Protestants who claim God spoke to them/led by the Holy Spirit

Hello. Another thread started by me. Sit down and have a coffee as we discuss(From a Roman Catholic point-of-view) about protestant claims. As you know, I’m currently a protestant(I’m converting to Roman Catholicism), and the teaching handed to me and others by protestant pastors and teachers as well as fellow disciples of the protestant good news is that the Holy Spirit himself speaks to us.

I was at a protestant home the other night as we did a book study on God and I asked how we can hear God’s voice. I prayed for a dream, a vision, even to hear he audible voice of God himself tell me his will and direction. I prayed this to God secretly because I wanted him to give me a vision, a dream or to hear His audible voice on whether I should join the Roman Catholic Church or stay protestant. My prayer went unanswered and I wondered why. It is according to His will to lead me to the Roman Catholic church, right?

But the thing was that two different priests and a nun unrelated to each other responded to my concern when I asked them about this that I wasn’t eligible for the sacrament or reconcilation but I should pray a hail mary and just keep confessing my sins to God in my usual protestant way. I found this odd, yet comforting, and was not content with the answer recieved by the three people and having no direct response to God in my prayer.

I was baptized as an infant in the triune formula and christened during confirmation in the Anglican church, but here I was, no answer from God and doubting if I really had the Holy Spirit in me after all. It scared me. And it made me skeptical(secretly) of any protestant who claimed the Holy Spirit spoke to them or told them some revelation about their life and so on.

I began to wonder if these claims were merely just people confusing the Holy Spirit with their own thoughts and being led by them and emotions. So, during a bible study, I asked how come we don’t get dreams and visions from God to know his exact will especially when we pray according to His will and for his good purpose. Why don’t we hear his audible voice to ask us to do what He wants for us. People talk about surrending to Jesus all the time and being dependent on God for direction in their life, but how do you know if God wants you to do this specific action or not do it, and move to this place or this other place. What happened to drawing lots. You know what their answer was? How do we know a specific thought is not merely our own and is actually the Holy Spirit speaking to us in our own mind’s voice?

I was told we can know His will by reading the bible, and that if we heard His voice, we’d get scared just like the Israelites who heard God. And that we aren’t robots who just do as he commands.

Maybe I really don’t have the Holy Spirit. Maybe I do. I’ll know for sure once I am christened as a roman catholic and as is currently stands, I am in a state of mortal sin due to being a protestant and having done mortal sins even though I have made private confessions to God in prayer. And because the anglican christening may be illegitimate.

So, I want to know the Roman Catholic discernment on this. I obviously lack discernment about how to be led by the Holy Spirit, and am confused(maybe).

(1) What is your experience with hearing the Holy Spirit and what He wants you to do?
(2) Is the voice audible or is it a thought that pops up in your mind?
(3) Is the thought of your own voice or another?
(4) When you pray for direction, do any of you receive an answer by dreams or visions?
(5) Do you receive any kind of wisdom and knowledge from the Holy Spirit that you couldn’t have known through your own efforts and by studying?
(6) Wouldn’t protestants today who claim the Holy Spirit spoke to them or told them this and that be some kind of prophet? Wouldn’t their revelation and instruction they claim is of the Spirit actually come from their own mind rather than God’s?
(7) Protestants sincerely believe they are moved by the Holy Spirit. Would God still hear their prayers and answer them(for example, praying for someone to be healed)?

Let’s talk about Roman Catholic’s take on protestants who claim to be speaking what the Holy Spirit told them or moved then to do.

Questions 1-5: I only get “messages” from God through other people. Sometimes it’s in person, sometimes from books, even, on occasion, from a movie. Sometimes I have just pondered a question long enough that I’ve come to find an answer.

Question 6: I’ve heard too many people - mostly Protestant but a few Catholics, too - claim “God told me.” Since the message is often straight from the Bible, I wouldn’t call it a miraculous message, but it is a message from God. :slight_smile:
As for the other “messages from God,” they are usually nonsense.

Question 7: God doesn’t refuse to listen to people, and he works through some pretty strange people sometimes! There’s an old saying: God writes straight with crooked lines. We don’t know who He will use to send His word.

I think that because many adherents of the newer protestant faiths so highly value their “personal relationship” with Jesus, it may constantly motivate them to achieve the ultimate (in their minds) “personal relationship” in the form of signs, wonders, messages, tongues, prophecies, dreams and other extremely personal one-on-one experiences with the Almighty. The problem is, we all know what our Lord thinks of that wicked and adulterous generation that seeks signs and wonders. None will be given. Many people think they are only seeking His will, but they may be, in fact, only seeking validation of their “personal relationship with Jesus” for their own amusement or curiosity.

