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Development of Spiritual Senses

  • is the foundation for an intimate and profound relationship with God
  • puts us directly in touch with the Divine Indwelling which perceives and evaluates things from God’s point of view
  • moderates the dominating character of the external senses 

As faith and love deepen, the eye of faith opens ups and begins to sees things as God sees them. Listening becomes attentiveness to God and complete receptivity. The sense of smell symbolizes the attraction toward God hidden within and all around us. Touching symbolizes the closeness of God and the feeling of being embraced or caressed by Him. Tasting symbolizes the awareness of oneness with God and His unifying and transforming presence in our inmost being.

  • CF: 63-64, 66-69
  • AW: 38-40
  • FG: 5-6
  • IG: 42
  • DT& A: 39-46 
  • DI: 5-10 
  • JC: 59-60 
  • OMOH: 71-80
  • *OMOH: 65-77 

The Spiritual Senses lead to spiritual attentiveness, the Divine Indwelling, and the activation of the Supernatural Organism.

Related Concepts




The Fathers of the Church perceived that the presence of God, awakened by the practice of contemplative prayer, is a dynamic relationship that unfolds and becomes ever more intimate and profound.

Experiencing the spiritual senses in prayer periods requires letting go of outward things and during that time, turning our attention completely to God. The first stage of this process is listening with undivided attention. “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10).

The will is the mouth of the soul. When the Spirit pours divine love into this faculty, our whole being experiences God both as attraction and as presence.

The spiritual sense of seeing is the single eye of faith. When our whole being is rooted in God, we see perceive in everything and everything in Him.

The spiritual sense of smell is manifested by an inner attraction for prayer and interior silence — to be still and to wait upon God with loving attentiveness.

The spiritual sense of touch is more intimate. It is as if our spirit were touched by God or embraced. The divine touch might feel as if God were descending from above and enveloping us in His embrace, or at other times, embracing us from within. Our own self-identity may be forgotten and for a moment, God is all in all.

The spiritual sense of taste is the experience of inner transformation. The presence of God arises not only as an irresistible attraction or embrace, but as a unifying and transforming presence in our inmost being. The grace of Pentecost is taking place in us in that experience. “The love of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us.”

The development of the spiritual senses puts us directly in touch with divine wisdom, where life is perceived from God’s point of view.


 Reflection: Listening

The spiritual senses are related to attentiveness, attraction, closeness and oneness with God.

Reflection: Reflecting

How might you moderate over-attachment to your external senses? What is your experience of the spiritual senses?

Reflection: Responding

Be alert to your spiritual senses. Be attentive to God. Be attracted to God. Be close to God. Be one with God.