How to Hear the Holy Spirit (10)

Holy Spirit sculpture in Jaffa

Session #10

What the Voice of the Holy Spirit Sounds/Feels Like

Question for discussion (please post a comment):
Describe a time when the presence of the Holy Spirit was a very strong feeling for you. What did this encounter with God feel like?

Comments from the live event

C.F. raised a question:

I always felt a very strong presence of the Holy Spirit after attending Life in the Spirit Seminars. Either I would feel the presence during the Baptism of the Holy Spirit or afterward. I would feel extremely happy, joyful — always thinking about God, talking to Him. It really felt totally awesome, marvelous, so much of joy I could radiate it to others. God felt very close — in me, with me, surrounding me — all over. In everything I did, He was there. Unfortunately after a few days/weeks, it dies down.

Seriously Terry, is it always like this? When one gets into a deeper, more serious relationship with Jesus, does one have the same feeling? Correct me if I am wrong. When one falls in love, with the presence of dopamine (hormones that’s exist when one’s in love) everything is so lovey-dovey, etc. But a few years down the road with marriage and all, it doesn’t stay that way, right? The relationship goes into a more mature state, where the initial feelings don’t matter anymore. Likewise does one have that ‘nice’ feeling all the time being filled with the Holy Spirit? Don’t we mature in our relationship with the Holy Spirit? We can’t possibly be feeling nice all the time right?

Reply from Terry:

We’re talking about two different experiences of the Holy Spirit’s presence. One is what you described feeling after the seminars. It’s like the initial romance of falling in love.

The other is what we experience when we grow more mature in our relationship with the Holy Spirit. We don’t feel it all the time, but we do feel it when we’re prayerfully turning our attention to God, to become aware of the Holy Spirit resonating with our own spirit. Beginners don’t experience this, because it’s a deeper level of prayer, a deeper connection to the Spirit of God, and it requires total surrender, tuning out the world and our own desires and everything else that is not God.

C.M. adds:

Addressing C.F., I would say that it is in our nature to be variable in emotions. It is human. Yet, sometimes you can love the thought of someone, and not that someone. The feeling passes so we can evaluate if our love is for God or if our love is for the feelings we experience. It is like being weaned from milk to invest more substantial food. Feelings come and go, but love is from the soul. It is about knowledge of the Truth of the other, and the relationship, regardless of the variations in the feeling.

L.M. shared:

Sometimes when I’ve felt the presence of the Holy Spirit the tears start flowing.  It’s not that I’m sad or upset; it’s almost like there’s such an overwhelming feeling, that they just start. Yet there is complete peace, almost like anything could happen in that moment, and it would be alright. Joy is present too — total amazing love.   I’ve also had a few times, more recently, when there is a sense of hearing the Holy Spirit, and there is a sense of energy to read something that confirms what’s been said.  Like the Holy Spirit leading me to more than one thing.  It feels like a true quest and almost like a conversation.   When I’m in the presence, I don’t want to leave. I want so to stay there forever; the resting, and what I call “being in sync”, where I believe this to be more active, in the world but more attuned to His presence, than to the distractions of the world.

S.L. wrote this:

As I have encountered soft shining lights during my prayer, or a soft inner voice speaking to me, I had always envisioned that this is the way the Holy Spirit works and connects with me.  Although this does happen at times, I have been too focused on such encounters, and can only imagine that He is far away when it does not happen as often as I had desired.

From your session, I now realize that the Holy Spirit’s presence is also in the positive feeling that sometimes lifts me up in my morning prayers, the energy that you were talking about, a peaceful sort of good feeling energy.  His presence is evidenced by a strong sense of reassurance and comfort that all is under control and God knows and understands my circumstances. There are no visual or audible voices, but only the energy which I feel, and the conviction that God is there for me, no matter what. 

This can only happen when I willfully quiet myself before Him, and truly focus on Him, freeing myself from distractions of any sort during prayer time.  The only challenge is to remain focused throughout the day, when there are too many things going on.  I need to remind myself consciously to re-direct my thoughts again, whenever I loose focus. 

J.P. shared this:

I think I’m getting to understand how to listen to the Holy Spirit.  After I watched the videos, I realized I’ve had that peacefulness a few times in situations that, before, I used to get very upset about, and now I know. Thank you for explaining that so beautifully.

One time, I was called to go visit someone, and I new this was going to be upsetting for me (always was). I went to the Blessed Sacrament to pray before I went to visit the one who called me. This time, it was so incredible. When she was talking, I was silently praying, asking God, “Please stay with me. Tell me what to say.” I think I was there about 3 hours. Then I went home, so happy. I told my husband, “I’m feeling great! I didn’t get upset. Now I know how to talk to her.”

C.M. said:

During the celebration of the Mass, I felt overjoyed and cried at the time of the Consecration. Sometimes, I feel like I am internally dancing as I approach the Communion line.

There was a time I was giving advice to another person, and both the person and I felt energized, and very aware of the presence of God, as we witnessed to each other.

S.I. wrote:

I definitely agree that fear limits the works of Holy Spirit in our life. Currently, I’ve been involved in setting up Community of Taizé in our parish. Firstly we will focus in introducing Taizé songs by taking part as choir during the Mass. Basically I don’t have a good background in singing with my limited voice range ~I have difficulties in singing high tones, so sometimes I sing by lowering the tones by one octave whenever I reach the end of my capability.

I sensed that I should take the alto part instead of soprano. However, during my own practice at home, I found that I couldn’t make it since whenever I hear the soprano part (which is mostly the main melody of the song), I got distracted and forgot my alto melody and ended up by following the soprano’s ~ of course by lowering it by one octave, which screwed up the whole choir melody. On the other hand, if I remain a soprano, my throat will get sore every time I force to sing the higher tones. This made me fear to sing publicly and join any choir.

Since I’ve been enthusiastic in every Taizé conversation in my parish, the parishioners agreed to choose me as Taizé coordinator to set up this community until being formally approved by the Parish Priest. Hence, I’ll have to do my best to attend all meetings, included to participate in Taizé choir.

Two days ago, during a choir practice session, God allowed me to meet a new member of Taizé choir. We talked a bit and then she invited me to join the alto team. At first, I was reluctant to take this invitation, but she kept encouraging me to give a try. Then I sensed the Holy Spirit nudge me to take this offer and join the team.

During the practice session, she guided me by raising her voice toward me so I could hear the alto melody more clearly among the soprano’s. Then, amazingly I found that I really enjoy singing the alto part, since it matches with my voice range, and also I am able to focus on the melody because there’s a guide and helper sitting next to me. Later on, I learned that this woman is known as an alto master in our parish. No wonder she able to sing the melody correctly even though she just read the music for the first time.

From this experience, I learned that, when we decide to hear the Holy Spirit instead of our fear, He will guide us, equip us, and empower us with sufficient resources so we will able to do the works that He has planned for us, which in the end will glorify God Himself.


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