by Michael H. Brown
As spiritual times grow more intense we feel the need of issuing an alert. I have spoken countless times about the need to discern seers, but never has such a need been more urgent. We are seeing cases of intense contamination. We still feel it's better to believe than not -- that an openness to the Holy Spirit is crucial and at the very foundation of Christianity -- but the times are dangerous. Behind the scenes we have encountered cases of stigmatists with bizarre manifestations, near-death experiencers who have gone New Age, and even healers who exhibit traits of the demonic.
This is not to say we should halt our mystical interest. After all, we're the mystical body of Christ. If not for manifestations of the supernatural -- healing, exorcisms, materialization, apparitions, and levitation -- history would not have paid attention to Jesus. His appearances after death -- as a corporeal apparition -- stand as the foundation of both Easter and modern Christianity.
We shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. That's what the devil wants. He's trying to discredit legitimate apparitions. But we do have to throw out the bathwater. There's lots of it. In my dealings with hundreds of alleged seers and locutionists I have seen distinct trends. One is that a seer is deceptive to begin with. I have certainly witnessed that, including with some whose names would be widely recognizable. My policy, however, has not been to name names unless there has been a directive or ruling by a bishop, or unless the situation is urgent. That's because my discernment could be wrong. And that's because we don't intend on humiliating anyone. Even those who have been questionable from the start may not themselves realize the deception.
False seers are often excellent people who go to church every day and preach strict Christian precepts.
But such are our times that the evil one preys on our every weakness. How do we discern? Look for seers who lead to unease, a lack of peace, a darkness of eyes, an inner agitation, more questions than answers, and division. Look for those who exaggerate, or seek attention. Look for those who are not obedient. By their fruits you will know them -- even if they don't do anything directly, and don't mean it. It's time to retrench if there are niggling questions after speaking about or with a seer, if there is consternation, if a still small voice raises questions. And if there is pride and ego, or prophecies that are overly detailed, paranoid, or sensationalistic, it's also time to back off. This is the demon's mockery, and it is more prevalent than are legitimate visions.
I have seen seers start out fine and then pick up contamination out there in the public. Spirits come around and deceive. They especially target those with a charism. I have been distressed of late at how some I knew -- and who I believe had legitimate experiences -- have taken a questionable turn.
And so we urge everyone to pray, fast, and be careful. We have seen serious repercussions. We have seen phenomena around seers that remind us of poltergeist activity. That's one reason the Church is reluctant to acknowledge seers.
Look: we agree that it's gone to far. Just recently, I wrote about how bishops don't seem to accept anything. And that's unfortunate. In the last couple decades only apparitions in Cuapa, Nicaragua, and Betania, Venezuela, have met with full Church acceptance. But often, even most of the time, that's because the bishops know and hear things the average person -- even the average person who closely follows an apparition -- does not. I could write a small book about the behind-the-scene intrigues of many modern apparitions, and if I did it would cause the hair on the back of your neck to stiffen.
We have to be careful.
And thus this "alert. " Remember that's it's better to believe than not believe -- there is more grace with those who are overly accepting than those who are overly skeptical -- but there can literally be ill effects. And as we begin purification, as we head into the steeper curve of chastisement, the attempts by evil to distort revelation will become all the more intense.
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