I’m a cradle Catholic. I love the Lord and I love the Church. Yet I am continually saddened by the lack of charity I encounter among my Catholic brethren in my parish, online, in regards to their brothers and sisters. There are so many who wield the truth as a bludgeon, who in so doing wound and divide the Body of Christ. At times the truth should wound, as when a boil needs to be lanced. But always, truth must be spoken with charity, with regards to the recipient, and striving for unity.
Paul exhorts us in Ephesians in such a balanced way in Chapter 5:25, 29, 31-32.
“Therefore, putting away falsehood, let everyone speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another…Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
While some people may interpret the notions of edification, the imparting of grace, or even kindness in such a way as to justify the speaking of truth regardless of charity, Paul’s exhortation to be tenderhearted is harder to ignore.
One of the greatest blessings of the Catholic Church is that it holds things in balance…we have scripture and tradition, there are faith and works, it is embodied in our Savior who is both fully God and fully man… who is Truth and Charity.
So, I implore you brothers and sisters in your conversations to speak the truth in charity, pray that your words would be edifying and would flow from a tender heart, not just an informed mind. Put away name calling and judgment and remember that we are “members of one another.”
We are not, and were not created to be, only minds…our God created us heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit. He invites us to encounter Him with all of these. I understand those who have been touched by ‘charismatic’ services/masses/prayer as having encountered the Lord in a way that they have not before. To encounter God emotionally is no less than to encounter God intellectually. Again, the Church admonishes us to hold things in balance. Encountering God only emotionally is imbalanced and can lead to error. Encountering God only intellectually is imbalanced and can lead to error.
Let us not disparage where our brothers and sisters may be, but let us encourage each other to draw close to the Lord with everything that we are.
When I hear of people praying to take authority over demons, I understand it to be not a ‘taking’ but a ‘claiming’ of authority that is our inheritance in Christ, as sons and daughters of God. Is one worse than the other…the presumption of ‘taking’ something that is not ours to take, or the refusal to ‘claim’ what God has intended for us to have in Christ? It is irrelevant, because we are told what we should be doing:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12
…and Jesus most definitely exercised authority over demons.
Lastly, I encourage you to delve into the history of the Church, read Acts of the Apostles, explore the lives of the saints. When we rely on the way the Church “has always done it” we misunderstand our own history. The Church is not a static monolith dropped from the heavens… through the Holy Spirit acting in individuals, communities, and shepherded by the bishops and popes, the Church has unfolded and matured. Let us pray that in our maturation we do not lose the youthful zeal of the early Church. Let us cherish the traditions, the Authority,the Sacraments and sacramentals, that have been passed to us with great devotion, and be docile to the movements and prompting of the Holy Spirit to be engaged in the “work of ministry” for which we are to be equipped by the gifts given to the Church (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers). Eph 4: 7-14