07 July 2012

Living with Personal Revelation and with Life in General

I think when you find yourself the recipient of personal revelation it is necessary to be very, very cautious.  For years I have said very little because I needed to evaluate and work through my experiences with several good priests and two extremely good spiritual directors.  My recent healing has been a catalyst to speak not because of the healing alone but because I received from the Lord that now was a time to speak, a time to give encouragement and a time to be 'real' about what the Lord is doing with me and to some degree with humanity.

It is an easy time to give up on Christ's Church.  Plagued by frail human beings spectacularly failing God and some seeming to serve the opposite side, oh my dear reader, it would be easy and perfectly human to run away from such experiences and events ... even if they were only reports heard third hand instead of crimes personally experienced. Who would want to be a part of such a thing?  If it were purely human, one would be insane not to run away from it.  But the Church also has a mystical reality that must be affirmed.  It is difficult that so many in leadership in the Church are staunch opponents of anything mystical, but that is merely human opinion and stands at odds with the history and reality of the Church, the Bride of Christ.

(I had a priest recently tell me that he does not believe in the supernatural reality of transubstantiation but rather accepts it as a fact because the Church teaches that it is real.  Is he wrong? No, we should defer to the Church's teaching when we do not perceive or comprehend something.  But it is very sad not to discern the mystical reality of the Real Presence of Christ at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  To live a life in Christ based only on Law is not to live the abundant life in Christ in my opinion.)

Sometimes authorities in the Church get confused themselves presenting matters of discipline or law as though they were matters of doctrine and dogma.  It is easy to take umbrage at the way some hold forth as though they were the voice of the Divine Saviour.  It is easy to become so enraged with poor teaching and spiritual malpractice that one wants to run away, shake the dust off the shoes, and wash one's hands of it all.

As I said, such things are easy, but they are very, very wrong.  Fidelity to Jesus is not something a human being can maintain without the community of faith He established.  As an example, one cannot worship God as well at the beach as one does at Mass for many reasons the least of which is that when one is at the beach one rarely thinks of God at all.  There is beautiful water and sun to enjoy. There are beautiful waves to watch, beautiful bodies to ogle... oops.

We need to worship in the community of faith if we really want to remain anchored in the hope that is in us in Christ Jesus.  This is especially true of the Catholic who has a mystical experience and relates it.  Whenever you hear of a Catholic mystic who has ceased to be Catholic and calls themselves "spiritual" I recommend that one simply walk away.  Even if they see something wonderful like angels around the site of a disaster.  If after they have had their mystical experience they walk away from the Church in some clear form, and if they are Catholic and leave the Church, you have a good indicator that the vision is false, misconstrued, or something else is going on ... yes, even if the person is a lovely soul with priest friends and lots of contacts.

When it comes to relating my own stories which I have only mentioned in thumbnail sketch on the internet, I try to make it clear that I am not looking for fame, followers, or sceptics.  I am simply telling my story because the Lord told me that it would encourage the Church at a difficult time.  If you could see the Holy Family as I have seen them, you would fear nothing as long as you follow the Lord Jesus where He walks.  And so I try to go where He indicates and do as He directs or sometimes suggests.

The Lord loves the Church, but He is profoundly critical of the organisational structures that have developed.  However, He is far more critical of the baptised and confirmed Catholic who sits in the pew than the problems in Vatican structures.  The Lord Jesus demands of us that we look to the house in shambles within ourselves before we even begin to address other issues or problems.  I say this not to call people to introspection and inaction but rather to say that one can accomplish nothing unless one is attentive to the condition of the soul and one's life in Christ.

Now the paragraph above that  I have just written is from private revelation to me.  You should question it, probe it, and use your discernment to see if there is any truth there.  You need not believe a word of it.  As it is there are no official pronouncements on anything I have experienced.  It will take years before anyone can say whether or not my healing will pass Vatican muster to be the miracle for Blessed Father Seelos' canonisation.  Only after I die and the fruits of my life can be judged against the private revelation I received will the Church begin to consider making any pronouncement.  In the meantime I must do what the Lord asks of me, and I pray that you as a reader will use your discernment, consult your Bible and your Catechism, and govern your life by participation and reception of that daily Miracle which is Holy Mass and the sacraments of the Church.

CAVEAT: Private revelation to follow — 
It is my understanding that the Lord allows private revelations to act as encouragements and cautions among His people and all the people of the world.  Sometimes the bearer gets it right (St. Catherine of Siena, for example) and sometimes the bearer gets it catastrophically wrong (Mohammed of the Muslims).  Make no mistake that Jesus loves the Muslims, all of them, just as He loves you.  He loves them so much that in order to break through the wall around them erected by Mohammed and Uthman, He and His Mother and some of the Angels and Saints appear to Muslims in their dreams giving them the truth that they need.  

