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The Catholic Doors Ministry
presents the Bible Course
"SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT"

INTRODUCTION

1. "Hey Mark, have you heard that the Virgin Mary is appearing up North?" "Have you heard that Jesus is talking to Lucy?" Do these questions sound familiar to you? While the positive nature of these questions appear to confirm Church recognized heavenly manifestations, do they?

2. Apparitions, locutions, miracles, miraculous healings, strange photos, visions, as Catholics, we continuously hear of such spiritual manifestations through the media, these allegedly happening in every corner of the world.

3. Are all of these alleged heavenly events true manifestations of people who are being touched by the grace of God in a very special way? While many Catholics blindly accept most alleged supernatural manifestations, the Holy Catholic Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, considers very few of such claims to be worthy of belief.

4. Supernatural manifestations that are considered worthy of belief are required to meet certain strict conditions. The purpose of this course is to equip you with the knowledge of how the Holy Catholic Church discerns spiritual claims prior to accepting or rejecting the alleged supernatural manifestations.

5. To the sincere of heart, those who seek to walk under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this knowledge will benefit them in the discernment of their own beliefs that are associated with alleged supernatural manifestations.

DEFINING "DISCERN"

6. What does it mean to "discern?" The word "discern" has a Greek origin, meaning "to separate out" of the spirits.

7. Discernment uncovers the deception that casts doubts on Catholic doctrines. "... discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a 'delight to the eyes' and desirable, [Gen. 3:6] when in reality its fruit is death." (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2847)

8. By systematically reviewing (a step-by-step review) certain strict conditions, the Catholic Church can determine with certainty the source of alleged supernatural manifestations, if they are of God or not.

9. In cases where alleged supernatural manifestations are not of God, they can be the result of:

9.1 Satan's deceptive work,

9.2 the fabrications of an emotionally disturbed person, or finally,

9.3 the non-intended deception of a person who has misunderstood the working of his mind.

DEFINING "MYSTIC"

10. For the purpose of this course, a person who is alleged to have experienced a supernatural manifestation, be it as an alleged healer, a locutionist, a seer or a visionary, shall be referred to as a "mystic." A "mystic" is defined as "one who professes to have undergone a profound spiritual experience."

11. Therefore, it can now be said that this course will review the discernment of mystics. In the case of clergy members who are called to discern alleged spiritual manifestations, the "discernment of mystics" means to examine, step-by-step, certain conditions to determine if a certain person (or persons) has truly experienced a spiritual experience in order to make an "Ecclesiastical Proclamation" on the subject. An "Ecclesiastical Proclamation" in this case is a public release of the investigation of the Catholic Church.

CHARISM

12. Discernment is a gift or Charism of the Holy Spirit. Directly or indirectly, Charisms benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world. (C.C.C. # 890, 951, 2003)

13. "Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms." [1 Cor 13] (C.C.C. # 800)

14. Discernment provides the searcher of the truth with an inner certainty as to the presence or the absence of God in certain events.

15. Focusing on sound Catholic teachings, the process of discernment must be exercised by all members of the Catholic Church, the clergy and the laypersons.

MAN ENABLE TO DISCERN BY REASON

16. "Man participates in the wisdom and goodness of the Creator who gives him mastery over his acts and the ability to govern himself with a view to the true and the good. The natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie. The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin..." (C.C.C. # 1954)

17. Reason directs the believer towards the discernment of good or evil, the truth or a lie; reason never leads the believer towards a middle ground." A partial lie is a lie; it cannot be the truth. The truth is pure in nature. To embrace a partial lie is to embrace "the father of lies." [Jn. 8:44]

18. "The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy." [Jas. 1:17]

CHURCH AUTHORITY

CHURCH DISCERNMENT

19. "No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church's shepherds. 'Their office is not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good,' [LG 12; cf 30; 1 Thess. 5:12, 19-21; John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 24.] so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good." [1 Cor. 12:7] (C.C.C. # 801)

20. Within the hierarchy of the Church, discernment may involve any or all of the following 4 stages:

20.1 A person who claims to have experienced a supernatural manifestation must be prepared to submit himself to a local priest as his Spiritual Director.

20.2 In time, it may become necessary for the mystic to submit himself to the investigation of the local Bishop who may appoint a special Commission to review the validity of the alleged supernatural manifestations. Again, in obedience, the mystic is obligated to submit himself to his local Bishop and/or Commission for the good of the Church.

