15 June 2012

Of Angels and Lorna Byrne

I have had some inquiries lately concerning the Irish mystic Lorna Byrne with her simple but compelling story of seeing Angels throughout her life.  Her first book was an international hit, but I know she has found some things difficult.  She is not New Age enough for the New Age and has drawn their ire and fire.  She is not "traditional" Catholic for some conservative Catholics and so she has drawn fire and been accused of being New Age and an enemy to the Magisterium.

Lorna Byrne
I suppose if she cared about these things they would be difficult.  All indications are that she is very happy, is convinced of her mission, and is receiving wide support from a wide variety of people who include Catholics, ex-Catholics, Muslims, Anglicans, Non-conformists, and others.  As far as I know the Catholic Church in Ireland has refrained from speaking about her.  They have bigger problems and those are exacerbated by newspapers and the RTE which are fairly clearly anti-clerical if not anti-Catholic.

The post Vatican II Church has been hostile to such things.  This isn't because of Vatican II and its documents, but rather because of the spirit that seized the Church after Vatican II that was profoundly iconoclastic.  Speaking of such things just isn't done if you care about your position in the Church some feel.  That said I am glad she has spoken out as a lay woman because she has given many a hope in God that they had lost.  

Does she get everything right?  Does she avoid adding her own prejudices?  Does she have an adequate spiritual director?  I don't know, and that doesn't really interest me.  If with Tertullian the Church can discern between a Father of the Church and that part of him which was heretic, in time the Church can discern what here is true and what is not.  When it does that won't be a judgement upon a person, but upon the message.

Gamaliel's wisdom is always the best:  if it is of God, God will prosper it.  If it is not, then it will fail.

Perhaps it is easier for women to write and speak of these things.  For some reason men feel constrained not to admit that they experience such things.  A great fear has been instilled into the Catholic laity that such things mean one is "getting crazy with religion".  There are other ways to put that but they are always the same.

If her work let's people know and reminds others that they have a guardian angel who loves them and constantly tends the garden of their soul ... then praise God.  That is something the Church hasn't been able to do beyond her borders for a long time it seems.  And inside the Church it is a fresh injection at a time when the Church seems on the rocks and in trouble in many places: We and the Church each have guardian angels.  We are not alone.  God loves us.  He watches over us.  He gives us immediate help through the Holy Angels.  Each person regardless of who they are can ask for the help of the Holy Angels.  These are all wonderful things.

When a person is still speaking, writing new books, etc., it is too early to render official judgements.  A lay person in the Church can always discern what is of God and what is not by seeking the guidance of the Holy Ghost and by keeping close to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

+St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle