4 Ways to Connect to God Soulfully

blog connect to god pilgrimage soul Nov 08, 2023

Blog by Gem Fadling

In preparation for co-leading a pilgrimage for women to Italy last month, I spent some time getting to know St. Catherine of Siena and St. Clare of Assisi. These two female saints were quite formidable in their passion and love for God—and what that meant for their own souls and those around them.


In Ilia Delio’s book Clare of Assisi, I found a snippet Clare wrote in a letter to her sister, Agnes.

 “O most noble Queen,

gaze upon [him],

consider [him],

contemplate [him],

as you desire to imitate [him].”


Four words leapt off the page:

  •  Gaze
  • Consider
  • Contemplate
  • Imitate


These four dynamics are compelling invitations in my relationship with God that, if followed, could lead to much fruit that lasts, which Jesus spoke of in John 15.


Let’s take a brief look at each of these four dynamics. I’ll share a scripture and then a few thoughts on each one.



 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)


Gazing feels like a lost art. When was the last time you gazed at someone or something? When I ponder the idea of gazing, the first image that comes to mind is the way a new parent holds and looks into the eyes of their newborn. Oh, the inexplicable wonder of a fresh, new little being.


I remember staring into the eyes of each of my sons as newborns. There’s an intensity to this kind of seeing. A taking in. A connection.


This verse talks about gazing on the beauty of the Lord. What might that look like in everyday life? This gazing is a posture of the heart. A stillness in God’s presence. A beholding. And the wonder here is that we are simply mirroring back the loving gaze that is already being directed at us.


How might GAZING become a part of your connection with God?



 “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4)


David is considering that which he sees with his eyes, the grand landscape of the universe. He cannot fathom a being who could create the heavens, the moon, and the stars and can still find a place in his heart for humans as well. It’s a moment of overwhelm and praise.


To consider is to think carefully about. What might it look like for you to think carefully about what God has made? Then add to that the beautiful and humbling idea that God made and cares for you. Consider that and allow it to lead to praise.



 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” (Ephesians 1:18)


The word contemplate means to look at attentively and thoughtfully. I’d like to draw a line from contemplation directly to the word “enlightened” in this verse. Contemplation is one way our hearts might be enlightened toward hope.


I’d like to think that contemplation is the next movement beyond consider. Consider involves the head, while contemplation moves us to the heart. Allow the eyes of your heart to open wider to the riches of God.



 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)


If you’ve been following Unhurried Living for long, you won’t be surprised by my choice of this verse. There are many ways for us to follow the example of Jesus. The gospels are full of stories of the ways Jesus modeled for us an abundant and compassionate life.


One area in which I can always use some encouragement is around hurry. Jesus invites us to come. Especially the weary and burdened…come. Jesus said he is gentle and humble in heart. These are qualities to receive and then imitate, especially in our increasingly distracted, anxious, and lonely culture.


Let’s imitate Jesus and become people of peace, a soft place for others to land when they are in our presence. Rest for your souls is much needed. I’m sure you feel that as well.


Did you notice that all these terms--gaze, consider, contemplate, and imitate--are in relationship with God? We don’t enact these verbs in a vacuum or all by ourselves.


We are gazing upon God, considering God’s vast goodness, contemplating God’s generosity through hope, and imitating the ways of Jesus.


What a wonderful set of invitations to greater connection with our loving Creator. I hope you’ll review these again, looking for ways to make them part of your spiritual practice.



  • Which of these four terms strikes you today?
  • What connection between the words would you like to explore?
  • How might this dynamic process become a part of your soul care toolkit?


Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash