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  #1  
Old Jun 30, '09, 8:10 am
John Monaco John Monaco is offline
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Default Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

Hey, I was just curious to know why God selects specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others. Sometimes, I really just want to have a vision, a revelation, like you read in the books of saints. They didn't ask for it, it just came.

I was always curious to know, why God decided to choose certain people to receive visions. Personally, I plan on becoming a priest, and I'm entering the minor seminary after my senior year. I would have loved to have the responsibility of the Stigmata, but I have never gotten a sign before. Haha, call me selfish, sorry. I'm not quite envying those who have received visions, the stigmata, and revelations, I just want to have a piece of it too lol.
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  #2  
Old Jun 30, '09, 8:18 am
liquidpele liquidpele is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

Perhaps these people are ill, crave attention, or simply attribute God to their experiences because they don't understand them or have a pre-conceived bias towards God being the reason behind events. That's not to say that such experiences cannot be encouraging or inspirational if interpreted in helpful ways, but the source of such things is certainly another question.

If such a person has a paranormal ability, I suggest they accept the JREF Challenge and become a millionaire.

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html
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  #3  
Old Jun 30, '09, 8:35 am
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Gertabelle Gertabelle is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Monaco View Post
Hey, I was just curious to know why God selects specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others. Sometimes, I really just want to have a vision, a revelation, like you read in the books of saints. They didn't ask for it, it just came.

I was always curious to know, why God decided to choose certain people to receive visions. Personally, I plan on becoming a priest, and I'm entering the minor seminary after my senior year. I would have loved to have the responsibility of the Stigmata, but I have never gotten a sign before. Haha, call me selfish, sorry. I'm not quite envying those who have received visions, the stigmata, and revelations, I just want to have a piece of it too lol.
Sorry to see your first response was such a cynical one.

I remember sitting at my grandma's feet, listening to her tell the stories of St. Bernadette, and the children at Fatima, and wishing with all my heart that the Blessed Mother would appear to me. But I soon began to believe I was waaaaaay too sinful to receive that gift

As an adult, like you, I thought I would like to handle the "responsibility" of such graces as visions or the stigmata. As a slightly older adult (41) I now see that I have tremendous responsibility to use the graces God gives me daily, however mundane they may seem.

OK, so God chooses whom He will to receive visions, etc. Why? Such private revelations are for the benefit of those receiving them and those who become aware of them. Consider the good that was brought about by the visions at Lourdes or Guadalupe.

One could argue that God could send out monthly messages to increase faith around the world -- but then it wouldn't be "faith." It would be reliance on signs and wonders. Our Heavenly Father knows that we little human beings need the occasional signs to renew our faith and help us redirect our lives back towards Him. But always, we are called to live by faith, and not by signs.

Personally, I look to the example of St. Therese of Lisieux, who either had an actual vision of the statue of Our Lady coming to life and smiling at her, or who just imagined it in her fragile mental state. Either way, it was the only sign or vision she ever received. Instead, she built her faith by the simplest, most mundane acts of love.

At your young age, it is fantastic that you want the responsibility of spreading the gospel, of being so united to Christ that you bear His wounds. Keep on this path of faith and love, through times of light and times of darkness. May I suggest you read the writing or biographies of such saints as John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux (who spent her life praying for priests), or Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta?

And when you read or consider the Saints who received visions or the stigmata, consider their whole lives and how they were lived. Their heroism of faith and charity came mostly in the ordinary events and sacrifices of their lives.

God bless you, dear one. And thank you for asking this question

Gertie
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  #4  
Old Jun 30, '09, 9:34 am
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the phoenix the phoenix is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

Some may consider this a bit of a tangent, but I consider it a small, touching point to consider.

As a landscape photographer, I've photographed sunrises and sunsets. And while doing so, have stopped sometimes to notice the behavior of the birds at these two very special times of day. If you're a quiet photographer whom the birds get used to having around in their world, you might notice the awe, reverence, and gratitude with which they greet dawn and dusk.

Some species of birds have a special "dawn song" that they only sing at sunrise. The Eastern Kingbird is one such bird ... I was privileged to see two of them doing a flight pattern over Lake Erie on the shores of Kelleys Island that was one of the most joyous dances in midair I've ever seen, all the while singing their dawn song so loud and strong that you could almost see their little hearts under their chest feathers as they rose into the sky. Such happiness and praise to greet the new day!

Then there's evening sunset. Ducks and geese will come together in couples or small family flocks in for a landing on their favorite pond, go for a sunset swim, look West. Red-winged Blackbirds will sit restful and hushed in reeds by the side of the pond, or maybe take a couple of last swoops over it. These birds look so thankful for the day which had been given them, and their participation in life.

I would say if you want a piece of observing God's glory, a simple way would be to go out and find some birds at day's start or end, and just really look. Humble Mallard Ducks or Canada Geese will do.

There are many answers I could have given to your question, but the simplest one is, to my mind, you don't really have to look far to see traces of God's wonders.

~~ the phoenix
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  #5  
Old Jun 30, '09, 11:08 am
redhen redhen is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

My 2 cents as an agnostic. Sure, many people would be happy to experience the miraculous, locutions, or theophanies, myself included. It would be a life-changing experience. But such things never happen to the faithless it seems.

They always occur to the mystics, those whose already have a deep faith and meditate frequently. Psychologists would simply explain these "waking dreams", locutions as chemical changes in the brain. This also explains why these experiences are not limited to Catholics. Buddhists, Hindus, Sufi's, etc., all seem to experience similar emotions and mental states.

Here's an interesting book that investigates neural changes in the brains of Buddhist and Catholic devotees.

http://www.amazon.com/Why-God-Wont-G.../dp/0345440331
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  #6  
Old Jun 30, '09, 11:22 am
beckycmarie beckycmarie is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

I suspect the answer to this is because He is God, and we are not, He knows best to whom giving visions and such will build up the Church, and those for whom receiving mystical graces would be a source of pride and a danger to their souls and others.

I wish I could recall who on the forums referred to seeking such things as seeking spiritual junk food - I thought that was a good description. We should seek God rather than seeking His gifts, and accept with humility and resignation whatever He gives (or doesn't give), because it is what's best for us.
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  #7  
Old Jun 30, '09, 11:24 am
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

Mary's appearances at Lourdes and Fatima were not for the benefit of Bernadette or the children, who were merely the vehicles Mary used to give her messages to the world. So she probably chose those who could best convey the messages she wanted.

The apparitions happened because Mary wanted to say something special to us at that time. Probably she tended to choose children because children tend to be without ego or pride, so they were less likely to be negatively affected either by their experiences or by the attention that came with them.

She also chose humble people from small villages, probably for the same reason. After all, wasn't she a humble teenager from a small village herself?

As for the stigmata - they are extremely painful, so at least equal parts penance to go with the privilege. All those who suffer patiently under great sorrows truly receive the stigmata as well, just not of a visible kind.

Nor did the visions or stigmata necessarily happen because Sts Francis or Pio, or Bernadette or the children, were especially holy. Many of our canonised saints aren't reported to have had any kind of visions or other unusual spiritual phenomena during their lifetimes.

So it may behove you to examine WHY you would want them, and pray for the grace to want ONLY God's will for you and nothing more or less. God's will may be an apparition or stigmata. His will may instead be that you experience other ways of spreading Our Lady's voice through the world or suffering alongside Our Lord. Which is surely no less glorious a thing.
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  #8  
Old Jun 30, '09, 11:48 am
DBT DBT is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by the phoenix View Post
Some may consider this a bit of a tangent, but I consider it a small, touching point to consider.

As a landscape photographer, I've photographed sunrises and sunsets. And while doing so, have stopped sometimes to notice the behavior of the birds at these two very special times of day. If you're a quiet photographer whom the birds get used to having around in their world, you might notice the awe, reverence, and gratitude with which they greet dawn and dusk.

