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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

Recently a Third Order brother of mine left us because he was dismayed over some of the other members’ conversations upon various apparitions happening (or not) around the world. . . . He voiced his displeasure many times. . . .

The long and short of this, is it has made me reflect more upon Medjugorje and such. . . . Five years ago, I would have agreed with him wholeheartedly, and supported such a stance with every vocal cord in my body. But I have found since then, that . . . rather than encouraging souls to come closer to [Christ], I was in fact discouraging them. . . . Now I see my indignation was a subtle form of pride in my own “superior” perception of spiritual things . . . not inspired out of love for Christ or His starving children, appreciating the means He uses to feed them.

I see the picture so differently now! I see God drawing souls to Him in many various ways. . . . Anyway, perhaps what started out as a trip to Medjugorje made out of curiosity, or some more shallow emotion, a desire to see Our Lady perhaps, a need to “feel good” even . . . at least that soul has gone out of its way, to draw closer to Christ somehow. Their soul is hungry for something and they are trying to find food, even if it is cotton candy. It may be a first step, but at least it is a desire for something holy rather than just another trip to the tavern, you know? . .  So, how can I mock anyone who goes to Medjugorje who is inspired to pray with more faith as a result?

Outline of the Answer
• The Disordered Desire for Apparitions
• Church Investigation of an Alleged Apparition
• The Investigation in Medjugorje
• Good from Disobedience?
• What Can You Do?
• The Motto of Satanism

 
I admire the man, and, given the same circumstances—being surrounded by others who persist in sin despite a legitimate warning—I would do the same thing.

The underlying problem within your group is the same problem within the Church in general today. Rather than craving love for God more than anything else, and rather than desiring to surrender humbly to God’s providence and justice, people crave the social glamour of apparitions and mystical phenomena. It’s true that mysticism and genuine religion are inseperable, but actively seeking out apparitions and mystical phenomena is a disordered desire that leads a person away from humility and right into the realm of demonic influence.

 
Church Investigation of an Alleged Apparition

Please understand that no one—at least, no human being—can determine whether an alleged apparition is truly an act of God. Therefore, when the Church investigates an alleged apparition, the duty falls to the local bishop. First he will look for an explanation by natural causes; and then, if no natural causes can explain the phenomena, the bishop will determine if the events surrounding the phenomena contain anything contrary to the faith. Finally, if nothing contrary to the faith can be found, the bishop can declare the events “worthy of belief.” 

Note carefully that the declaration “worthy of belief” does not mean that the apparition has been determined to be an act of God, nor does it mean that anyone has to believe in it;[1] it just means that, because the Church does not see anything surrounding the apparition to be fraudulent or harmful to the faith, the Church sees no reason to order the faithful, for their own good, not to believe in it.

 
The Investigation in Medjugorje

Now, in regard to Medjugorje, the local bishop concluded his investigation in 1985 and he declared that he not only found no evidence of anything supernatural, but also that all evidence pointed to natural causes. Because of his findings, he prohibited devotion to and propagation of the so-called visions—a prohibition which forbids organized pilgrimages to Medjugorje.

Furthermore, nothing has changed to this day. Nor has the Vatican made any pronouncements of its own yet, leaving things now—as Church law requires—in the hands of the local bishop. Those who believe in and propagate information about the events of Medjugorje do so in flagrant disobedience to the local bishop’s directive. And that’s that.

 
Good from Disobedience?

So, what real good can come from disobedience? Well, none—and here is where we must recognize the work of the devil. Perceiving our social emptiness and our spiritual hunger today, Satan is quite happy to hand out sugar-coated devotions that have a pernicious core of disobedience. He is quite willing to tolerate popular enthusiasm in order to snare the gullible. He knows that the few souls he might lose through genuine conversions resulting from his lies are nothing compared to the myriads of souls he will gain through the spread of disobedience and mis-information. He knows that the “good” surrounding disobedience is only temporary and that his poison will ultimately injure the roots of faith. He knows that once people start saying to the Church, “We don’t care what you want, we want what we want, and we will get it, one way or another,” they have already abandoned their faith. This isn’t a matter of God drawing souls to Himself, it’s a matter of the devil drawing souls to their destruction in evil.

 
What Can You Do?

Therefore, if others around you want to believe in the so-called “apparitions” at Medjugorje and the prophecies of the “visionaries,” then stay away from them for the sake of your own soul. Don’t mock anyone, though. Mockery belongs to the devil and has no place in a Christian heart.

Avoiding mockery, however, does not mean that you should approve the sins of others. To the contrary, you have two obligations.

1.

The obligation to tell Medjugorje enthusiasts (i.e., those who propagate information about Medjugorje) that they are committing sin: the sin of disobedience to the original local bishop’s directive, and the sin of pride in identifying with unapproved “apparitions.”

2.

The obligation to protect the orthodox, catholic, and apostolic faith (which should be your faith) from being “infected” with false beliefs and impure behaviors. Witness your faith politely. If anyone pressures you, just say, calmly yet persistently, “I do not want to hear anything about Medjugorje.”

Be careful, though, not to argue with anyone. Even the disobedient have free will, so they can do what they want if they want. Respect their free will—even if they use it to defile love—because without free will we would not have the capacity to love.

  

Now, we might hesitate to reject unapproved “apparitions” and dubious visionaries because some persons will say to us, “Don’t be judgmental!” But to say that something is contrary to the faith is simply a statement of fact—it’s not judgmental in any way.

Others will say, “Didn’t the traditionalists and legalists reject Jesus? If we reject something that seems to be an apparition, isn’t that like the Pharisees rejecting Jesus?” Well, no. The Jewish leaders not only rejected Jesus, they plotted against Him and killed Him. Besides, they had the genuine prophecies about a Messiah to prepare them for hearing Jesus. So what do we have? We have the warning from Jesus Himself that “many false prophets will arise and deceive many” (Matthew 24:11) because, in a world grown cold in love, many who hunger for spirituality will consume anything sweet, even if it is just a thin, superstitious shell of piety stuffed with pride and disobedience.

  

Therefore, be obedient, like the Blessed Virgin. Pray as she would have you pray, “O Lord, behold Thy servant. Thy will—not my will—be done.”

. . . all heavenly visions, revelations, and feelings—or whatever else one may desire to think on—are not worth as much as the least act of humility.

—Saint John of the Cross
The Ascent of Mount Carmel,
Book Three, Chapter 9, no. 4.

 
The Motto of Satanism

Furthermore, never forget the motto of Satanism: “Do what thou wilt.” It’s like demonic flypaper, sweet on the surface, but ultimate death once you are careless enough to touch it.

 

Who wrote this web page?
 

Notes

1. Although belief in approved apparitions can help to inspire faith, it is not necessary for the Christian faith to believe in any apparition other than those mentioned in the Bible. In other words, modern apparitions are completely irrelevant to living a holy lifestyle. So why waste your time arguing about unapproved “apparitions”? Why not just deny yourself (and your pride), take up your cross, and follow the Faith?

 


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