20.2.a The local Bishop is the highest authority within his own Diocese. A Bishop of one Diocese has no official authority over an alleged mystic of another Diocese. An alleged mystic is required to submit himself to the Bishop of his Diocese and no other Bishop.

20.3 In some instances, the National Congregation of Bishops may be called upon to make an Ecclesiastical Proclamation on the matter of an alleged supernatural manifestation within its jurisdiction.

20.4 Finally, when it is in the best interest of the Catholic Church at the international level, on behalf of the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith may release an Ecclesiastical Proclamation on the matter of a supernatural manifestation.

21. In most instances of alleged supernatural manifestations that draw public attention, the final proclamation is made through the local Bishop. Rarely is the matter referred to the Vatican.

22. Some Catholics allege that a personal statement of the Pope is more binding than the Official Proclamation of their local Bishop. These persons are in grave error or losing their souls. While the Roman Pontiff may express his personal opinion regarding an alleged supernatural manifestation, such is not an infallible statement. The infallibility of the Popes only applies on matters of faith in morals.

23. "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals... The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. [LG 25; cf. Vatican Council I: DS 3074] When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," [DV 10 # 2] and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." [LG 25 # 2] This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself. [Cf. LG 25]" (C.C.C. # 891)

24. Some may ask, "What about the bad Bishops?" Such a statement alleges that God blesses a mystic with prophesies and miracles but He has no power over the local Bishop that we are called to obey. Should we obey such a Bishop or should we become the bishop of our own church? By obeying the local Bishop, the faithful will never sin. But, he who disobeys his local Bishop, even if the Bishop has made a mistake, he sins. The grace of God is present in those who obey, not in those who disobey.

25. Jesus stated, "If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and tax collector." [Mt. 18:17]

26. In the 2,000 year history of the Church, of all the alleged supernatural manifestations that have been condemned by their local Bishop, not one was later found to be true. But there has been alleged private revelations that were approved to be true by their local Bishop, these being found to be false at a later date.

27. One must ask the following questions regarding all mystics, especially those who allege ongoing supernatural manifestation, "Is this mystic under the guidance of a Spiritual Director? If not, how can he discern the spirits?" Truly, a mystic who refuses to submit himself to a spiritual director is not worthy of belief.

ERROR FREE CHURCH DOCTRINES

28. When a supernatural manifestation involves private revelations (messages), without exception, these must be free of doctrinal errors. All spiritual and theological doctrines that arise from private revelations must be free of error.

29. When reference is made to private revelations being free of errors of Church doctrines, this means that the private revelation must not oppose any of the teachings of the Catholic Church, its Church Councils, its Canon Laws, the Church tradition, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Holy Bible as interpreted by the Catholic Church.

30. If a private revelation clearly contradicts any or some of the Catholic doctrines, then all the private revelations must be rejected as not being of God. An error in doctrine cannot be blamed on God, the Blessed Virgin Mary or a Saint.

THE HISTORY OF A MANIFESTATION

31. When it is alleged that a supernatural manifestation has taken place, certain questions must be asked regarding its early history.

32. It is a known fact that wherever major recognized apparitions have taken place during the history of the Church such as at Fatima, Lourdes, etc... there were nearly 50 false claims that followed in the neighbourhood of each of those locations. Those false claims involved Satan's attempt to discredit the genuine heavenly manifestations prior to their official recognition by the Catholic Church.

33. Based on the aforementioned, it can be said that in instances where the spiritual manifestation is the first of its kind in a certain region, there is a greater probability that it is genuine.

34. Following their approval, most major Church apparitions experience the copy-cat syndrome. There are a number of reasons as to why this syndrome takes place. Some of these reasons are:

34.1 Satan seeks to confuse and divide the faithful as to which supernatural manifestation is genuine and which one is not. Why? Because he does not want the faithful listening to the heavenly voices that descend upon the faithful in true supernatural manifestations.

34.2 Mentally ill individuals have been known to fabricate false claims.

34.3 Those who seek fame attempt to associate themselves with any apparitions, credible or not, by making false claims of supernatural manifestations.

34.4 Those who seek financial gain seek to associate themselves to any apparitions, credible or not, usually through their writing and the selling of their books, tapes and religious articles, the organization of pilgrimages, etc...

