Spiritual Direction Once Again I


Spiritual Direction Once Again

I suppose you can't tell that I am a real enthusiast as far as Father Dubay goes. The following passage really spoke to me, and after you have a chance to read it, I'll tell you why.

from Seeking Spiritual Direction Fr. Thomas Dubay, S. M.

Carefully moderating enthusiasm for extraordinary phenomena While religious minded people often perceive a need for guidance in their pursuit of God, perhaps the most acutely felt need occurs among those who have been converted from a life of serious sin or from mediocrity. The former are often enough confused as to where to turn and what to do, while the latter need both encouragement and enlightenment. There is a third group that decidedly needs guidance, even if they are unaware of it. I refer to men and women who feed on excitements of various types: outlandish liturgies, for example; or claims that this seer or that one is in contact with heaven, usually in the person of Our Lady. Not only do these 'seers' need direction, but so do those who flock to them, who avidly read everything about alleged locutions and vision, who build their spiritual lives on the latest reports of what the Mother of Jesus is supposed to have said.

Part of the problem here is that many of these people tend either not to seek guidance about the alleged phenomena or to disregard the advice if it runs counter to their personal convictions. Most likely this type of situation is precisely why St. John of the Cross seems to come down so hard on those who think they have supernatural visitations and either make much of them or refuse to let go of them when instructed to do so. There are likely to believe almost any claim to a supernatural intervention, whether is be a message or a cure or some other miracle. What they resist believing is that just possibly they may be mistaken. (p. 58-59)

Now, this is in no way to detract from legitimate, Church-approved apparitions, etc. However, for every approved apparation there must be dozens and dozens that have no approval. A recent example threatened one Carmelite Community in our area. They invited a speaker to come in and talk about the visions of a woman named Deborah in Australia. They started talking about something called the "Magnificat Meal movement," or something of the sort. They spread this infection into the community and indoctrinated any number of people, who then went to other communities with the message. Shortly thereafter the Bishops of Australia issued a strong condemnation of this visionary's teachings, and we had to intervene in several communities to prevent people from continuing because, of course, the visionary was reporting the Lord's words (or Our Lady's) and a bishop is, after all, only a bishop.

I know that I do not espouse a popular sentiment when I state that I will await the Church's FINAL determination on any vision, locution, or private devotion. When it has been through all approved channels, and if the Lord speaks to me strongly through another person or supernatural means about following this, then I will do it. Until then, there are too many temptations to human vanity, to many appeals to human credulity, too many opportunities to go astray. The spiritual wealth of the Catholic Church is so great that were I to begin exploring every legitimate channel and expression right now, I could continue for a great many lifetimes and not begin to exhaust them all. These new things may be for us, they may be for the future. Just as when the Rosary was first proposed, it may have excited some at the time, but it has become a prayer for all time. I do not need the novelties, though I will not eschew them if the Lord invites.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 3, 2003 6:10 PM.

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