CCR: The Spirit or a (demonic) spirit?

I have had a fairly negative experience with the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. Don’t get me wrong: the people are very friendly. However, I am personally dissapointed. Since the beginning of summer I have attended a charismatic prayer group at a local parish. I don’t speak tongues or prophecy, but everyone else in the group does. This doesn’t really bother me, except that I don’t know what to make of the tongues. I figure that, if I am baptized in the Holy Spirit I might be able to speak in tongues as well.

While I understand that there might be real affection behind spontaneous words such “Praise you Jesus!!!” and “Thank you Jesus, Thank You!!!”–more often than not I wonder if these are just the expressions of over-emotionalized individuals. The prophecies are interesting; and I must admit that it is amazing that individuals without prior meditation can speak words of encouragment several sentences in length. However, the prophesies seem too basic, and they don’t really inspire me or get me thinking. Most of them are in the first person, too, which makes me cautious, since the heretical Montanists of the 2nd century prophesied in the 1st person, which is unusual for prophecy.

What really bothers me are the laying of the hands after the healing masses. Since I am not sure what to make of the Charismatic Renewal yet, I always pray to God before attending a service, and I ask God to prevent any spirits not of God from entering me. However, I also ask God that, if it is really the Spirit at work, that He causes the Spirit to work in me. After about six healing masses, I have yet to experience the Holy Spirit. And I desperately need to experience Him, since I have recently not been well in mind, body and spirit. I am beginning to wonder if the Charismatic Renewal is simply another great deceit of Satan.

Sorry if you’re Charismatic, but I’m just having several problems with the Charismatic movement. The people are some of the nicest people I know, but God, specifically the Holy Spirit, whom I sought in this group, is not to be found–by me at least. If the Holy Spirit is Peace and Love, then I have experienced neither since entering my prayer group. I have begun to wonder: if indeed this group is authentic, then am I predestined not to partake in the Holy Spirit, and so damned to Hell?

In any case, although I’m not a hard-core intellectual, I tend to be more rational and less emotional in my faith. Perhaps in normal circumstances I would do better in a Bible study or prayer group run by Jesuits or Dominicans. However, right now I need healing; and the Charismatic prayer group claims to heal not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Any thoughts on why I have never experienced God in my life, much less in my prayer group?

Hello and God Bless You

Try this
Become entirely willing to have God remove all sin from you . You can begin by confessing to him all sin holding back none and admitting all. Believe with all your heart soul and mind in your savoir Jesus Christ concived of the Holy Spririt in the virgin Mary and born unto all for our salvation,crucified by Pontius Pilate and died went to hell and arose on the 3rd day to proclaim Gods Grace to all who believed in him. Know that when you pray to him he hears and sits at the right hand of God the father, and with faith. knowing not guessing ,you prayers will be answered. It is one thing to pray and to expect results and quite an other to pray with Faith. To have a clearer understanding of Faith read HEBREWS Chap.11

You might consider the Catholic Faith for your worship of the Lord.

I will pray for you

Perhaps CCR is not for you—your reason for joining is not solid (I need the good stuff, so I guess I’ll come) We praise Jesus—this is the main focus, and we ask for healing. We do not tell Jesus He must heal us, and if He doesn’t, we will think it is the work of the devil in His group.

Who is laying on hands? Speak to your Pastor or the priest moderator of the group about your concerns

In any case, although I’m not a hard-core intellectual, I tend to be more rational and less emotional in my faith. Perhaps in normal circumstances I would do better in a Bible study or prayer group run by Jesuits or Dominicans. However, right now I need healing; and the Charismatic prayer group claims to heal not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Any thoughts on why I have never experienced God in my life, much less in my prayer group?

Did you know that Mother Theresa went 40 years without the consolation of the Spirit? St John tells us of the dark night of the soul. Get a good confessor or Spiritual Director, and speak your concerns and follow his direction. Slandering others is not a good way to connect with the Spirit. I realize I am being quite firm with you, but I am very distressed by the attitude of some people and the condemning nature toward CCR. You said you have not experienced God in your life–why are you not saying that it is the devil in the Catholic Church in general?

I am a charismatic Catholic. :whistle:

I would advise anyone to attend a life in the spirit seminar and become part of a prayer group for at least a year before making a judgement first about one’s own spiritual response, and second the sincerity and orthodoxy of the persons and activities in the group. You will of course have already determined that the parish is conforming rather than dissenting in its liturgies, teaching and practice, and that the people running the seminar are otherwise orthodox. I would not go near any of this without a prior attitude of openness to the action of the Holy Spirit in my life, and daily prayer to the Holy Spirit requesting Him to bring to fullness in my life the graces and gifts of my baptism and confirmation.

