Remembering God’s Presence

I’m forgetful, are you? I mean, I recently found myself getting more forgetful of why I came into a room, or where I put my keys. Names and details were slipping away from me. But that’s not the forgetfulness I’m talking about. Vitamins, some more rest, and less multi-tasking took care of this memory problem. The forgetfulness I’m speaking of here is a forgetfulness that besets us even as children. It is the fading of the memory of God. God has implanted this memory of him in us at the beginning of creation. It is in our spiritual DNA, you could say, that we are oriented to and revolve around the God who created us in His image and likeness.

Before the Fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed the presence of God in the garden of Eden. They enjoyed the vision of God face to face, says Gregory of Nyssa. Adam spoke directly to God. Our first parents lived a life without anxiety, impulse, gluttony, illness. They experienced an integrity that comes from living according to the virtues. Their whole being was directed to God and their minds and hearts were opened to God’s grace.

Then, tempted by the Serpent, Adam and Even turned from the path on which God had set all of creation. With minds and hearts darkened and fragmented and distracted, they sank into increasing pain and suffering, subject to anxiety, passions, and ego-centric delusions. By turning from the path God had set them on, it became more and more difficult to think of God, to remember him, to trust him, to pray to him.

So even though God imprinted his features and character in us at our baptism, we too find that it is a chore for us to remember God through the day and even sometimes when we are at prayer.

Today’s Old Testament reading from the book of Deuteronomy gives us good advice from the Lord about strengthening this spiritual memory. He tells his people to be on their guard and not forget the things which their own eyes have seen. He urges them not to let them slip from their memory as long as they live.

How can we do this?

Take some time to remember what your eyes have seen? Remember a time when God has been present to you or helped you or a loved one. Place yourself back in that moment. What was it like? What was happening? What did it feel like? Where was God present? What was God like for you in that moment?

Tell God how much you appreciate his presence and activity on your behalf. Perhaps write a letter to the Lord in your journal. Then listen to hear in your heart how God responds to you. Ask him to tell you what it was like for him to be there for you. What he desires for you. What you mean to him. Ask him if there is anything special he wants you to know about that experience of his love and presence.

Do not forget what your eyes have seen! Make a habit of this prayerful practice and fill your mind and heart with the memory of how God has shown you his tender concern.

Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP is an author, an active team member of My Sisters, an online faith community, and a compassionate mentor and guide. Through her writing and online ministry she takes others along with her on her own journey of spiritual transformation, specializing in uncovering in the difficult moments of life where God’s grace is already breaking through. Connect with her website and blog: or find her at My Sisters. Learn more at