"Vox Domini" Website

(Voice of the Lord)


 

Rev. Dr. Michal Kaszowski

Professor of Dogmatical Theology

Silesian Seminary Katowice

 

 

Emotions surrounding private revelations

The significance of private revelations for the Church

A reply to accusations against Vassula

It is not only the messages of Vassula Ryden, but all so called ‘private revelations’ that give rise to much discussion. Very often one comes across a reluctance towards all these ‘wonders’, as they are often called. Sometimes they are fought against in the name of ‘common sense’; they are treated –not without certain contempt – as only fit for simple and uneducated people. Frequently, the so called ‘private revelations’ are regarded as superfluous and even detrimental to the Church which preserves the fullness of Revelation given to us in Jesus Christ, and which holds the Sacred Scripture and the Teaching Office (Magisterium). One hears that the faithful should not occupy their minds with the revelations – because they are ‘private’. The answer to these accusations needs wider consideration, as do the ways in which the revealed truth is conveyed, and the ways in which a variety of gifts of the Holy Spirit enrich the whole Church. The nature of so called ‘private revelations’ must also be considered.

 

What actually are private revelations?

 

 Although the term ‘private revelation’ is often used, it is however, difficult to define precisely what it means. For example, can the mystical experiences of God given to St Teresa of Avila or of St John of the Cross be called ‘private revelations’? Are the countless different ways in which God is experienced by  millions of people praying daily also ‘private revelations’? Can one describe as ‘private revelations’ the  inspirations –sometimes very creative- experienced by theologians, which surely originate from the only Source of Truth – the Holy Spirit? It is due to these inspirations that they discover God’s truth! Can one describe as ‘private revelations’ all the prophetic charisms about which  St Paul speaks? What is the difference then between a ‘private revelation’ and a prophetic charism?

 

Attempting to define the meaning of ‘private revelation’ becomes even more complicated when we compare the way in which they are conveyed with the way in which God gave us so called public Revelation. The basis of one and the other kind of revelation is the personal experience of God by a specific person chosen  to be His instrument. In this way God first of all let Himself be known ‘personally’, for example to Abraham, to Moses, to the prophet Isaiah and to Jeremiah, and touched each individually with His grace. He did the same with St Paul near Damascus. These individuals then passed on to others their supernatural experience, becoming witnesses of the Living God.

 

Even the fullest revelation given by Jesus Christ began with an individual experience: Jesus as man in the one, unique and fullest way experienced Divinity in Himself, as indeed He Himself was God. He shared with us His fullest experience of God, revealing Him to us with words and deeds.

 

And so the ways in which ‘public Revelations’ were passed on were not much different from the ways in which ‘private revelations’ were passed on. Both the first and the second have the same source; that is, the individual experience of God in a supernatural reality. At first both were ‘private’ in one sense. The Church, in presenting the canon of the inspired books of the Old and the New Testament, has defined which recorded experiences of God and His Truth convey ‘public Revelations’.

 

We are not always able to describe accurately how those chosen to pass on public Revelations experienced God and the supernatural reality, for example the prophets of the Old Testament. Reflection on Christian mysticism teaches us that there are many different ways of experiencing God in which He lets man know Him so that he becomes His witness, His prophet. For example, it may be an experience of God without any kind of imagery, as described by the great Christian mystics who reached the heights of contemplation (1) or alternatively, the unique understanding of the human nature of Jesus Christ, which He as the resurrected man will never lose. It could also be the grace of understanding the horrific passion of Jesus, suffered for our redemption. God can manifest Himself through locution; that is, a voice heard internally; through internal visions – perceived spiritually with ‘eyes of the soul’, or externally, perceived outside oneself. God can manifest Himself through the intermediation of the Most Holy Mother, the angels or the saints.

 

Therefore there can be various ways in which supernatural reality is experienced in a unique mystical way, and in these each one of us is immersed through baptism, the Eucharist, and grace. God decided, and still decides, to whom and in which way He reveals Himself.

 

Each form of experiencing God was, and is, a gift given not only to that particular person, but also to other people for whom he becomes God’s witness, His prophet and His instrument, revealing His truth and will.

 

Revelations – gifts enriching the Church

 

In spite of general assertions, ‘private revelations’ serve the Church in various ways; they enrich it and so cannot be looked upon as having been given privately to that believer alone. In the Church there are no ‘private’ graces for one’s own personal use. St Paul teaches us this clearly when he presents the teaching about the Church, the Body of Christ. He states that there are no gifts of God which are reserved only for one person and are not useful for the whole Body of Christ -  the Church. In order to bring the truth closer to us, St Paul reminds us of the usefulness of each organ in the human body: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘ I have no need of thee’, or the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of thee’” (1Cor 12:21).

