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The Busted Halo Question Box
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This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
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Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Bible
Mike Hayes
Swingman/Editor
 
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Our readers asked:

My praying causes a body high (and sometimes an erection). Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong, or should I be worried?

Fr. Joe Answers:

First of all, I’d like to encourage you in your desire to pray on a daily basis. Daily prayer is an important way of maintaining and fostering a relationship with God. You mentioned that your daily prayer consists of sitting in a chair and reciting a bible verse or prayer as a mantra. There are many different ways of praying, and prayer that is Scripture-centered is always on target. Your own practice seems very much within the tradition of Christian prayer.

A “high” feeling or an erotic feeling or sensation may indeed occur in prayer. The fact that an erotic poem, “The Song of Songs”, is included in the bible shows that our relationship with God can include erotic feelings. The experiences of Catholic mystics like St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross have often been expressed in highly erotic language. When we make the sign of the cross over head, heart and shoulders, we remind ourselves that we worship God not only with our mind but with our whole being, body and spirit.

“High” feelings are not the purpose or end of prayer, which is to grow closer to God and open our hearts to do God’s will. When we receive a feeling in prayer it’s best to acknowledge it and then let it go.Struggling to resist feelings, or dwelling on them and attempting to hold onto them, focuses attention on the feelings rather than on God. It’s advisable simply to let the feelings or sensations be what they are and then return the focus of your attention to God. The test of authentic prayer is not whatever feelings we have during prayer but whether our practice leads us toward a life in which our love of God is expressed in compassion and charity toward others.

I hope this helps to answer your question,

God bless you,
Fr. Joe

 
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The Author : Fr. Joe
Fr. Joe Scott, CSP, has been a campus minister, pastor and editor as a Paulist priest.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Fr. Depot

    The ideal physical relationship in conjugality is that the “high” is directed towards God and then the partner is approached as a detail of God.

  • mck

    This happens to me too (minus the erection, as I am a woman). I’ve never told anyone about it. Glad to know I am not the only one. It is wonderful but it can also become a distraction or something I use to judge my prayers. This was really sound advice. This q&a section is amazingly helpful. Thank you!

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