If the group or its members claim to have the power to heal spiritual and physical ailments without recourse to the sacraments of the Church, and if they “market” themselves this way with “guarantees” of healing I would be highly suspicious. If they simply communicate that the Holy Spirit can and does heal through the Church, and if they invite you to participate and learn how to surrender to God as a path to healing, they are sending the right message. Make sure you have known the group, its leadership and members long enough to hear what they actually say, not the hype or not preconceived notions.

Puzzleannie’s advice is excellent. I have been involved with the Charismatic Renewal for many years and have helped put on Life in the Spirit Seminars. During that time I have experienced several people who were very troubled when they came to us and remained very troubled after being prayed for. The CCR is no substitute for medical or psychological treatment, nor is it very effective for those who do not make use of the sacraments on a regular basis including the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. I am somewhat of a control freak and know that the Holy Spirit seems to act in direct proportion to how much I can let go and accept the depth of God’s love for me. Being able to surrender to Him has been somewhat difficult and I am convinced that He never takes more than we are able to give. Also be very sure your group is subject to the pastor of the parish in which it is sited. A genuine prayer group accepts proper authority over them.

[quote=rwoehmke]Puzzleannie’s advice is excellent. I have been involved with the Charismatic Renewal for many years and have helped put on Life in the Spirit Seminars. During that time I have experienced several people who were very troubled when they came to us and remained very troubled after being prayed for. The CCR is no substitute for medical or psychological treatment, nor is it very effective for those who do not make use of the sacraments on a regular basis including the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation.
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Well said, rwoehmke. Thank you.

Maria

I stay away from the Chrismatic Renewl. I cam though pentacostal protestantism and in my opinion the Christmatic movement is based on feelings rather than spiritual things.

That being said, I do not think it is demonic in spirit.

As for puzzleannie comment. I do not buy into it. We do not tell people to try drugs for a year before they “judge” drug abuse. That is an extreme example but her suggest is just wrong.

I would hardly suggest trying involvement in the charismatic movement for a year as a substitute for seeking therapy for mental or physical ailments. What I meant was that I would not pass judgement on the validity of what the group is doing, or join such a group without proper preparation and without giving it enough time to evaluate what was going on. The comment above, that all legitimate prayer groups and movements subject themselves to proper authority, is extremely important, and a litmus test. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal while it shares some of the manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is very different in origin, outlook, attitude toward authority, emotionalism and others aspects from classic pentecostalism. Fr. George Montague has written extensively on these differences, and on judging the authentiticy of groups claiming to be charismatic.

Yes, Annie,

So many people criticize authentic CCR, which they have never experienced because of a bad experience with a group which is not subject to legitimate Catholic authority.

People who know nothing about legitimate CCR should stay out of these discussions, and should definitely be careful of being so judgemental. They will answer for the slander they give.

Madaglan,

You wrote," However, right now I need healing; and the Charismatic prayer group claims to heal not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well". You wrote about needing healing twice. Both times you mentioned “mind and spirit”.

If it was your body that needed healing I would think you’d rely on a physician, I got the hint that it’s your mind that is of more importance.

What gives me the authority to address you here? There is no authority except that over the last 15 years I have been very close to three people who did need help for serious mental problems. All I will say is that if you diagnose yourself you are making a mistake. Most adults will not admit the posibility that they have a mental problem, especially men. Sure it will cost about $300 for a diagnosis, but well worth it if that is the problem.

By the way, I thought you wrote an excellent post. PM me if you want particulars.

While I might presently be critical of the CCR, I do not believe I have slandered it. Slander is defined as the spreading of false and malicious statements. Everything in my last post is based on my personal observations of this group–which, let it be known, strongly adheres to the doctrines of the Catholic Church. There is no liturgical abuse nor disobedience from this group. The problems I am having with my group stem from different sources. The ultimate question I ask myself is: Does the Holy Spirit really dwell within this group, causing the individuals to speak in tongues, to prophecy, and to claim the charism of healing?