 

Vatican II clearly reminded us of the teaching about the enrichment of the whole Church through every gift. It pronounces, amongst other things, that the Holy Spirit, in guiding “the Church to all truth and unity in community and service, endows it with diverse hierarchical and charismatic gifts and with their help directs and adorns it with His fruit” (CC 4).

 

Therefore all the gifts and graces, without exception, are necessary for the Church: they edify it and renew it. The same thing can be said about ‘private revelations’, as they too constitute one of the manifestations of God’s actions. They are for the good of the whole Church and so should not be rashly rejected.

 

How do ‘private revelations’ constitute good for all the Church? Each of God’s interventions in the life of man flows from His redemptive love for him and is carried out with thoughtfulness for his well-being and for his redemption. In this way, ‘private revelations’ provide an aid to sanctification  of the person who receives them, and call him to intensive friendship with God and to true faith and love.

 

The goodness and holiness of the individual radiates out upon the whole Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. He who experiences ‘private revelations’ must be converted into being spiritually activated, and through his conversion, holiness and apostolate, sanctifies the whole Church and the world. A good example of this is St Paul, who was converted near Damascus by the vision of Jesus, Whom he had been persecuting. This unique experience brought about Saul’s conversion and consequently brought him to  fruitful toil for the Church. In his letters he teaches why Christ is still being persecuted today: because we all constitute His Body, the Church.

 

Andre Castella mentions other benefits given to the Church by way of ‘private revelations’ (2). There are various valuable teachings relating to the development of spirituality, for example, the writings of St Teresa of Avila; St John of the Cross; He and I by Gabriela Bossis; Anna’s Allow love to embrace you; and so on. These are an additional source of enlivening the faith in the Church; hope, love and friendship with God; and devotion to the Holy Mother. Teachings which help us towards conversion and help enrich our spiritual lives are given to us in Medjugorje, amongst other places. For example, in one of the messages Mary says: “Dear children, I invite you to personal conversion. These times belong to you. Without you God cannot accomplish that which He desires. Dear children, through your prayer you will grow every day in order to come closer to God. I am giving you a weapon against Goliath – five pebbles: the Rosary, recited with love, the Eucharist, the Holy Bible, fasting and monthly confession”. Mary often reminds us also of the need for love and for complete giving of oneself to God and to Her, our Mother; for meditation on the Passion of Jesus, for reparation to God for the sins of the world, and for concern for the conversion of sinners on the road to eternal perdition. She therefore reminds us of the basic values of Christian life, which unfortunately have been forgotten by a great number of the baptised.

 

Through ‘private revelations’ God often reminds the faithful of the fundamental truths of the Church; for example, of heaven, of eternal damnation and of purgatory, in order to rouse their sense of responsibility for their own eternal destiny.(3) The purpose of ‘private revelations’ is also as a reminder of the very real, but in this era possibly forgotten, revealed truths. For example, St Faustina Kowalska, thanks to the direct teaching of Jesus, reminds the Church and the whole world of the truth revealed long ago about the boundless mercy of God. Moreover, through her, Christ teaches us concrete ways in which we can seek this loving mercy, for example in praying the chaplet of the Divine Mercy, through veneration of the picture, and so on.

 

The mystics, through their received supernatural teachings, remind us of the truth that is frequently understated by theology: that is, that God suffers when we, his beloved creatures, reject Him and hold Him in contempt; He suffers when his children quarrel amongst one another; when the Mystical Body of Christ – the Church- is torn apart; when there are wars between brothers; and when murder is perpetrated on unborn children. Authentic revelations are constant calls for reparation, with our love, for the outrages which He continually suffers. (4)

 

Revelations such as ‘God’s mystical city’ by Maria Agreda, Anna K. Emmerich’s ‘Visions’, and Maria Valtorta’s ‘Poem of God-Man’, can help the reader to link more closely with Christ and His Mother, and at the same time very much enrich the whole Church spiritually. These revelations can help us understand the ‘spirit’ and ‘climate’ of the Sacred Scripture, and through this understanding, make it easier to live according to his instructions.