Catholic culture, on the other hand, stresses different things. There is an emphasis on obedience to the Church, the sacraments, communal prayer and suffering. Our Lord will guide us via the Church He left for us, through the Eucharist, the intercession of the saints and each other, and through our willingness to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and carry it no matter how hard it is. These tests prepare us to do His will. We may not ever know exactly what His will for us is. We don’t need to know all the details. He will guide us. One thing I can tell you: God will judge us on how well we handle the responsibilities and crosses He sends us. What He sends us, is His will for us. It is seldom something monumental, like building a TV network. It is usually something small, the importance of which is known only to Him.

What do I think of people who claim the Holy Spirit has spoken to them? Sometimes the Holy Spirit works like that, and sometimes people just believe what they want to believe. Don’t keep asking our Lord for a sign or a message. If He wants to get in touch with you, He will, don’t worry!

This is a LOT, but I’ll go piece by piece with the caveat that I am no theologian; what I can bring to the table is 10 years as a Catholic then 18 years of living as a Protestant minister’s wife before converting/reverting in the Year of Faith…

yes, but not usually in the neon-sign, audible-voice kind of way. Consider that only Thomas touched the wounds of Christ

If Jesus is who he claims to be, and if he prayed that we would all be one, and if he left us an apostle-led church…why do we need the neon sign? Or, to put it another way: why would anyone want to be Catholic, if the Holy Spirit was not drawing him to the Church? There are much “easier”, “seeker-friendly”, “socially acceptable” communities. If you have a desire to convert, I would not say it came from your “flesh”, the “world”, or the “devil”

why shouldn’t you pray directly to God? We do all the time. Perfect contrition (if possible) ensures God hears and forgives. Also, if your baptism is trinitarian, there is no problem. Even if it weren’t…it is humans who are bound by the sacraments, not God. (See CCC 1257). God would only have us do what we can.

the best I can explain it is a deep impression that something the right thing, particularly when it may not be easy or make sense. Example–one night I felt that I should check on my husband’s sister, I actually felt something was wrong. I called–she said she was fine, but the impression did not let up. We prayed, called again. Same. Ended up driving 40 miles to spend the night on her sofa. The next afternoon, her neighbor was found to have been raped and beaten by a man that had stopped by my sister-in-laws house earlier “looking for work”. The neighbor was alone, with no cars in the drive. Because my husband and I were with her, there were 3 cars in the drive and a light on in the living room. I will always believe that was the Spirit protecting my sister-in-law. Things like this have happened while taking care of patients, as well.

commonly deep and deepening impression. once a voice, indicating something was wrong (I was about to commit a mortal sin). No visions, once a dream (that only made sense years later, so it wasn’t guidance, but more preparing for something that could happen)

Yes, but not most common–I believe God mostly expects us to use the sense(s) He gave us

-No. The gifts of the Spirit are for the Church. They come to us at God’s good pleasure, for a sign to unbelievers and an help to Christians.

Protestants are our separated brethren and lack some aspects of the fullness of the truth, but the Church has held, over and over that these are communities of grace and faith. Short answer: yes, God answers Protestants’ prayers.

the fact is that not everyone who claims to hear the voice of God, does (Catholic or Protestant or anything else). Certainly, where communities of people are saying the “spirit” told them something that contradicts scripture or tradition, that can’t be legit. However, when one is living a holy life, seeking the Holy Face and Will of God, there is no reason the gifts and charisms of the Spirit are not for today–as long as we don’t cheapen it to expect it everyday.

A non-denom church was started by a pastor in my childhood community that was previously very Catholic. Her church is related to a group called City Plan who claim that God speaks to them. And when He does…they build another church.:shrug:

Mystical Prayer in the Holy Spirit

This reading on mystical (contemplative) prayer, taken from Bonaventure’s Omnia, 5, 312

Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle, like the
throne of mercy over the Ark of the Covenant, and the mystery hidden from the ages. A man should turn his full attention to this throne of mercy, and should gaze at him hanging on the cross, full of faith, hope and charity, devoted, full of wonder and joy, marked by gratitude, and open to praise and jubilation. Then such a man will make with Christ a pasch, that is, a passing over. Through the branches of the cross he will pass over the Red Sea, leaving Egypt and entering the desert. There he will taste the hidden manna, and rest with Christ in the sepulchre, as if he were dead to things outside. He will experience, as much as is possible for one who is still living, what was promised to the thief who hung beside Christ: Today you will be with me in paradise.
For this Passover to be perfect we must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. This is a sacred mystical experience. It cannot be comprehended by anyone unless he surrenders himself to it; nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it; nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world, should come and inflame his innermost soul. Hence the Apostle says that this mystical wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit.
If you ask how such things can occur, seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in the understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; seek the bridegroom not the teacher; God and not man; darkness not daylight; and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervor and glowing love. The fire is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem, fired by Christ in the ardour of his loving passion. Only he understood this who said: My soul chose hanging and my bones death. Anyone who cherishes this kind of death can see God, for it is certainly true that: No man can look upon me and live.
Let us die, then, and enter into the darkness, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all the fantasies of our imagination. Let us pass over with the crucified Christ from this world to the Father, so that, when the Father has shown himself to us, we can say with Philip: It is enough. We may hear with Paul: My grace is sufficient for you; and we can rejoice with David, saying: My flesh and my heart fail me, but God is the strength of my heart and my heritage forever.