Some species of birds have a special "dawn song" that they only sing at sunrise. The Eastern Kingbird is one such bird ... I was privileged to see two of them doing a flight pattern over Lake Erie on the shores of Kelleys Island that was one of the most joyous dances in midair I've ever seen, all the while singing their dawn song so loud and strong that you could almost see their little hearts under their chest feathers as they rose into the sky. Such happiness and praise to greet the new day!

Then there's evening sunset. Ducks and geese will come together in couples or small family flocks in for a landing on their favorite pond, go for a sunset swim, look West. Red-winged Blackbirds will sit restful and hushed in reeds by the side of the pond, or maybe take a couple of last swoops over it. These birds look so thankful for the day which had been given them, and their participation in life.

I would say if you want a piece of observing God's glory, a simple way would be to go out and find some birds at day's start or end, and just really look. Humble Mallard Ducks or Canada Geese will do.

There are many answers I could have given to your question, but the simplest one is, to my mind, you don't really have to look far to see traces of God's wonders.

~~ the phoenix
. . . or walk through a field and watch the tall grass and tree branches gently sway in the wind. Or a thousand, million other ways He can be seen.

It's utterly amazing how the seemingly "ordinary" can raise hearts and minds to such sublime heights if we just learn to LISTEN as is clear you do. If the ordinary can do this, what need have we for the extraordinary? Sadly, imo, our cluttered minds and hearts lead us to live our lives as though not seeing the forest through the trees . . . when "traces" of Him are all around us. Right before our very eyes.

Very beautifully said, phoenix. IMO, at least, no tangent at all . . . but cuts right to the heart of the matter.

Dave
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  #9  
Old Jun 30, '09, 2:23 pm
Josh Elzner Josh Elzner is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

I agree with some of the other people who have already posted on this forum answering your question. St. John of the Cross, who was an amazing priest and man of deep communion with God said that seeking for and asking for supernatural phenomena such as visions, revelations and stigmata, etc. is not just extraordinary boldness but pride.

I, too am going into seminay, this fall actually, and I remember, just like you, wanting the stigmata. I see now that that was exactly what St. John was talking about. I have enough trouble carrying the crosses the Lord gives me now.

So instead of desiring supernatural phenomenon, ask our Lord for supernatural holiness and an extraordinary growth in the virtues, especially faith, hope and love. These are truly things all are called to...and not stigmata.

(I'll look up the exact quote from St. John of the Cross and post it.)
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  #10  
Old Jun 30, '09, 3:01 pm
Josh Elzner Josh Elzner is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

I agree with some of the other people who have already posted on this forum answering your question. St. John of the Cross, who was an amazing priest and man of deep communion with God said that seeking for and asking for supernatural phenomena such as visions, revelations and stigmata, etc. is not just extraordinary boldness but pride.

I, too am going into seminay, this fall actually, and I remember, just like you, wanting the stigmata. I see now that that was exactly what St. John was talking about. I have enough trouble carrying the crosses the Lord gives me now.

So instead of desiring supernatural phenomenon, ask our Lord for supernatural holiness and an extraordinary growth in the virtues, especially faith, hope and love. These are truly things all are called to...and not stigmata.

(I'll look up the exact quote from St. John of the Cross and post it.)
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  #11  
Old Jun 30, '09, 3:31 pm
DBT DBT is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Elzner View Post
So instead of desiring supernatural phenomenon, ask our Lord for supernatural holiness and an extraordinary growth in the virtues, especially faith, hope and love. These are truly things all are called to...and not stigmata.

(I'll look up the exact quote from St. John of the Cross and post it.)
You summarized St. John of the Cross very well! For those not familiar, a good portion of Book 2 from "The Ascent of Mount Carmel" goes into tremendous detail about the various types of visions, locutions and revelations . . . and our appropriate response to them.

In a nutshell, it all boils down to this:

1) Do not desire or seek supernatural communications of any type. To do so is the "extraordinary boldness" Josh mentioned.

2) Should we recieve them we should, in almost all cases, renounce them (Intellectual visions and substantial locutions are exceptions to the rule). Failing to do so leads us to a whole host of problems. To name just a few:

* Subtle pride as to our "importance" in God's eyes.