35. Two other concerns should be listed regarding the unique characteristics of false apparitions.

36. First of all, when private revelations (messages/locutions) are alleged by a mystic, it should be determined if his private revelations are identical to or contain "terminology" used in other alleged private revelations. History has shown that false mystics tend to, consciously or unconsciously, copy the material of other alleged mystics. This results from reviewing reading material of other alleged mystics, listening to their recorded tapes, or even from what they heard by word of mouth.

37. Secondly, many false mystics attempt to associate themselves with other mystics who appear to be genuine. They reason that if they mention recognized and/or non-recognized sites of apparitions in their private revelations, they will gain credibility and draw a following towards their cause. This is not necessarily true. What happens when the Church condemns a mystic's private revelations that were mentioned in the alleged private revelations of the copy-cat mystic? By association, the copy-cat mystic has automatically condemned himself!

38. For example, let us suppose that Paul, an alleged mystic, claims through private revelations that he has received, he was told that the private revelations of Elizabeth, also an alleged mystic, are true. Then the Catholic Church proclaims that the alleged private revelations of Elizabeth are not supernatural manifestations but rather fabrications of her own mind, this being based on the fact that some of her writings oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church. Automatically, since Paul claimed that Elizabeth's private revelations were authentic when they were not according to the Church, then Paul has discredited his own private revelations. They could not have been of God because God could not have made such a big mistake of supporting private revelations that oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church.

THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT

39. As part of its investigation, the Catholic Church reviews the fruits that are produced in:

39.1 the mystic, and,

39.2 the community.

as a result of the alleged supernatural manifestations.

40. "The fruits of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." [Gal. 5:22-23] Such fruits support that the alleged supernatural manifestations may be of Heaven.

41. "Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these." [Gal. 5:19-21] To simplify the understanding of some of these words, older Catholic Bibles use synonyms such as: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, witchcraft, hatred, discord, conflict, heresies and murder. Such fruits support that the alleged supernatural manifestations are not of Heaven.

42. In a genuine supernatural manifestation, healthy religious devotions and spiritual fruits are observed. In other words, individual piety is observed versus the activities of extreme groups.

43. When a genuine supernatural manifestation has taken place, the mystic is drawn closer to Jesus. His desire to serve others is strengthened. True growth in Jesus is observed.

44. Over and above this, there is a growth in the mystic's living faith. This means that there is growth in the mystic's prayer life and in the receiving of the Church Sacraments.

45. At the same time, it should be noted that a community growth in the receiving of the Church Sacraments does not authenticate an alleged supernatural manifestation. It authenticates that the grace of God is at work in the individuals who have allowed themselves to be touched by the Lord.

46. Some of the faithful strongly affirm that non-approved alleged sites of apparitions are authentic contrary to the Proclamation of the Catholic Church. They base their conclusion on two things. First of all, the place feels holy. Secondly, they heard of the many miracles that took place at such a place.

47. Authenticating an alleged supernatural manifestation on what it feels is to sensationalize one's faith. It is to build one's faith on sand, not on a solid foundation. The conclusion of such a believer is not based on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It a faith based on the beauty of a Church, its landscape, candle processions, the singing of uplifting songs, the smell of incense, the large number of people going to Church, etc...

48. Secondly, authenticating an alleged supernatural manifestation on alleged "many miracles" is a very weak case to support. Indeed, that is exactly what they are, "alleged miracles," not true miracles. "Alleged miracles" are deceptive fruits, fruits of the father of lies.

49. When there has been an Ecclesiastical Proclamation that "there is no evidence of supernaturality" (non constat de supernaturalitate) and members of the Church continue to allege "many miracles," such members have become children of Satan. Not only are they opposing the Ecclesiastical Proclamation, but they are also confusing and dividing the members of the Church who no longer know who and what to believe. Should they believe the Bishop of the community where the alleged supernatural manifestations are taking place or the non-resident persons who basically are saying that the Bishop is in error (or lying)? Or again, should they believe the persons who seeks to profit from the alleged supernatural manifestation?

50. A matter to consider in the investigation of alleged private revelations is their simplicity. Can the average faithful grasp what is being said? Are the faithful required to read books after books of alleged private revelations in order to try and understand what is being said, material that sometimes is contradictory?

51. Genuine private revelations bring peace of mind. They are not disturbing. They reflect a loving and merciful God who disciplines His children versus a vengeful God who punishes the world for its evil. A loving and merciful God permits certain events to happen in the world for the conversion of the people. Private revelations of a vengeful god, those that usually predict the end of the world, are not of God. Every century since the foundation of the Catholic Church has seen the coming and going of such false mystics.

