Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Does faith have to make a feeling?

I am often tempted to judge the effectiveness of my encounters with God (prayer, Mass, confession, etc) on the feelings that I receive through them. If I feel God’s presence in the action then it was “successful” or “good”. If I didn’t feel God’s presence then something must have been wrong; somehow the experience seems lessened.

The more I think about this, the more it reminds me of the Pharisees’ request for a sign from Jesus. Here they are, face to face with the son of God and they demand verifiable proof. The encounter was real; but they couldn’t accept it until they saw evidence. How is this different from judging an encounter with God based on the feelings evoked?

The reason I care about the feeling is it proves to me that God and I connected. It is evidence that the encounter with God is real. But didn’t Jesus tell Thomas “blessed are they who have not seen and yet believe”? Aren't we supposed to trust without demanding proof?

As a Christian I am called to see with eyes of faith and to believe even when no sign is given. Shouldn’t I be confident I have connected with God even if no sign (happy/peaceful feeling) is present?

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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