Slain in the Spirit.

I had breakfast this morning with a fellow I know who used to go to a Charismatic prayer group I belong to. We shared a lot of stories and at one point he asked me if I’d ever been slain in the Spirit.

I explained to him that I had been involved in the Pentecostal Church before returning to the Catholic Church and that I had experienced being “slain in the spirit” but that I understood it now as merely an emotional experience.

He seemed bent on convincing me that I should be open to being Slain in the Spirit and said I needed to let go and be open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do in my life. When I suggested that perhaps I am open to the Holy Spirit and perhaps the Holy Spirit doesn’t want me to be slain in the Spirit, he said I was trying to be in control.

I asked him what he would rather have, being slain in the spirit or the Eucharist. He said both.

He could not produce any evidence of being slain in the Spirit from Sacred Scripture or from Sacred Tradition, but insisted that I was not being open to the Holy Spirit.

There was nothing in the conversation about my growth in Holiness. At one point he said “I know you are devout, but…”

I told him that it sounded like he was assuming that something was lacking in my committment to God because I was not open to being slain in the Spirit. And he acknowledged that was exactly what he meant.

I have tried but cannot find any justification in Scripture, Tradition or any official teaching of the Catholic Church for this notion of being slain in the spirit.

If you have any information about this phenomenon, please let me know.


Thank you for the link, however I am looking for strictly Catholic teaching.

Here is what Dave Root says about baptism:

“After prayerfully studying everything the New Testament says about baptism and salvation, my personal conclusion is that water baptism is not a requirement for receiving salvation and eternal life. Baptism is commanded in Scripture, which means that it is an important act of obedience, but it is not a requirement for salvation.”

In which case, that site should not be trusted (like most random sites out there).

I find this being slain in the spirit a little nonsensical. Even if it is psychological or emotional or whatever, it seems a little odd to me. I’m not the least bit interested in being slain in the spirit.

Receiving the Holy Spirit in a way that has immediate physical impacts such as falling to the floor is a reality. This is a gift and some people are, indeed, blessed with this kind of experience.

This is what scripture has to say about the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1 Cor 12:4-
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

The last sentence is crucial. Not everyone experiences gifts from the Holy Spirit in the same way. It simply isn’t necessary for everyone to experience what your friend has experienced. These things are not necessary for salvation and no one should attempt to make you feel like less of a Christian if you have not had the same experiences they have had.

Openess to the Holy Spirit is important. The end we should have in mind is not the gift but the Giver. The Holy Spirit will determine what to give us and when to give it.

The term slain in the spirit is not in scripture but it may be a way of describing a spiritual experience that is truly from God. If you have a growing and vibrant relationship with God you are blessed. You can tell your friend what the Lord has done for you and how you experience God’s love. Let your personal experience be your testimony and simply remember that God gives you what you need in the way He knows you need it. You need not feel intimidated by the attitude of another. We are to love one another and we are to be forever grateful to God in all things.

What concerns me most about the “gift” of being “slain in the Spirit” is that the message of salvation is about life, not death.

1 Cor 15:22
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Peter 2:24
and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

Just do a search in the NT on the word die. Even then you will repeatedly see promises of life.

The Spirit does not want to slay us. He is there to lead us to salvation and life, not death.

Fr. Montague and other writers who have been involved in the Catholic charismatic movement warn repeatedly against adopting the errors inherent in fundamentalist Pentecostalism, especially that of insisting that visible manifestations such as being slain in the spirit or speaking in tongues, ecstasies and emotional events are necessary signs of Baptism in the Spirit, and the related error of denying the necessity, preached by Christ himself, of water baptism for salvation. they also warn against the error of denying the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation as the completion of Baptism in Christian Initiation.

In Corinthians, St. Paul teaches that these charismatic gifts were given to the Corinthians because they were weak in faith and turning away from God. Thus, these miraculous happenings were intended to turn the hearts of the Corinthians back to God. They were not necessary for salvation, and they were not given given because the Corithinans had found favor with God. But on the contrary, they were given because the Corinthians were turning away from God, with the intention that these miraculous signs would strengthen their faith. But, St Paul seems to complain that instead the signs made them proud and made them think they had found favor with God and that they were special. There is a footnote in the New American Bible, which explains St. Paul’s comparison of the Syrians who “spoke in strange tongues” and who were sent to chastise the Jews for the lack of faith, and with the Corinthians who spoke in tongues, which were signs God gave to them to shore up their weak faith.

In other words, both the Jews of ancient times and the Corinthians were falling away from God, and in both cases God was doing a last ditch effort to try to bring them back to faith in Him.

But being “slain in the Spirit” is not listed as a gift.

If you love Jesus, then love His Word also - read more about Bible and do what He asked you to do. If you love Jesus, then love His Mother also - pray with the Rosary. Following these two alone are the greatest gifts you would ever had.

The gifts that I have asked are the love for reading Bible and praying. Although, I have received just a bit of these two gifts, my life has been changed ever since.

God bless you!

Here are some scriptures that may be of interest.