 

Some ‘private revelations’ have the objective of establishing new forms of devotion in the Church, or of bringing back old ones. For example, Mary appeared to St Dominic to ask him to propagate the prayer of the Rosary. Jesus showed His Sacred Heart to Saint Mary Alacoque so that we might adore It, especially on the first Fridays of the month. In Fatima Mary asked for the practice of devotion on the first five Saturdays of the month. She asks for this again today in Naju. Jesus asks through the Hungarian nun Natalia Maria for devotions on the first nine Saturdays of the month, in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in reparation for all the outrages committed against Her. Some other ‘private revelations’ have the objective of spiritually enriching the Church by creating new places of pilgrimage. Christ Jesus and Mary are appearing in chosen places, so that the faithful come there for enlightenment, for sanctification, to be spiritually fortified and to be comforted (for example, in Guadeloupe, Lourdes, Pontmain, Banneaux, Beauraing and Medjugorje). These new places of pilgrimage are reviving the whole Church through conversion and the spiritual renewal of the faithful who go there, and are therefore of great value to the Church.

 

“In some places of pilgrimage”, writes A. Castella (5) “heaven sends messages also in the form of admonitions or prophecies; for example, calls to conversion and announcements of the grave events which humanity will have to face if it continues to pursue the road of evil. The point is, it is the admonition of God, who cannot remain silent when He sees His children about to perish.” (La Salette, Fatima, Medjugorje, Akita, Naju).

 

One of the reasons for there being ‘private revelations’ is also to enliven the hope  in the victory of God, Mary and the Church over Satan, which has been prophesied in the Sacred Scripture. Through His chosen instruments, God and Mary announce to humanity the imminent triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary over the forces of evil, and also announce the reign of the Kingdom of Christ (Kerizinen, Garabandal, San Damiano, Naju; Don Gobbi, Vassula Ryden).

 

‘Private revelations’ which impart the gift of prophecy can be verified through external signs which manifest God’s power, such as  healings, conversions, signs of light (for example in Fatima and Medjugorje), statues and icons weeping tears or blood (for example Syracuse, Malines–sur–Meuse, Naju, Akita), and  icons oozing sweet-scented oil (for example the icon of The Gates of Heaven in Canada, in Soufanieh, and the statue in Naju). All these signs fulfil a helpful role: they are a sign of God’s presence and His activity; they remind us of His Love and Mercy; they are a call to conversion.

 

Father Ukleja writes of the numerous ‘weeping’ statues of Mary found throughout the world: “The sight of weeping and tears on the face of a friend and especially of one close to us, makes one spontaneously think that that person has met with some great grief or has been wronged. Usually we then ask the reason for these tears and sympathise with the person, and try to comfort them. If these tears are shed by a mother, it means that some serious tragedy is taking place in her heart. Some great distress or wrongdoing  has deeply wounded her heart, and she expresses her pain through her tears. Even had she not  lamented or said anything, her tears alone speak without words. Good children will understand and act accordingly, quickly trying to remove the cause of their mother’s tears.”(6) Hence the tears alone are a sign, a specific grace, which calls us to love and to conversion, and which is a gift for the revival of the whole Church.

 

Why have ‘private revelations’, when we have already received in Christ the fullness of revelation?

 

As the Church teaches us, Christ brought us the fullness of revelation. This is indeed so, as what more can we receive over and above God Himself, who became man. No-one can add even the smallest truth which is not already known by Christ. If so, then what is the point of ‘private revelations’? Although we have been given the complete revelation in Christ God-man, we do not as yet completely understand it ; we have not ‘assimilated’ it. It is as if we have received a book in which everything has been written, but which we have not yet managed to read completely, nor have we thought it through, nor assimilated it because of its great volume.

 

Although in Jesus we have the fullness of revelation, it is also essential for us to have additional help in order to be able to understand it fully. This help is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will remind us of the revealed truth, will help us to discover its complete fullness and will reveal to us things to come. “And the Comforter – the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring about all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you” (John 14:26). “But when He, the Holy Spirit of Truth, is come, He will teach all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever things He shall hear, He shall speak; and the things that are to come He shall show you” (John 16:13). “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you” (John 16:13)

 

The great work of reminding us of the teachings of Christ, of leading us into the fullness of truth and of the revelation of things to come, carried out by the Holy Spirit, continues in the Church today. It can be seen in the example of the books of the New Testament, amongst other things. These books contain a reminder of Jesus’ teachings (for example in the Gospels), the shedding of light on those teachings (for example in the Epistles), and the revelation of things to come ( for example in the Gospels and in the Apocalypse).