Blessed be the Lord forever, and let all the people say: Amen. Amen!


Blessed Angela of Foligno

IT must be known that God cometh sometimes unto the soul when it hath neither called, nor prayed unto, nor summoned Him. And He doth instill into the soul a fire and a love and a sweetness not customary, wherein it doth greatly delight and rejoice ; and it doth believe that this hath been wrought by God Himself there present, but this is not certain.
Presently the soul doth perceive that God is inwardly within itself, because albeit it cannot behold Him within it doth nevertheless perceive that His grace is present with it, wherein it doth greatly delight. Yet is not even this certain.
Presently it doth further perceive that God cometh unto it with most sweet words, wherein it delighteth yet more, and with much rejoicing doth it feel God within it ; yet do some doubts still remain, albeit but few. For the soul possesseth as yet no perfect certainty, neither is it assured that God is truly within it, because such converse and such feelings can be produced likewise by other spirits.
Wherefore is it still in doubt. And it seemeth unto me that this cometh either of its own malice and sinfulness, or else truly by the will of God, who desireth not that the soul should feel certain and secure. But when the soul doth feel the presence of God more deeply than is customary, then doth it certify unto itself that He is within it.
It doth feel it, I say, with an understanding so marvellous and so profound, and with such great love and divine fire, that it loseth all love for itself and for the body, and it speaketh and knoweth and understandeth those things of the which it hath never heard from any mortal whatsoever. And it understandeth with great illumination, and with much difficulty doth it hold its peace ; and if it doth hold its peace, it holdeth it out of the abundance of its zeal, that it may not be displeasing unto God its Lover nor cause offence, and likewise by reason of its humility ; for it desireth not to speak of things so exceeding high that it may not draw attention unto itself.
Thus hath it happened divers times unto me, that, out of my burning desire to work the salvation of my neighbour, I did speak things for the which I was reproved, and it was said unto me, " Sister, turn thee again unto the Holy Scriptures, for they say not thus, and therefore do we not understand thee."
But with that feeling whereby it is certified unto the soul that God dwelleth within it, there is given unto it a disposition so perfect that it doth most entirely and verily agree with the soul in all things, and in every way do all the members of the body agree with the soul and do truly form one cause together with it ; neither do they rebel against the will of the soul, but do perfectly desire those things which are of God, but which, nevertheless, they had not heretofore in any way desired. And this disposition is granted unto the soul through grace whereby it doth perceive that the Divine Being hath entered into it, and hath granted it the assurance and the desire of God and of those things which are of God, after the manner of the true love wherewith God hath loved us. Thus doth the soul feel that God is mingled with it and hath made companionship with it.


