about prayer later.
A little black prayer book I found in the sharing rack at the back of church in Page Arizona shed some light on opening ourselves to God’s words. “. . .Lord, teach me how to pray. Show me that the test lies not in my feelings of devotion or in my knowledge of a technique but in my perseverance and my generosity. The test of the artist and the linguist is this: what happens when emotion, suffering, and excitement intervene? So to with me in prayer. . .”.3
1 Baltimore Catachism # 207.
2 Pennock, Michael Francis, The Seeker’s Catachism: The Basics of Catholocism, Ave Maria Press, Notra Dame, IN. 1994. Pg 106.
3 Zeller, Dom Hubert van, A Book of Privatr Prayer. Templegate Publishers, Springfield, IL. 1960. Pg,143.