 

Since the last book of the New Testament has been written, the work of reminding, of leading to the truth and of revealing things to come has not ceased. The Holy Spirit continued, and still continues his work in the Church in various ways. He reminds us of the revealed truth and leads us into its even greater fullness, and also reveals things to come by teaching the popes and the college of bishops, and by pronouncements of the Vatican councils and synods, and by enlightening all the faithful of the Church; in other words, a ‘sense of faith’. The Holy Spirit also carries out His work through the writings of theologians, through those who preach homilies and through those who speak at conferences, as long as they submit to His inspirations and guidance.

 

The Holy Spirit also continues His work in the Church of reminding, of guiding to the truth and of revealing things to come through the charism of prophecy. It is a gift which enables us to become witnesses of God and to proclaim His truth and love, and which calls us to show the Creator our faithful love. The best-known prophets are found in the Old Testament – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others. However, the  prophecies also enhance the New Testament. It speaks of the greatest of prophets, John the Baptist; also of old Simeon, who foretold to Mary that she would be pierced by the sword of sorrow. Even the high priest who advised the killing of Jesus was acknowledged as a prophet. This gift was not reserved for men alone; the Evangelist speaks of the prophetess Anna and also Mary, who, at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, utters the prophetic speech to her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth also speaks prophetic words, calling Mary the mother of the Lord. St Paul considers the gift of prophecy as one of the most important for the Church (1 Cor14: 1-). He lists the prophets as taking second place only to the apostles and before teachers, which shows us the importance of this gift. “God has given us different positions in the Church; apostles first, then prophets, and thirdly teachers….” (1 Cor 12: 28-, Eph 3:5; 4:11). He speaks of the Church as having been founded on the apostles and the prophets (Eph 2 :20).

 

Nowhere in the Bible has it been said that God will stop using this exceptionally precious gift in his Church. The prophecy of Joel says “ In the last times – the Lord says – I shall pour out My Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and daughters will be prophets. Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and I shall pour out My Spirit in those days upon My servants and handmaids, so that they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-21; Joel 3:1-2). This gift has never been revoked, or limited only to the times of the apostles. Nevertheless, for various reasons, which I shall not analyse here, this prophetic gift has been slightly ‘forgotten’ in the Church, although it has never stopped manifesting itself.

 

This ‘forgotten’ gift of prophecy is given in various forms, more frequently than is supposed. It is most commonly found in the form of internal enlightenment, in the understanding of some revealed truth; in understanding a fragment of the Sacred Scripture, for example, in a Bible study meeting, during an important discussion or in a homily, amongst others. The Holy Spirit then reveals his activity by sudden internal enlightenment and illumination. He does this so that the discovered truth might be shared with others, because He knows that it will be needed for someone’s salvation.

 

Another more rare form of prophecy is through ‘private revelations’. Through these the Holy Spirit also reminds us of the truth, leads us to it and reveals things to come. So, for example, the children of La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima received the gift of prophecy in an exceptional form; they became instruments, through which God wished to enrich His Church with additional graces.

 

Why exactly did He use children? Maybe because they are good messengers; they have more boldness than adults; they are not tormented by scepticism, suspicion or uncertainty. They do not cloud the supernatural message with their own interpretation, meditations or philosophy because all these are beyond their ability.

 

The apparitions in Fatima show us the significance of the function of prophecy for the good of all the Church and humanity. It was the Holy Spirit, in Fatima, who was reminding us and leading us to the fullness of truth and who announced things to come, although the little visionaries actually had contact with the archangel and Mary. It was the Holy Spirit who acted in them, because without His help the chosen children would not have been able to see or understand anything supernatural.

 

Through the events in Fatima the Holy Spirit reminded us of the truth revealed long ago; for example, God’s readiness to forgive, His merciful love and justice, and of the value of conversion, reparation and penance. The Holy Spirit enriched the Church by enhancing its understanding of the value of devotion on the first Saturday of the month. In Fatima this same Holy Spirit revealed future events: the chastisement awaiting mankind if it does not convert. It so pleased God that children from a small village were able to remind the Church hierarchy, established by Christ, of their duty to consecrate the world, especially Russia, to the Heart of Mary. The events in Fatima did not diminish the significance of the public Revelation already in existence. They did not compete with the Sacred Scriptures. They did not do away with the existing hierarchy or the Teaching Office of the Church (Magisterium) or the structure of the Church. Without infringing upon anything, a valuable and redemptive instruction was given: to offer everything to the Heart of Mary, to surrender oneself to Her, to convert, and to be at her disposal, and in this to be at the disposal of God Himself; and to undertake acts of reparation and penance for sins. This simple reminder constitutes an enormous gift for the Church.