52. As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Throughout the ages, there have been so-called 'private' revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church."

53. "Christian faith cannot accept 'revelations' that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain non Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such 'revelations.'" (C.C.C. # 67)

54. Any spiritual manifestation that suggest a new revelation that surpasses the public revelation that was completed in Jesus Christ, must be rejected. Public Revelation was completed in Jesus Christ and is found in the Bible and Sacred Tradition of the Church. (C.C.C. # 65-7)

55. When investigating private revelations, the searcher of the truth must ask himself if the alleged messages bring about a greater knowledge and understanding of the public revelation that was completed in Jesus Christ. While no private revelation can claim to surpass or correct the revelation that was given to us by Jesus Christ, they can assist the faithful in their spiritual growth towards a better understanding of what they have already received through Christ.

56. In instances where private revelations contain details about the life of Jesus and Mary, the Church investigator should be skeptical of such claims. History teaches us that even the Saints provided contradictory details regarding the lives of Jesus and Mary, they often interpreting symbols as facts.

57. The faithful's personal interpretation of symbols can set a very dangerous model of behaviour. For example, a mystic may have claimed to have seen a vision of God the Father as an Old Man, the Holy Spirit as a Dove and Jesus on the Holy Cross. This symbolic vision does not mean that God the Father is really an Old Man or that the Holy Spirit is a Dove. Such a vision is symbolic in nature, confirming the truth to the Three Divine Persons in the Holy Trinity.

58. In the Old Testament, we hear the Words of God the Father who said, "I am God and no mortal," [Hos. 11:9] This is echoed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church where we read, "(God the Father) is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: [Ps 27:10; Eph 3:14; Is 49:15] no one is father as God is Father." (C.C.C. # 239) "The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area "upon him" would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down." [C.C.C. # 2779)

59. God the Father is neither man nor woman. He transcends human fatherhood and motherhood. He transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own personal opinions, that God the Father is an Old Man, is to fabricate an idol to adore and pull down from Heaven. Such opposes Catholic teachings.

THE SEER

60. While much of what has already been said had to do with supernatural manifestations, what follows will mainly have to do with the alleged mystic.

DISPOSITION OF THE ALLEGED SEER

61. A genuine mystic is positively disposed in three areas:

61.1 A willingness to submit himself to a spiritual director.

61.2 A willingness to cooperate with a Church investigation.

61.3 A willingness to be obedient to the final Proclamation of the Church.

62. When an alleged mystic refuses to submit himself to a spiritual director and/or refuses to cooperate with a Church investigation, and/or rejects the final Proclamation of the Church, the alleged supernatural manifestations of such a person cannot be and are not of God.

THE INTERPRETATION OF PRIVATE REVELATIONS

63. Prudence dictates that a mystic should never disclose his private revelations to the public prior to having these approved by his spiritual director who is more qualified in the matter. Nor should a mystic provide, privately or publicly, his personal interpretation of private revelations or visions. History tells us that even some of the saints (Example: Saint John of Arc) have been known to misinterpret their own spiritual experiences.

64. While the personal opinion of a mystic in the public does not necessarily discredit his private revelations, one should question as to why a mystic would be seeking public attention. This can be viewed as the sin of pride, especially when the mystic continuously bypasses his spiritual director.

GOD CENTERED

65. In genuine cases of supernatural manifestations, a spiritual transformation takes place within the mystic. The mystic becomes more God-centered and less self-centered (or worldly as one would say). If supported by other signs, physical and/or spiritual, the spiritual growth of the mystic can be viewed as a confirmation that the grace of God has touched him in some way.

HUMILITY

66. In true supernatural manifestations, a mystic is observed to be humble. He does not boast of having been favoured by God, nor seek to do public appearances. He feels unworthy of such a grace, often asking why God would choose him, a sinner, rather than someone else who must certainly be more holy. Nor does he set himself apart as being a 'chosen one,' a 'privileged one,' an 'Apostle of the End Times,' a 'true Catholic,' or other glorious titles that belittles the other members of the community of faithful. In the eyes of God, all are equal.

PERSONAL CLAIMS

67. In view of the fact that a true mystic is usually humble, he has no need or desire to go public and make claims of miracles. A personal desire to make public appearances echo pride and fame. During such appearances, medically non-proven exaggerated (and false) claims of miraculous healings confirm the sin of pride and the alleged mystic's desire to draw crowds towards himself.