This is a difficult question. It most certainly seems that there is some supernatural force at work. I cannot explain why, but the speaking in tongues seems genuinely supernatural. I am always astounded when the more serious members of the group, who normally are quite logical and reasonable, start speaking tongues in prayer, only to return to their normal tone of voice afterwards. The prophey, too, seems more than natural. Ultimately I have come to believe that it is really the Holy Spirit at work, or it is a wayward spirit disguised as an Angel of Light. I understand that I may not have experienced God because I am undergoing a purgation of the senses, or of the spirit. This may very well be, and I have not discounted this possibility. Since God does not personally tell me whether or not the Charismatic group near me is legitimate, I must determine for myself based on Scripture and the Church’s history. I honestly am a bit concerned, since there have been many movements throughout history which, although orthodox at first, fell into schism or heresy (thinking of the Montanists). I personally have had the negative experience of being forced to be slain. I was standing up and being prayed over. I did not experience the Spirit or anything else come upon me, but one of the individuals in the prayer team pushed me backwards, and the person behind me pulled me to the ground. On the ground I simply raised my head and looked at the people as they prayed over me. Perhaps more than anything this event, which happened the second or third time I was prayed over, has caused me to wonder about the veracity of, if not all Charismatic activity, at least that of my group. I honestly don’t know if it’s the Holy Spirit at work in this group.

I have not given up hope for the Charismatic Renewal. If it is indeed the Holy Spirit at work, it is perhaps one of the best things to happen in the Church. I’m just very cautious, since I know that the Devil, too, is at work to capture souls; and he oftentimes disguises himself as an angel of light. I think I will take puzzleannie’s advice. I shall continue attending this group for the next six months. It cannot hurt so long as I continue praying to God to presserve me on the road to truth, even if the road of error is in all appearances the road to truth.

[quote=Madaglan]While I might presently be critical of the CCR, I do not believe I have slandered it.
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My post was directed toward those who have slandered CCR and some of its members—they know who they are, and will answer for it.

By your own reports, your group appears to be an authentic group, under legitimate Catholic leadership. Do you honestly believe it is just to come here and speculate to strangers that their gifts may come from the Devil? To enter a topic which is so blatantly negative toward all CCR? (You did say CCR, not only your group)

You have admitted that you have not felt the presence of God, but you insinuate that those who are strong in their faith may be open to the Devil? Does this make sense to you? Call it what you wish, but you are defaming your group.

Monday’s First Reading

1 John 4
Test the Spirits
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

How can you possibly say a group which constantly calls on the name of Jesus Christ and accepts Him as their Lord and savior receives its gifts from satan? Of course you may question your group in its humanness, but it is certainly not just to question them in the manner you have.

As I said, you really need to voice such negative and damaging speculation in private—you are not even giving your group a chance to defend itself.

Suz,
after reading Magdalan post #12 and yours #13, I think you are doing more damaging to CCR. Magdalan is still in the discerning process, as she should be according to St. Paul. She does not condemn the group, but she can be critical about their action.
OTOH, you talk about testing the spirits, yet you do not give a
reasonable explanation on why more than once, the group pushed and pulled Magdalan to the ground.

I agree w/ you about calling the name of Jesus. However, do you think it makes any difference if the group calls on His name just before pushing people to the ground?

Madaglan,
please read Fr. Bain analysis on the “falling phenomenon”. He has gift of healing, been w/ CCR for many years, so his insight is based on experience:
parishmissions.com/resting.html

[quote=Madaglan] I personally have had the negative experience of being forced to be slain. I was standing up and being prayed over. I did not experience the Spirit or anything else come upon me, but one of the individuals in the prayer team pushed me backwards, and the person behind me pulled me to the ground. .
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We call it resting, and obviously, if you were forced, you did not rest. Did you ever discuss this with your Pastor or the Priest-moderator of the prayer group?

In their humanness, some of the people may be over-enthusiastic, but is that a reason to doubt the authenticity of the group, and publicly malign them, without even discussing the incident?

Good Morning Church
Good Morning Madaglan

You have had many good answers to your questions in the posts here. Please read them over a few times and give them much consideration.

I have been in the Charismatic Renewal from it’s beginning. I have seen many abuses but I have also seen continuous correction of the abuses. This does not make the CCR anymore demonic than the abuses in the Roman Catholic Church over the past 2000 years makes it demonic. Think about this. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit, do you believe Holy Mother Church would have survived all the abuses? What I believe happens is that it is BECAUSE of Gods love for His Church, satan attacks it.

Now, for the Charismatic Renewal. First of all, I want to advise you not to look for feelings. Feelings are not proof of the presence of the Holy Spirit. When you received the Sacrament of Confirmation, did you FEEL the presence of the Holy Spirit or were you aware of your gifts? Were they immediately manifested? When you receive Communion, are you instantly aware and feel the presence of Jesus? Maybe some people do, most do not. We believe by faith and by the good fruits we see.