 

The numerous mystical apparitions and revelations, especially Marian ones,  to which we are continually being alerted from various parts of the world, show us that the prophetic gift in this form not only has not vanished, but has even intensified. It has not ceased, because the Divine wisdom has decided that this gift is particularly necessary for our 20th/21st century. Although we have the Sacred Scripture, we still need to be reminded of what it says about the subject of God and about our eternal destiny. We need this, as while we are immersed in a world which we can see, God and the supernatural we cannot see. In this situation we are continually in danger of forgetting Him, our friendship with Him, and our eternal destiny which is to live in the house of the Father.

 

The appearance of a prophetic gift in the form of a ‘private revelation’ is an additional aid for our salvation which has been given by God, and does not pose any threat to the reading of the Sacred Scripture. On the contrary, it is given in order that we do read the Bible, reflect upon it, and understand it even better. A revelation would not be genuine if it drew us away from reading the Sacred Scripture. A genuine one produces hunger for the word of God.

Neither does an authentic revelation, as one of the forms of prophetic gifts, pose a threat to the function of the Church established by our Saviour or to the Teaching Office. Those who doubt the need for ‘private revelations’ surely will not dismiss the usefulness of homilies, sermons, conferences, retreats, or of reading books written by theologians, even although there is the one revelation – the Sacred Scripture – and the Teaching Office of the Church. Nobody who is sensible and who puts the inspired books above all others will deny the value of the aforementioned salvific forms of activity arising in the Church through the centuries, because there is no contradiction between them; they are complementary and mutually fulfilling. No believer has to choose between public Revelation and ‘private revelation’, just as he does not have to choose between the Sacred Scripture and tradition, or between the Magisterium of the Church and theology. One cannot set one against another when they are in mutual harmony and are complementary to one another, because their source is the One Holy Spirit. St Paul teaches us: “And yet there are different kinds of gifts, though it is the same Spirit who gives them, just as there are different kinds of service, though it is the same Lord we serve, and different manifestations of power, though it is the same God who manifests His power everywhere in all of us. The revelation of the Spirit is imparted to each, to make the best advantage of it” 1 Cor 12: 4-7

 

Must we accept ‘private revelations?

 

In order to answer the above question, it seems right to distinguish between the supernatural nature of concrete ‘private revelations’ and the message that they contain. For example, a person can be saved if he lives by the demands of Christ even if he does not accept the supernatural, for example, the happenings taking place in Lourdes. The Church does not force the faithful to accept the supernatural in ‘private revelations’.

 

However, it is a different matter when regarding the attitude taken towards the messages of various ‘private revelations’. If a revelation reminds us of the truths revealed by Christ which are proclaimed by the Church; if it calls for conversion and a return to God; if it calls for us to live with love and to stand fast with the Pope, then these messages must not be denied. To discard them would show a person’s ill-will and unwillingness to convert. Similarly, a negative attitude towards the contents of homilies indicate the closing of one’s mind, not only to the priest who preaches them, but also to the teachings of the Sacred Scripture, and to God himself Who is inviting us into His friendship and to live our lives according to His wishes. If someone rejects the calls to conversion contained in a ‘private revelation’, then he is making light of his salvation, because he has closed his mind against EVERY Divine call, including the one which is found in the Sacred Scripture and in the most formal teaching of the Church.

 

The above reflections can be illustrated by an example. There are some Christian denominations which do not accept the existence of inspirations, for example in the letter of St James. This does not mean that all the followers of that religion will be condemned for that reason. If however, through ill-will, a person knowingly and deliberately lived his life without the moral principles found in the aforementioned letter, then he would put his salvation in peril.

 

So a person who doubts, for instance, that Mary actually appeared in Lourdes or Fatima, can still save himself if he continually strives to live according to God’s commandments. There is a question mark, however, over the salvation of one who takes no notice of any calls to conversion.