Further, when God cometh unto the soul, it is some times given unto it to behold Him, and it beholdeth Him devoid of any bodily shape or form, and more clearly than doth one man behold another. For the eyes of the soul do behold a spiritual and not a bodily presence, of the which I am not able to speak because words and imagination do fail me. And in very truth the soul doth rejoice in that sight with an ineffable joy and regardeth naught else, because this it is which doth fill it with most inestimable satisfaction.
This searching and beholding (whereby God is seen in such a manner that the soul can behold naught else) is so profound that much doth it grieve me that I cannot make manifest aught whatsoever of it, seeing that it is not a thing the which can be touched or imagined or judged of. Moreover, the soul doth know in many other ways that God hath without doubt entered into it, of the which ways I will now speak of two.
One is an holy unction which doth so instantly revive the soul, make meek all the members of the body, and cause them to agree together with the soul, that they cannot be touched or offended by anything whatsoever the which could even in the smallest degree agitate the soul. Therefore doth it feel and hear that God speaketh within it, and by means of this great and in all ways unspeakable unction the soul doth understand with the utmost certainty that God is within it, because no saint nor any angel in Paradise would have power to grant this. But seeing how that it is a thing the which cannot be expressed, it grieveth me that I can find no words wherewith to describe it in comparison of that which it truly is.
Wherefore I pray God that He will pardon me, for this is not of mine own will, and if I were able and if it were pleasing unto God, I would make manifest somewhat of His goodness. The other way whereby the soul knoweth that God is within it is by an embrace which He doth give unto the soul. There is neither father, nor mother, nor son, nor any other person whatsoever who can embrace the object beloved with so great a love as that wherewith God embraceth the soul. For He doth embrace it with such love and draw it unto Himself with such sweetness and gentleness that methinketh there is not a man in the world who can declare it, nor express it, nor believe it unless he hath himself experienced it ; and although he might perchance divine somewhat of this love, yet could he not possibly know it as it truly is. Of a surety, God doth implant most sweet love in the soul, the which doth make it burn for Christ alone. And it beareth with it so great a light (whereby it understandeth the fulness of the goodness of God which it experienceth within itself) that it hath understanding of much more than it feeleth within itself.
Then hath it the assurance and certitude that Christ dwelleth within it ; but all that we can say is as nothing in comparison with that which it really is. Then the soul hath no more tears, whether of joy or of sorrow or of any other kind, seeing that when the soul hath tears it is in a lower state. For God poureth into the soul an exceeding great sweetness, in a measure so abundant that it can ask nothing more yea, verily, it would be in Paradise if this should endure, its joy being so great that it filleth the whole body ; and all injury which the soul suffereth, whether by deeds or words, is esteemed as naught and is turned into sweetness.


This is a common misconception. He said he would need to touch Christ’s wounds, and Jesus told him to touch the wounds, but nowhere does the Bible says that Thomas did. John 20:27 -29:

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

In these types of situations, it is important to distinguish Catholic doctrine from a practice.

Protestants believe their sole authority is scripture and that the Spirit leads them in interpreting scripture correctly. This doctrine negates the need for the Church or a magisterium (e.g. the Church as instituted by Christ). So, the ‘practice’ of listening to the Spirit becomes a foundational aspect of doctrine. This quickly becomes a tangled web.

That said, I have seen various priests and nuns who discuss their ‘practice’ of listening to the Spirit. They often reference the practice of being still and quiet, praying, and listening to the small voice.

I once asked a priest this very question about hearing a voice, and he basically said we hear the Spirit more than we realize. For example, its that small nudge we get to restrain ourselves before we sin.

This same priest actually received a ‘nudge’ to pray for a girl who was being attacked and for three lions to protect her. He didn’t know the meaning, but he did pray for this. Low and behold, he subsequently found an article about three lions in Africa who protected a girl from men who were kidnapping her. Take it or leave it, but interesting nonetheless.

I have been to Catholic prayer groups where the people claim to get knowledge from God while they pray for you. I actually had a prayer group person name someone in my life with an uncommon name. The person who named the name didn’t know me at all. Was that God or the enemy? I am not certain, but something happened there. I am just saying we should be careful with the notion of obtaining knowledge from God versus listening to the Spirit.

All that being said, there is an old Protestant saying that the Spirit is not schizophrenic. All the denominations with different doctrines cannot all be led by the Spirit and begs the question about the Protestant Reformation. Personally, I do not believe the founders of the reformation exhibited fruits of the Spirit.

The Church teaches that the Spirit draws all human beings to Christ. He works through Protestant ecclesial communities to draw all believers into unity. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

It seems a little cheeky to expect God to use your criteria. He will speak to you in the manner that is best for you.

It seems that you have misunderstood not getting what you wanted as being the same as “no direct response to my prayer”. Had you not considered that “no” is a legitimate response?

It should always scare us to be in a presumptous state of mind toward God. God is not going to give furhter private revelation to those who are rejecting his public revelation. If you do not believe what He has already told you, why would he tell you more?

God speaks to Protestants. He give them revelations about their lives.

Sometimes they are. Catholics are prone to this too, especially when not forming conscience according to what God has revealed to the Church.

People do get dreams and visions from God. We do hear His voice when we seek Him. But he may speak to us through a couple of unrelated priests and nuns rather than an "audible voice’. :wink:

We should be in a state of awe about God.

You can “know” by accepting what God has revealed already. It sounds like you don’t believe that God’s word is found in the Scripture, or that you don’t know what Scripture teaches about baptism.

Being a protestant does not cause a person to be in mortal sin. You cannot commit a mortal sin when you don’t know what it means.

You have a triune baptism, which is legitimate. It may benefit you to understand what happens to the human soul in baptism.

I could create pages answering your list of questions, but suffice to say that it is not effective for an individual to expect God to give them private revelations according to their own formula when they have rejected what God has already revealed.

The HS does not contradict Himself. He does not reveal things to individuals that are contrary to what He has already revealed.

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