Monday, November 23, 2009

What Some Catholics Have In Common With Prophetic Flakes

I was involved with "the prophetic movement" for years when I was attending non-denominational churches. I could tell you stories (and yes, some may just appear on this blog occasionally) about the excesses. I was there, for instance, at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship when it was the Toronto Vineyard Christian Fellowship and they were in the very beginning of "The Toronto Blessing." Although I was open to experiential worship, I still evaluated everything through the lens of Scripture. Others, however, gave in to some wacky behavior and as such, were dubbed "flakes" by those more skeptical.

I never thought I'd find some of these folks in Catholicism, but I was wrong. Just this past week, our pastor notified us in our bulletin about a "ministry" in Ohio that is definitely on the flaky side. A woman claiming to have daily visions of the Blessed Mother, started her own ministry while rebelling against Catholic spiritual authorities. Just recently, the Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon, Bishop of Cleveland condemned the ministry, with the full support of the Vatican. (The link has the story about Holy Love Ministries and a copy of the Bishop's letter at the end.)

Interested, I started to do some research. It seems as though this woman, who was married (and her husband was skeptical), ended up hooking up with some other guy who believed her - which led to her leaving her husband and starting this ministry. That, my friends, is a huge red flag.

Any prompting from the Holy Spirit is going to support God's laws, which includes the sacred fidelity of marriage. I found it sad that although she didn't receive confirmation from her local pastor, she went ahead with establishing the ministry.

Whenever there is a deviation from God's Word, a ministry is on shaky ground. It's also on shaky ground when it refuses the guidance of spiritual leadership. I can't tell you how many times I heard prophetic people insist they were "hearing from the Lord" even though more spiritually mature leaders were warning against deception. Deception is one of the devil's most powerful weapons, especially when it's draped with the robes of "spiritual wisdom."

So, I found out that just as with the prophetic movement, I need to be just as alert within the Catholic Church, guarding against excess and distractions. On the other hand, I'm thrilled whenever I see anyone seek a deeper spiritual faith through devotions. Devotions are a beautiful way to draw us closer to God. It's just when someone decides to venerate a worn-out piece of carpet or a stray hair that we need to be careful.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

Wonderful Post!! Devotions can turn into idolatry, which is wrong IMHO. But, I have also learned that any human being including priests can stray away from the Lord's Word.