I, too have had people try to push me over. I have finally come to a point where I simply take a step back. I have also rested in the Spirit when someone stood behind me praying, I didn’t realize they were there and they were not touching me. I had a young priest who was not Charismatic, slip quietly to the floor, as I stood behind him praying, not touching him. It simply was not me or anythingto do with my spiritual condition, it was the Lord.

People both clergy and lay folks have written about this experience, whether it is valid or not, I believe it is. I do not believe it ALWAYS is, I think some folks want to fall so badly they nearly always do and I think some folks are pushed and other things in between. That does not mean that there are valid times as well. Same goes for all the gifts.

I was an abused kid and grew up with spiritual and emotional problems. I am here to tell you that you can get healed through the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. However, in my case, it happened over a period of time. This included the laying on of hands, the gift of counsel, healing of memories, inner healing and healing of the family tree. All of these are ligitimate forms of prayer within the renewal.

I remember once when a man with cancer was prayed over. He was to go into the hospital for surgery the next day. When he was examined at the hospital there was no sign of cancer, HOWEVER, all the symptoms were still there and actually remained until he came to prayer group again and told us. Our prayer group leader had a wonderful gift of knowledge and asked us to simply pray for God to remove the symptoms and God did, that night. Prayer for healings is a wonderful thing. Over the years, I have seen so many miracles I cannot remember them and have heard about even more.

Oh by the way, as far as folks praising and thanking Jesus in english, this is wonderful. Not everyone has the gift of tongues, you know. That is not proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit at all. Did you receive tongues at Confirmation? No, but you certainly were filled with the Holy Spirit. Most folks praise God in their own language, inluding the Holy Father and Mother Teresa.

I wish you well, and will keep you in my prayers and offer my Communions for you.

I personally have prayed over people at healing masses and at other times for healing. I have heard some complaints from people that, like you they were pushed over. I my experience I have not even had to touch a person, merely hold my hands over their heads and start praying and down they would go. Not every one of course, but significant numbers. Just last year I was prayed over for healing of my legs by a prayer team. Afterwards I sang a song for them called “The Invitation” it was written by the Charismatic son of a friend of mine and basically it is words attributed to Jesus promising his presence with them on their journey through life to His Kingdom. This devout lady standing next to me just overheard the song and down she went to rest in the Spirit. No touching, no pushing. I would be very distrustful of a person or group who pushed. Speaking in tongues and prophecy are gifts, but they can be faked by wannabees. Is this demonic? I really doubt that, but some folks want these gifts so badly that they force them. In any case one can decide when and where to let these gifts be used. No one is forced by the Spirit to speak in tongues or prophesy. Similarly, every one prayed over does not rest in the Spirit. I am truly sorry that you were pushed. It hurts your belief and reflects negatively on their Faith and credibility.

Hi Madaglan, I believe the problem is with you. Until you submitt, surrender and yield TOTALLY to the Holy Spirit you will not experience what the Holy Spirit has instore for you. God want to remold you BUT you have to be willing to let Him put you to the potters wheel. He want to make you a Vessel of honor and wants to use you. You have to be willing and say here I am Lord. Then God will pour out His gifts to you as He sees needed. God Bless.

This quote thing won’t work, but if I get your drift, Mad, you have been participating in a charismatic group with the expectation of experiencing personally a manifestation of some or all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; of enjoying an emotional or otherwise discernable “experience” of the Holy Spirit (whatever the heck that means); and of being healed of mental, spiritual and/or physical disorders.

You are down on this particular prayer group, and the CCR in general, because they have failed to meet your expectations. Whether you realize it or not, in your posts they come across as non-negotiable demands (and from your other posts I don’t think you intend to give this impression).

All I can tell you is, if your spirituality, choice of religion, choice of parish, standard for judging various Christian individuals, movements and sects, is their success in meeting your expectations, you are in for a lifetime of disappointment, and will have effectively insulated yourself against any genuine spiritual development and experience of God’s presence. You have defined for yourself already what a valid indication of that presence will be, rather than allowing it to proceed from God.

You sound as if you expect your activities, and those of whatever group you participate with, to generate this experience. The experience comes from God, at His timing, in His way, not yours. Your disposition is to surrender to His will and to conform your will to His, and grow in your relationship with Him. Look for the solution and cause of your problems within yourself, not with your parish, sect, prayer group, pastor, or least of all, with the Holy Spirit.

“He is not a tame Lion.” --C. S. Lewis

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