2 Chron 5:14

13: and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,
14: **so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. **

John 18:6

6: When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Rev 1:17

17: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last,

Ez 43:2-3
2: And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east; and the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with his glory.
3: And the vision I saw was like the vision which I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like the vision which I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

I never really believed in all this “stuff” until it happened to me. It was a very calm setting, no noisy prayers, no hysteria and lots of skepticism on my behalf. I didn’t doubt that the Holy Spirit could make me “faint”… He can do anything… but I doubted such a thing would ever happen to me. Anyway, some lay women in my bible study raised their hands to pray with me with the intention of asking to Holy Spirit to come upon me (they called it resting in the Holy Spirit). No one touched me. However, about 5 seconds after they started praying I fell to the floor. All I can say is I felt over powered with the Lord’s presence. Sort of dizzy but different. I have never felt anything like it before or since. I know there are doubters out there and you are all entitled to it… but as for me I no longer doubt that it is real. Seeing is believing, or I suppose in this case, feeling is believing.

I’m not sure resting in the Spirit is supposed to be considered a gift but rather an effect of the Holy Spirit. At least that has been my understanding of it…

Hello Warrior Prayer,

I believe what you said as it happened to me, but I did not mention it in my previous reply. This is because I am more carefull about Slain in Spirit. It is not that I deny it, but even it says in the Bible that we have to test the spirit for evil could be very deceiving. I’ve also realized that my life has changed since the day I receieved the gift of praying in tongue. Oh wow, it was coming to me so unpredictable for me not reading anything about “Slain in Spirit” prior to the seminar I was attending. Right now, I am more into studying Bible and pray a lot - not praying in tongue though. I am still finding more about it - by learning behavior, the way of thinking about God and others of other people who have received the gifts. When I say I do not pray in tongue anymore, people think that the evil is in me or at least it won, but to me, I would say I am careful about it because I do not want to do anything to unintentionally hurt God.

God bless you.

You are right to be cautious. I too did not know much about when I went through the experience. I had never thought that it might be another spirit causing this experience to happen as so many people warn about. However, I think that it was not and here is why: since that experience, my love for God has grown exponentially. I pray all the time, I read scripture daily, usally read another Christian writing , I attend daily Mass as much as possible, etc. I also do not watch much TV, which is kind of a nice side benefit. I just don’t think that if it was an evil spirit that this kind of “fruit” would be yielded. Anyway, that has been my experience, but I agree we need to be careful and “test the Spirit”.

I’ve recieved the same things that you have and I can be very sure that Holy Spirit has helped us. Like you said, we have to be careful though. We are normally tempted by satan; we can still be tempted or deceived when we think we are not.

As long as what you do according to the Bible and Catholic teaches, we will be ok - but then, it is not always easy to recognize what we do is right …right away.

If you have other experiences regarding Holy Spirit, it would be wonderful if you could share with us.

This has only happened to me once. It was a wonderful experience. I know it was genuine because prior to the experience, I was certain it was the result of hysteria. I never thought it would happen to me. The funny thing is that after that experience, I would love to have it again, but it never has even though I’ve been prayed over several times since.

I think God was just giving me a glimpse that these physical manifestations of His love are genuine. It definitely opened my eyes.

That’s right and from then we should ask to have faith and trust in Him.

Thanks for sharing, leonie.

Your scripture references are right on target. What I would also say is that when one is overshadowed by the Holy Ghost the reason they fall down is because as I have heard it explained by people in the healing ministry: “all body energy fades away.” That’s why you go down. When people resist this, “they are stepping out of the anointing.” That is not to their advantage. This anointing is beneficial to the person. Therefore a little surrender is required. Kind of like let go and let God. For one to resist seems to be a symptom of that person’s inability to let go. But, no reason to get into a big fuss about this gift. It’s just that, a gift.

Glad you cited the scripture regarding the priests and the cloud in the temple. I believe they had to be pulled out by a rope tied to their ankle with bells.

Interesting. All very interesting. Stay open to his grace.

Then you won’t be. The Holy Spirit is a gentlemen.

forgive me for saying this but did you see all that was seen by those people at the Temple? i say this because the image of what they saw caused them to be in awe.
you describe that some women raised her hands and you fell down, how is this related to the above Scriptures?


I can’t personally speak for Prayer_Warrior, but I know what he/she is talking about. It’s hard to describe what just happened, yet I’ve seen it again and again. With Roman Catholic priests presiding. But just lay people can be present. The raising of the hands or arms is a form of praising God. Often, at prayer meetings or healing services the raising of hands in prayer is the expression of giving glory to God. The scriptures say that God “inhabits the praises of His people.” Where there is a lot of intense praise, the Glory of God can fall upon the people. But of course that is totally up to God. The Holy Spirit goes where He wills.

If a priest had to be pulled out of the temple by a rope tied to his ankle, I might be in awe too. Only the priest was authorized to go in. I’m going by sheer memory here, as I do not have a bible with me. But I should think that was some sight.

When it happens today one is in awe as well. It’s kind of like quiet respect for what’s happening. And I might be next, so there’s no time for gawking or being curious about someone else. One must remain respectful in this atmosphere.

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