68. Only the clergy of the Catholic Church has the ecclesiastical authority to officially make a claim of a miracle, this only after having professionally looked at every other possibilities. One should beware of those who allege that through their prayers or their leadership in prayer groups, there has been a great number of miraculous healings. Claims such as the relief of a headache or an upset stomach cannot be considered as a miraculous healing; it may be viewed as an answered prayer. At the same time, it should not be forgotten that headaches and upset stomachs can disappear on their own.

69. In true humility, a mystic would never claim with absolute certainty that all of his private revelations or supernatural manifestations are divinely inspired. If the mystic does so, the probability exists that Satan is involved.

IN THE WORLD, BUT NOT OF THE WORLD

70. A mystic who has genuinely been touched by the grace of God is in the world, but not of the world. Those who know him, they observe a simpler life. This means that:

70.1 the mind of the mystic is focused on spiritual things,

70.2 the mystic enjoys a longing for his eternal life in the presence of Jesus, and

70.3 he progressively becomes detached from his worldly possessions.

71. Contrary to this, a false mystic gathers more possessions. Females are observed to adorn themselves with jewelry, especially a number of rings. The mind of the false mystic is focused on money, not on God.

A SENSE OF AWE

72. When a person is deeply touched by the grace of God, he is left with a sense of awe at the greatness of God and/or what has been revealed. The same rule applies to the mystic who has experienced supernatural manifestations. The mystic may or may not fully understand the spiritual experience. But he will reflect upon it, seek greater knowledge and understanding, all for the purpose of personal spiritual growth in Christ Jesus.

HONESTY

73. The genuine mystic is honest. When asked to relate his supernatural experiences, he constantly relates the same facts. Nothing is added as time goes by to increase the awesomeness of the manifestations so he can receive more credibility. While some mystics claim to have forgotten some of the details of their alleged supernatural manifestations after a few years, such is not the case with a genuine mystic. Even 25 years later, he remembers the details. His soul is marked for life, the spiritual manifestation having left an imprint that can never depart from him.

MORALS

74. Good morals reflect heavenly graces; bad morals reflect Satan at work. Where the grace of God is at work, the community at large can observe the good morals of the mystic and of those who have been touched by supernatural manifestations. Not only does the mystic know and understand the difference between right and wrong, but he practices righteousness and detests what is wrong.

RESPECT FOR CHURCH AUTHORITIES

75. A genuine mystic respects the Church authorities. That includes his Spiritual Director and the guidance that he receives. He respects the manner in which the Catholic Church proceeds in determining the validity of the supernatural manifestations. He does not seek to find something wrong with the Church investigation, nor try to correct the investigator in the way he is proceeding. The mystic does not place himself above the Church authority when it comes to discernment. He surrenders all that is asked of him to the Church, leaving the matter in the hands of the Holy Spirit to guide the Catholic Church for the best interest of the Body of Christ.

LOVE FOR OTHERS

76. Touched by a heavenly manifestation, a genuine mystic becomes a perfect example of a shining light in the world. In words and actions, he shows a deeper love for others. He is drawn towards doing charitable works that will help others in their worldly and spiritual needs.

PERSEVERANCE

77. As Jesus carried His Cross, a true mystic carries his cross. He perseveres in his living faith, finding joy and peace in the Lord in the midst of daily trials that come across his path. He persistently strives to grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. His faith is rooted on a solid foundation, he accepting all of his crosses with thanksgiving.

CHURCH TEACHINGS

78. He who has been blessed with supernatural manifestations has a craving to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Catholic Church teachings and doctrines. He seeks to enrich his soul through the wealth of spiritual foods that Jesus has bestowed upon His mystical Body.

PRIDE

79. As Jonah, Jeremiah and many of the prophets tried to run from God, the genuine mystic does not want to be a prophet of God. He would prefer that God had chosen someone else. This response to God's call is not because the mystic cannot serve God in obedience, rather, it is because he feels unworthy of being a messenger of God. The Church does not look lightly at a mystic who enjoys being a messenger of God. For the sin of pride is commonly found in false mystics and at the sites of falsely alleged supernatural manifestations.

PERSONAL OBLIGATIONS

80. A mystic of God does not neglect his personal obligations. While being a messenger of God, he continues to tend to his family. He does not neglect his spouse and children to promote private revelations as many false mystics have done. Charity starts at home. If one cannot shine in the love of Jesus in actions at home, he cannot shine in Divine love outside the home.