* Misinterpretation through the hand of the devil and/or the failure of our "senses" to discern that which is purely "spiritual"

* Clinging to communications which are at best faint echos of God and never God Himself. This will only stunt our spiritual growth which should be grounded in the purity of faith.

As Becky mentioned, one of the great errors contemplatives face is to reject the solid nourishment of faith for the "junk food" of supernatural communications. It is interesting to note that both Sts. John & Teresa largely regard the "clinging" to these communications, exalted though they might seem, as a spiritual imperfection. And this clinging is one of the major impediments that blocks souls from reaching the Transforming Union -- where supernatural communications cease almost entirely anyway. These souls know they possess Him in their very substance . . . they have no need for the "faint echos."

Dave.
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  #12  
Old Jun 30, '09, 4:53 pm
John Monaco John Monaco is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

You guys are right, I can look at St. John of the Cross' words as the answer to my question. Thank you for clearing that up for me
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  #13  
Old Jun 30, '09, 5:39 pm
FCEGM FCEGM is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

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Originally Posted by John Monaco View Post
You guys are right, I can look at St. John of the Cross' words as the answer to my question. Thank you for clearing that up for me
Remember, too, John, that such gifts, when genuine, are not easy ones to have, what with all the accusations of presumption, lying, causing scandal, etc., etc., etc.. Just look at the lives of St. Bernadette, the children of Fatima, Padre Pio.
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  #14  
Old Jun 30, '09, 7:19 pm
Josh Elzner Josh Elzner is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

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Originally Posted by John Monaco View Post
You guys are right, I can look at St. John of the Cross' words as the answer to my question. Thank you for clearing that up for me
You bet. I have just one quote from St. John of the Cross to share that is very beautiful. For some reason I cannot find the quote I said I'd look up.

Here's the quote:

"It must be noted that all visions, revelations and feelings coming from Heaven, and any thoughts that may proceed from these, are of less worth than the least act of humility. And humility is one of the effects of charity, which esteems not its own things nor strives to attain them; nor thinks evil, save of itself; nor thinks any good thing of itself, but only of others. It is well, therefore, that these supernatural apprehensions should not attract men's eyes, but that they should strive to forget them in order that they may be free." (Ascent, Bk. 3, n 3.9)


John, I'd recommend a book by Fr. Thomas Dubay called Fire Within to learn more on the spirituality of Sts. John and Teresa, which is also the spirituality of the Church.

http://ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/FI...ProductDetails

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  #15  
Old Jun 30, '09, 7:22 pm
Josh Elzner Josh Elzner is offline
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Default Re: Why does God select specific people to receive visions, Stigmata, and revelations, but not others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DBT View Post
You summarized St. John of the Cross very well! For those not familiar, a good portion of Book 2 from "The Ascent of Mount Carmel" goes into tremendous detail about the various types of visions, locutions and revelations . . . and our appropriate response to them.

In a nutshell, it all boils down to this:

1) Do not desire or seek supernatural communications of any type. To do so is the "extraordinary boldness" Josh mentioned.

2) Should we recieve them we should, in almost all cases, renounce them (Intellectual visions and substantial locutions are exceptions to the rule). Failing to do so leads us to a whole host of problems. To name just a few:

* Subtle pride as to our "importance" in God's eyes.

* Misinterpretation through the hand of the devil and/or the failure of our "senses" to discern that which is purely "spiritual"

* Clinging to communications which are at best faint echos of God and never God Himself. This will only stunt our spiritual growth which should be grounded in the purity of faith.

As Becky mentioned, one of the great errors contemplatives face is to reject the solid nourishment of faith for the "junk food" of supernatural communications. It is interesting to note that both Sts. John & Teresa largely regard the "clinging" to these communications, exalted though they might seem, as a spiritual imperfection. And this clinging is one of the major impediments that blocks souls from reaching the Transforming Union -- where supernatural communications cease almost entirely anyway. These souls know they possess Him in their very substance . . . they have no need for the "faint echos."

Dave.
Well, Dave. You did a much better job than I did. I'm glad to find someone else who actually reads Sts. Teresa and John. (and understands them too.)
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Josh
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