 

It can happen sometimes that a person rejects a ‘private revelation’ and while giving the impression of being very sensible, careful and trusting in the pronouncements of the Church, is actually in this guise hiding a reluctance to change his way of life. He then finds all kinds of intellectual arguments to question a revelation, all these in order to justify his lack of conversion. This kind of justification for what is a concealed lack of zeal is, in many cases, expressed as repeated objections of the sort: “I do not accept this revelation because we have the Sacred Scripture”, or “I do not accept because the Church has not yet confirmed it”, or “Christ warned us against false prophets”, or “One has to be careful about private revelations”, and so on. This pretence of ‘honesty’ very often masks a rejection of evangelical radicalism, of the call to base one’s life exclusively on God; of love for Him and our neighbour; rejection of the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation; rejection of prayer, fasting and other forms of penance, especially penances for those for whom God has no meaning and who are heading towards eternal damnation.

 

Caution regarding private revelations

 

Time and again one hears the statement that the Church is or should be very careful regarding ‘private revelations’. In the name of this maxim, many ‘private revelations’ are ruled out in advance, usually without proper acquaintance of the contents or the fruit that they bring forth.

 

Caution is indeed required. However it should be sensible, honest and free from prejudice. It should have something of the wisdom of Gamaliel, who had pertinent advice for his countrymen relating to the disciples of Jesus: ‘“Have nothing to do with these men; let them be. If this is man’s undertaking, it will be overthrown; if it is God’s, you will have no power to overthrow it. You will not willingly be found fighting against God.” And they fell in with his opinion.’ (Acts 5:38-39)

 

In those who urge the need for caution one can see a certain kind of ‘bias’. What does this mean? Because of the fear of possible error, of the revelations being inauthentic, or of the prophet being false, the revelations which they come across are rejected in advance, without the discernment based on the help of the Holy Spirit or the examination of the fruit which is  required by Christ. They are then treated either as something useless, or even frankly harmful. Within this ‘caution’ regarding the possibility of error there is a complete disregard for the possibility of destroying a genuine revelation – the work of the Holy Spirit, the source of salvific graces for a great number of people.

 

Caution is always advised but it should act in two ways. On the one hand the point is not to spread errors or teachings not in keeping with the Revelation, the teaching in the Sacred Scripture, or of the Tradition and of the Magisterium of the Church. On the other hand however, caution demands that we do not reject the authentic voice of God – the work of the Holy Spirit – a real grace given to the Church. Because if God has spoken or is still speaking, man should fall to his knees, listen and change his life. He should not put forward accusations such as ‘Why is God speaking to us today if He has already spoken in the past ?’

 

A prudent person, acting in accordance with St Paul’s warning, does not stifle the Spirit (8). Prudence must not become disdainful of the hand of God which is outstretched towards us, or of the Most Holy Mother, as this wounds their love. Prudence must not deprive our neighbours of the grace given out by God. Jesus warns us against the contemporary Pharisees and hypocrites when He says, “Woe upon you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites that shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces; you will neither enter yourselves, nor let others enter when they would” (Mt 23:13).

 

A warning against false prophets

 

The Sacred Scripture does indeed warn against false prophets. However, this same Sacred Scripture foretells of widespread prophesying (Jl 3:1-5; Acts 2:17-21) and the hostility towards this.

 

“And it shall come to pass that when any man shall prophesy any more, his father and his mother that brought him into the world shall say to him: ‘Thou shalt not live: because thou hast spoken a lie’” (Zc 13:3-4).

 

Therefore there will be false and true prophets. It will not be the false prophets who are persecuted, but the genuine ones, as it says in the Sacred Scripture (Lk 6:26). For the above reasons, it will always be necessary to carefully distinguish between the two types of prophets. While warning us against false prophets, Jesus also gave us ways of distinguishing between them by their fruit, good or bad, so that we are not defenceless in the face of threatened danger. Those who warn us against false prophets often have in mind various ‘private revelations’ or the individuals who think they have received these revelations. We can ask ourselves, however, if in the history of the Church the numerous heresies came about in fact as a consequence of ‘private revelations’, or whether they were the creation of theologians and were based entirely upon their own thoughts. We can also ask ourselves whether the present day deviations from the teachings of Christ which are so very widespread in the Church, for example, the questioning of the authority of the Pope; of the rejection of the sacrament of reconciliation, of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and of the Eucharist as the perpetual sacrifice, and the decline of the devotion to the Mother of God, and so on, have their source in the ‘private revelations’; or is it because those ‘private revelations’ unmask these deviations, and call for a return to the authentic traditions of the Church. Have not the messages given through Vassula Ryden  been given to the Church of today for this precise reason?

 

Fr. Michal Kaszowski

 



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