SPIRITUAL DECEPTION

81. A genuine mystic always remains open to spiritual deception. He knows that the possibility exists that some or all of the spiritual manifestations that surround his life may not come from Heaven. For that reason, he welcomes any Church investigation and longs for the final Ecclesiastical Proclamation.

82. When a mystic, especially an adult, believes beyond a doubt that his spiritual experiences are of a Divine nature, and he insists on it without any past, present or future supernatural event to support his claim, there is a 99% chance that his spiritual experiences are not of God.

STABILITY

83. During its investigation, the authority of the Catholic Church reviews the psychological state of the alleged mystic. The claims of those who suffer from neurotic or psychotic disorders are rejected because such disorders can lead to hearing and seeing things that result from the disorder of their own imaginations or minds.

84. An example of a questionable genuine mystic is when a person speaks publicly on the subject of his private revelations with an ongoing change of emotions. One moment he is joyful, laughing and singing. Then suddenly, he switches to sadness, tears and crying, only to revert back and forth throughout his public speech. In such a case, there is a great probability that the person is not emotionally balanced, this discrediting the alleged manifestations.

85. Contrary to this, where genuine spiritual manifestations are present, the mystic who answers to the Church authority may display a gradual or sudden change in his expression when relating the awesomeness of his spiritual experience. Such, usually happening just once during the interrogation, results from being filled with awe and/or the Holy Spirit.

AGE

86. The age of the alleged mystic is an important factor to consider in the determination of valid supernatural manifestations. There is a greater likelihood that a first time alleged spiritual experience in a community is valid when a young child is involved. When reviewing the major Catholic Church approved apparitions and/or spiritual manifestations that took place during the past two centuries, such as at Fatima (Portugal), Lourdes and La Salette (France), these all involved children.

87. Without discriminating against adults, the Church appears to have always given more credibility to a child who relates a spiritual manifestation. This is because a child, when called by God, can accurately relate a dogmatic message of a profound meaning to the Church authority without any knowledge and understanding of its meaning. In such a case, the child becomes a true messenger of God.

PROPHECIES

88. Jesus said, "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, but only the Father." [Latin Vulgate; Mt. 24:36] In these Sacred Words, Jesus revealed something to us. Satan does not know the future! Remember this! Satan does not know the future! Therefore, in all cases, where mystics have made prophecies, if these were fulfilled, they were of God. If they were not fulfilled, they were not of God. Prophecies are the sure sign of identifying the source of a mystic's supernatural manifestations.

89. Many Catholics are so full of pride that they do not want to accept that they have been deceived. Rather than humbling themselves before God and the Church, they rather follow the leadership of a false mystic who has made false prophecies.

90. From time to time, someone will quote the statement of Pope Urban VIII in the 17 th Century, that "It's better to believe than not to believe." This statement has been taken out of context. Pope Urban VIII was referring to an unapproved private revelation that was under investigation. Once a Bishop has rejected a false mystic, the faithful are bound to obey the Church. The faithful will no longer receive all the heavenly blessings as if the mystic and/or his messages were of a heavenly nature.

91. The faithful should also beware of the many false mystics who prey on the fear of naive Christian by quoting Chapter 24 in the Gospel of Matthew. They speak of disasters, the end of time, doomsday, etc... all quoting Jesus. But what they all deliberately avoid telling you is verse 34. "Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place." [Mt. 24:34] When Jesus was speaking of the disasters that are mentioned in Chapter 24, He clearly said that all would happen in that generation.

92. History tells us that all the above did come to pass according to the prophecy of Jesus! Then, why are so many mystics quoting Chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew? It is because they have been deceived by Satan and refuse to believe it. In their pride, they have become children of Satan, helping the devil to entrap as many souls as it is possible.

THE TRADITION

93. Genuine private revelations respect the Catholic Church, past, present and future. Whatever the Church binds on earth shall be bound in Heaven. [Mt. 16:19] Accordingly, God does not oppose the Church, nor reject Vatican II, communion in the hand, kneeling versus standing during the Consecration, etc... The actions of the Catholic Church are guided by the Holy Spirit. God cannot be against Himself!

94. From the above, we can clearly summarize the following. When a mystic alleges private revelations that reject any of the above, these are the mystic's personal desires. Such reflects that the alleged mystic has not adjusted to the progressive growth of the Catholic Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

WORLDLY KINGDOM OF JESUS

95. All private revelations that foretell of a worldly coming Kingdom of God must be rejected. For the mystical Body of Christ includes the invisible Kingdom of God in Heaven that is made visible through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that was instituted by Jesus Christ on earth. While we hope for the eternal Kingdom of God in Heaven, we are already partakers of His earthly Kingdom through the Church and the Sacraments.

