Lord Jesus, Teach Me to Pray, by Fr. Robert Faricy and Sr. Lucy Rooney, a charismatic, Marian duo highly popular for their direct approach to profound prayer and the miraculous results it can bring! This is a manual for personal prayer, with Jesus as the Instructor -- and by personal prayer they address private prayer, the deepest times we spend with God and how we most directly reach His Son -- for those who hunger to meet Him in peaceful silence. click here  


Occult watch:


We often warn about psychics, as in two recent "special reports" -- wherein we related the details on a dark voice behind one such channeler.

Demons often roam the parapsychological/New Age/spiritualist landscape [see the current "special report"].

The most famous medium in the U.S. is a fellow from Long Island named John Edward, whom you have probably heard about. Bestselling books. Popular TV shows. He speaks to people in his audience and contacts their "deceased" loved ones, proving it by providing details on their lives that he could not know through human means.

There's little question this is a man in touch with something (or someone) not of this world. He "hits" far too many things. But there is always and urgently a question with mediums/channelers/spiritualists of whether it's really the deceased they are in touch with -- heavenly souls -- or deceptive spirits (read: demon, or familiar spirit masquerading as the deceased).

The very real and often strong possibility that dark or earthbound spirits are behind it is why the Church forbids communication with the deceased -- necromancy -- except for spontaneous messages the deceased may occasionally provide through special grace. Simply stated:  Christians are forbidden from initiating such contact and engaging in "conversations." We are allowed to pray for loved ones, of course, and ask for their aid. But we are told not to start a two-way dialogue, certainly not through fortunetellers.

The reason: no one wearing the blinders of earth can know who or what he is really dealing with (if it's not  simply the subconscious).

The same danger exists with "visionaries."

It was interesting for us to recently note in this vein about how Edward was influenced by a Marian "seer" from Bayside in Queens, New York, named Veronica Leuken.

Veronica, who said the Blessed Mother had begun appearing to her in 1968 (up to 1994), related various warnings about the Church, society, and the future of the world, messages that were certainly fascinating. No doubt, good people were involved in it. And no doubt, whenever Mary is a focus, there can be certain fruits. But this was an apparition that was warned about repeatedly by the local chancery and condemned by Bishop John Mugavero of Brooklyn on November 4, 1986 [see formal letter]. The letter flatly declared that the apparitions "completely" lacked credibility," were "contrary to Church teaching," and undermined the Vatican (claiming as they did that Pope Paul VI had been replaced by a look-alike imposter). Going further yet, Bishop Mugavero stated that Catholics were disallowed from attending vigils or propagating literature connected to the supposed visitations (there near Shea Stadium): that doing so -- treating it as a legitimate apparition of Mary -- was to flagrantly violate Church authority. Such an interdict had previously been used in 1955 in Necedah, Wisconsin.

The point of interest here is not the official statement on Bayside; what we find intriguing is the role the apparition may have played in the career of the medium, who hails from Glen Cove, Long Island, not far from Bayside. It's not clear if Edward tapped into the supernatural as a result of the apparitions, or whether it was one of a number of teen experiences that affected him (at age fifteen he also visited a New Jersey psychic who "read" him so accurately it convinced him to try his hand at doing the same thing, which he then excelled at). But Bayside apparently played a role.

Although he is commonly known as the man who talks to the dead, he also talks to Mary and has been devoted to her since as a teenager he was drawn to accounts of a woman in Queens, New York, who said she was receiving messages from Mary and seeing apparitions," it was reported years ago. "He joined the crowds that gathered in her neighborhood to share in the experience." Said the famous psychic of the apparition at Bayside, which went on for years despite that Church condemnation, "I donít know if it was real, but what I got out of it was such amazing unity and prayer. It didnít matter if it was real." Edward was even led by Bayside to come out with a book about praying the Rosary and speaks to "Mary."

Interestingly, it has been reported that the seer at Necedah, Mary Ann Hoof, likewise "had a history of practicing spiritualism and attending seances" (in the words of one author who differentiates between demonic deceptions and what she believes are the authentic apparitions such as Lourdes, Medjugorje, and Fatima).

We'll leave it up to the Church to make final discernments. We "condemn" no one. As we said, good people were no doubt involved.

But there is such a thing as deception.

Even the most well-intentioned can be deceived.

The evil one has been known to initiate a "false" apparition, dilute real ones, skew messages, inspire disobedience, or cause critics to rise unfairly against an apparition.

Even at legitimate apparitions, demons have infiltrated. (One example, Lourdes, where nearly fifty visionaries flooded the site in the wake of Bernadette but were rejected by the Bishop, some of the "seers" clearly demonstrating demonic characteristics: dancing lewdly or even howling in the grotto, to give you an idea).

Test the spirits, says Scripture; look for the fruits; keep only what's good; leave the rest.

Pray, fast, be open; but careful.

One safeguard: fasting.

Another: don't make it a cult.

Lastly: never become obsessed, with anything.

[resources: Prayer of the Warrior and New: Demons are Closer than You Think]

[See also: Michael Brown retreat, Boston area, April 25†]

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