The Gift of Prophecy, by Fr. Robert DeGrandis, the famous, dynamic priest who has written numerous highly popular booklets gives us here insights into how to tap into prophecy, the closeness with God, discerning the fruits, as well as interviews and testimony on a most intriguing gift! CLICK HERE
DISCERNMENT MUST EXTEND TO ALL FORMS OF MYSTICISM, FROM VISIONS TO NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES
In 1 Thessalonians 5 we're told, when it comes to mysticism ("prophetic utterance"), never to despise such, but we're also told to examine it carefully, take what is good, and leave the rest.
It's apparent why that passage is relevant. Deceptive spirits operate in supernatural categories (as well as all aspects of life).
There are "miraculous" photographs and weeping statues and bleeding Hosts and luminosities that seem to impart grace, while others -- at first glance, on the surface, also "holy" -- leave unsettlement, which is an indicator of deception (or at least: contamination, a mix).
In fact, there are all sorts of "gray areas."
There are questionable visionaries, healers, locutionists, stigmatics, prophets, and near-death experiences.
In the realm of those who "die" and return with testimonies, in some cases it seems that the devil skews recall or forms a twisted interpretation (often putting on a New Agey spin on such experiences).
In other cases, for all we know, he may be the author of an experience.
It is why we like to say, "for your discernment."
Two in the news of late: the experiences of a Harvard neurosurgeon named Dr. Eben Alexander and a woman who nearly died of cancer named Anita Morrjani.
"I looked into the experience of Anita and don't sense it is of God," noted viewer Walt Gartner. "The focus is on me. The power is within, New Age perhaps. It's the kind of philosophy that people like to embrace and become gods unto themselves. "
As for Dr. Alexander: "I recently read Proof of Heaven and found it to be a well written, compelling story, but there were a few things I found troubling and was glad to see in your bookstore summation the words 'for discernment,'" said Pat McNamara of Tucson. "Dr. Alexander's three main take-always from his experience were: you are loved and cherished -- ok, you have nothing to fear -- maybe, and you can do nothing wrong -- not ok, at least not in this life. His insistence on referring to 'the Creator" as 'Om' and the total lack of any Christian sources in the recommended reading I also found disturbing. His references to Heaven as the 'core' described as the 'shining darkness' reminded me of the messages of the Canadian mystic Jim Singer. I think a scientific skeptic might look at the startling fact of the resurrection of Christ and its implications. All his attempts to make 'the creator' personal fell flat for me and I was left to conclude that the universe was the creator."
We shared those qualms, although likewise found aspects informative and compelling.
Of course, often it is due to clumsy retelling -- or, again, placing a modern, non-religious aspect to it. The majority of near-death experiences, including many of the most famous, report encounters with Jesus. Such experiences come through the prism of the person's belief system (what many call "New Age" are sometimes caused by an upbringing in Muslim or Eastern beliefs). Meanwhile, we must weigh the fact that those who allegedly experience the other side are not only prone to evil attacks afterwards, but come back grappling with ways to express the overwhelming love they encountered (in the process, sometimes neglecting to consider other aspects of Christianity). It is true -- said Jesus -- that the most important standard of judgment is love (which in these days of rancor is in woefully short supply).
But caution -- as with seers, as with locutionists, as with healers -- is always in order, while we also pay attention to that other part of 1 Thessalonians that says, "Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances." How do we discern? Fasting helps. And the main means of discernment (says this very same passage): "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing" (16-17).
[resources: afterlife books and Prayer of the Warrior]
[Footnotes: How to discern? How is this: "I want to tell you about a gift I was given from God," wrote a woman named Lori from Iowa. "Last December, 2011, I heard an inner voice talking to me and it said that 2012 was going to be a rough year and that I would need to pray, and especially to St. Theresa. I always keep Theresa in my prayers. Starting in January of 2012, I ended up with strep throat and when I went in for it they found that I had some other health problems which I ended up going to the Mayo Clinic for. It took until April, but I was cured. In May we found out that my husband's father had cancer and the stress of this went on until he died in September. I am a firm believer that God is not going to send you any more than you can handle. I also believe that it makes you a much stronger person. If you offer your suffering up to God, which I do everyday, He does bless you with special gifts. I received this gift a couple of weeks ago. I had a dream and in that dream which was as vivid as can be, I went up to Heaven. As I am standing there, I see this beautiful woman, in such a bright light, nothing like the light we see here, she was wearing a dress, like a movie star, but not like a movie star. The dress was white, high neck, very modest, but absolutely beautiful. It was covered in jewels, like pieces of shiny glass, etcetera. But, what I noticed more than anything, was the love that radiated from this person, kind of hard to explain, the smile, you just felt loved by looking at this person. I thought to myself that this was maybe my Guardian Angel, until the inner voice said 'No, look closer.' As I did, I realized that it was me -- and I started to cry. God had shown me what it would be like in Heaven and what I could be. I was stunned and every time I think of it I cry. I wish the parents and families of those teachers and children in Newtown could have this same dream, so that they would know just how beautiful and loving their loved ones are in Heaven."
Mass reading from today (1/7/13):
"Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep His
commandments and do what pleases him. And His commandment is this: we
should believe in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another
just as He commanded us. Those who keep His commandments remain in Him,
and He in them, and the way we know that He remains in us is from the
Spirit Whom He gave us.
Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist who, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the One Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit" (1 John 3:22)]
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