96. In the Tabernacles of the Catholic Churches, we find the Real Presence of Jesus who already dwells on earth. His Kingdom is here, now, among us.

97. Any private revelations that makes reference to a second coming birth of Jesus or to His return on earth to reign as King for 1,000 years must also be rejected without further need of investigation. The Catholic Church calls these beliefs the "Antichrist's deception."

98. "The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the 'intrinsically perverse' political form of a secular messianism." (C.C.C. # 676) A "secular messianism" means "a physical Saviour who will rule a physical Kingdom of God."

CREATING DIVISION

99. When supernatural manifestations lead to division within the Church, such must be automatically rejected without the need of further study. For division is the fruit of Satan. Division can be caused by alleged private revelations that condemn Vatican I, Vatican II, the infallibility of the Pope, the authority of a local Bishop, etc...

100. The same can be said about private revelations that encourage disobedience and disrespect to the Holy Office of the Papacy. Such may include allegation of false Popes, previous Popes having been poisoned, etc...

EQUALITY OF RELIGIONS

101. The Catholic Church is the Mother Church of all Christian Churches. Non-Catholic Christian Churches are sister Churches to each other, for all find their root in the Catholic Church. For this reason, the Catholic Church cannot be referred to as a sister Church of other Christian Churches.

102. Any supernatural manifestations that imply either:

102.1 that all religions are equal, or

102.2 that each religion is a different way of attaining the fullness of salvation, or

102.3 that the fullness of salvation can be attained in any way other than through the Mother Church,

must be rejected. Such teachings oppose Catholic doctrines.

PUBLICITY

103. In its investigation, the Church attempts to determine if the mystic is seeking publicity. Such is a negative sign. Seeking publicity means having a great zeal to promote the supernatural manifestation, doing public speaking, travelling, publishing one's story at every opportunity, etc... These actions are not associated with true mystics who usually withdraw themselves from the world and who would prefer not to be know as mystics.

104. Many false mystics, through Satanic manipulation, have arranged to have a photograph taken of themselves in the presence of the Holy Father in order to give credibility to their alleged private revelations, supernatural manifestations, or selling of books. Unless a mystic has been personally called upon by His Holiness, the Pope of his days, to discuss the matter of alleged supernatural manifestations, the photograph should be regarded with great concern. Why would a person go to such an extreme? What is in it for him?

WEALTH

105. In spiritual discernment, the Church authority watches out for seekers of money. If the mystic and/or his associates have turned the alleged supernatural manifestation into a financial venture, this is a sign that God is not involved.

106. When it concerns the promoting and selling of books, such as in the case of private revelations, it is necessary to know who is profiting from such sales. It is necessary to ask the question, "Is it more important to share God's message or to make money from it?" When money becomes a priority, private revelations cannot be of God.

107. With the arrival of the computer age, we now find many websites of alleged mystics. While these websites allege to promote their private revelations, there, you will find very little material about their alleged heavenly messages. Rather, these websites promote books that you must buy in order to read their private revelations. These websites are not God-centered. They are money-centered!

108. Private revelations that are provided free of cost have more credibility than those requiring that you buy books or those that request a minimum donation for spiritual material related to the alleged spiritual manifestations. This is especially true when the alleged mystic is the one managing the distribution of the material, or he has set up an organization for its distribution. Therefore the false mystic is personally gaining from his work, in fame, power and/or money.

NEW DOCTRINES

109. When a supernatural manifestation or private revelation alleges a new way of salvation other than through Jesus Christ, such is not worthy of belief. No one goes to God unless he goes through "Jesus Christ who is the Mediator between God and man." [1 Tim. 2:5] He who believes that he can bypass Jesus by going directly to God the Father or he who places his faith in a man, he has lost his salvation. For both of these actions are a rejection of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ Who gave His life for the salvation of all.

THE SACRAMENTS

110. When a mystic alleges that the Church Sacraments are no longer required or will no longer be needed in the future for salvation, such a teaching must be rejected. Without going into too much details on this subject, it is sufficient to say that Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." [Jn. 3:3, 5] Water is a reference to the Sacrament of Baptism through which one enters the Church. The Spirit is a reference to the Holy Spirit who sanctifies the souls who have embraced the Church of Jesus Christ.