The Lord tells me that He tries to do the same with Catholics and other Christians, but most of us are not receptive to Him.  At the time He told me of how the Muslims would receive Him in their dreams but we would not, I wept.  He comforted me that many do dream of Him but because of the way priests, religious, and bishops have responded in the past, the Laity do not come forward to bear witness to the Church.  There are many more reasons, but each and every one of them makes me terribly sad for the Christian world.  

Whenever a Christian dreams of the Lord or Our Lady or the Angels or the Saints, that person shares in the company of St Joseph of Nazareth, the Builder.  It is a glorious company of blessed and faithful people.  You will know that a dream like this is really of the Lord if it takes you into the bosom of the Church.  If you have a dream of Jesus saying that you should leave the Church and worship the moon ... pretty clear that such a dream is not of God and either has a diabolical source or is perhaps something as simple as a bit of undigested cheese.  Use common sense in addition to your skills of discernment.

The Lord is not interested in controlling us.  If He were, he would have made us robots or some sort of living automaton.  He is interested in our engagement and participation in this life with all of our gifts, memory, reason, and skill.  He expects us to care for each other, not control each other.  And it is in the spirit of genuine Christian care that any person who has mystical experiences should be received with warmth by their parish priest and bishop.  Will this always happen? No.  We are all sinners and miss the mark.  So we must not grow despondent but rather find a discrete spiritual director with experience who can help us remain accountable to God, our Church, and ourselves.

I am a person who has experienced the very worst that the Church can give -- whether as an Anglican or a Catholic.  Most would shake their heads in sorrow to see me leave, but most would understand if they knew every detail.  But it is a grave mistake to equate Christ's Church with the acts of an individual or the cover-up of many.  The Church and the Truth is bigger than all of that.  Yes, one must construct a zone of safety around one's self but do not let that turn into a Great Wall against Our Lord and His people, the Church.

You may need to go to police, file lawsuits, or do whatever is necessary under the law and under your obligation to your fellow lay Catholics.  But, after surviving the diabolical, you will give victory to the demon if you walk away from the Church.  Forgiveness is very difficult, and I recommend to anyone in this sort of pain, survivors, to read the books written by Immaculée Ilibagiza.  They are the best school of forgiveness and for overcoming the impossible that I know.  Better yet attend a retreat or watch a video of one. Viewing her most recent retreat in New York City should prove most healing.  

And whatever you do, remain within the Church somehow... maybe through a prayer group for a time, or a rosary group, or an active apostolate to help others .. but stay within the Church.  It is the only way to be truly healed and to live fully alive in Christ that I have found.

Strangely, such a survivor and the experiencer of something mystical travel a similar path.  The temptation is to run from the so very imperfect Church on earth.  Having experienced the horror of the worst of it or the transcendent magnificence of spiritual experience, nothing looks as good as it once did.  This can be disconcerting and frightening.  Running and leaving leads to greater confusion and isolation.  Staying and participating in the gifts that the Church possesses from her Lord is a path toward integration and wisdom.  It takes a little time sometimes, but it is worth it in my experience.

When I speak of the Church, I speak of all of those baptised into Christ.  Unfortunately, when many speak of the Church what they really mean is the Vatican, the curia, the bishops, the clergy ... and that can be the real source of the mistaken impulse to leave the Church behind and "roll your own" religion. No Mass can take place without the baptised.  No one can be Pope unless someone baptised is elected... I hope you understand what I am trying to say and indicate.  Put your focus on EVERYONE who is the Church.  They have need of you and me, and you and I have need of them.

The vision of the Church as a pyramid with the people at the bottom and the Cardinals at the top is not a correct vision for the Church or of the Church as the Lord sees it.  Look to the Apocalypse (Revelation to St. John) at the throne and the concentric circles of His own around him.  I have stood in those circles and wherever one stands one sees the Throne and the Lord as if one were right in front of Him.  I cannot explain it by physics, maths, or architecture.  I can only tell you that it is so.  The Lord is the Light at the centre that we cannot even begin to conceive and all of us are like little lights in a sphere all around Him, each one special and precious beyond all imagining.

This is just a blog post. It is not a thought out essay.  It is simply a reflexion I am making at this time.  In the future I will be saying more of my experiences, and I want to be sure that anyone who comes across this blog understands that I am selling nothing and I am not looking for fans, groupies, or followers.  I encourage you to use your discernment and to be wise in considering what I say.  If you read something I write and you find it contrary to the doctrine and dogma of the Church, please stick to what the Church teaches and understands.  I may express something poorly, and you may misunderstand my meaning.  Let us be wise about such things and cleave to the Church in her teaching authority which transcends local troubles of time and place.  And above all cleave to the Church's Lord.  Hold on to Jesus no matter what happens or has happened.  

As my Episcopalian Sunday School teacher, the sainted Mrs. Daisy Wegner, said to us at the end of each Sunday School lesson, "Little children, no matter what happens in life, turn to Jesus, turn to Jesus."  I have never heard a better statement of the Gospel or wiser words for life.  No matter what turn to Jesus.