One day, when you are plunged into darkness of self-doubt, when something is wrong, or something bad has happened, if you have been relying on images and notions of God, then it is possible to just lose faith. Because images or notions of God are not sufficient. It is necessary to have authentic experience of God. When we begin our faith journey, images and notions work ok and help us to pray a little. And maybe then we get a little relief from the hardship of life, from the meaninglessness of just joining the material system. But we have to practice in prayer and meditation to get beyond this and really experience the presence of God. If we don’t, then the images and symbols simply won’t work anymore. Thomas Murton –‘The most crucial aspect of this experience is precisely to doubt God himself’. If we stick to old images of God and never touch the reality of God, then one day we will find our faith is no faith at all. Images may sustain us in the beginning but when we go deeper, God comes to us without any image. No notions or ideas can any longer represent what we experience. Merton – ‘Here we are advancing beyond the stage where God made himself accessible to our minds in simple and primitive images.’

It is necessary to practice. To stop. Come into this moment and experience God. It is the most beautiful feeling. To just breathe in and experience God. But we must practice. Church must be a holy space in our lives. We must prepare to come here. Examine ourselves yes but even more important is to practice presence. Being present. If my body is here, standing, and you can see it, then you might say I am alive. But if my body is here and my mind is caught up in problems or aspirations, past or future, then I am not here, only my body is. Am I then really alive? I am not present. I am not noticing I am alive here, now. I am not really alive. So practice. With the breaths, ‘Come Holy spirit’… prayer walking…sitting or standing, eating, drinking… come into the moment, notice, know you are walking, sitting, eating, and thank God for it. You will feel God then. It is beautiful… authentic… real… and no images will do, or be needed, anymore… God bless you

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on November 18, 2013.

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