111. According to Jesus, the Sacrament of Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation.

THE SACRED ORDERS

112. When supernatural manifestations or private revelations discredit the validity of Sacred Orders, either of the Bishops or the priests, such should be rejected. The same applies when these indicate or encourage disrespect for the Church authorities.

PUBLIC VERSUS PRIVATE REVELATIONS

113. Public revelations concerns dogmas of faith that must be believed by all the faithful. An example is the apparition of Our Lady in Lourdes, France, where the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception is an official dogma of the Catholic Church.

114. Private revelations do not necessarily relate to dogmas of faith and are not necessary for the salvation of the faithful. While they may serve as a tool to improve the spiritual life of a believer, they are not a necessity for his salvation.

115. Only the Catholic Church can determine if someone's private revelations should be classified as a public revelation, such happening rarely. Should a private revelation claim on its own to be a public revelation, such a teaching must be rejected.

MANDATORY FOR SALVATION

116. When a supernatural manifestation or private revelation alleges that belief in the event is absolutely necessary for salvation, such should be rejected. For the fullness of salvation is found in the Most Holy Name of Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church that He has instituted on earth.

117. The same applies when it is alleged that a mystic has been personally chosen by God to save the world, that he is the only light left in the world, or that salvation depends on him (how people respond to his messages). Such fabricated stories are not worthy of belief. They oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church.

THE TEST OF TIME

TIME FRAMES

118. In its wisdom and prudence, the Holy Catholic Church is very slow when it comes to approving supernatural manifestations. As a general rule, all spiritual manifestation must pass the test of time, this ensuring that they are of God. Time exposes:

118.1 the future of the mystic,

118.2 the fruits of the alleged supernatural manifestation,

118.3 the spiritual response of the faithful, and

118.4 the validity of the miracles when such are present.

All of these factors must be considered.

119. On the matter of ongoing spiritual manifestations, a final judgment cannot be made until such time as they have come to an end. As a general rule, ongoing apparitions are not approved. The Church authority may indicate that the manifestations are spiritually beneficial at this time, but this is not an official recognition of the private revelations. Nor is such an official proclamation an approval of the private revelations that are received after the statement has been made. In these cases, final judgment usually comes after the death of the mystic.

120. In its review of alleged supernatural manifestations, the Church reviews the time frames between when the alleged mystic had his first spiritual experience and when it was reported to the Church. There is more credibility when an alleged adult mystic took some time, weeks to a year, to reflect on the matter prior to approaching a priest for spiritual discernment.

121. There is grave concern regarding the authenticity of spiritual experiences when the alleged mystic immediately goes to the priest, then goes public, starts promoting his private revelations, sells books to promote them, etc... When this chain of events moves fairly quick and causes confusion, prudence appears to be absent. A lack of prudence exposes an overly zealous person, not a genuine mystic.

CONCLUSION

122. As can be seen from the above extensive list, there is no simple guideline to follow. And this list is far from complete because there are many factors involved in the discernment of spirits. At the same time, this guideline is sufficient as a tool to discern at least 95% of the alleged supernatural manifestations that are made public.

123. Most of today's spiritual manifestations fall on the negative side of the aforementioned list, this placing in question the validity of such alleged manifestations. While it is said that there are presently hundreds of claims of spiritual manifestation that are ongoing throughout the world, of these, only a handful will pass the test of time because they are authentic. The others will fade away and be forgotten as if they had never happened.

124. Most genuine spiritual manifestation are usually not well known and when they do become known, it is not by the power of the mystic, but by the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. If Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary wants the Catholic Church to know something, He or she shall provide the necessary means to ensure that their heavenly message shall come to the attention of the Church authority. And the fruits of the Spirit of Christ will be there to support to validity of such spiritual manifestations.

125. In the meantime, Satan shall continue to cast doubts on logical discernment. Many will read this guide, discern the signs of deception in the mystics that they are following, will reject this spiritual tool, and will continue to walk in their darkness. Their response will not be the result of a lack of logical discernment, but their refusal to accept that they have been deceived.




    This completes the course "Spiritual Discernment."    I pray that this spiritual material has been of benefit to you for the enrichment of your soul in Christ Jesus.

    The Catholic Doors Ministry encourages you to continue in your personal studies so that you may continue to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.

To COMPLETE the Exam for this course, please click on EXAM




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