Pentecost Sunday-May 23, 2021

PENTECOST: LET THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH BE TOLD!

I. CHARISMATIC “BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”?

There IS NO SUCH THING. In fact technically there is NO SUCH THING as a “CHARISMATIC CHURCH” according to the Ven. Fulton Sheen. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) does not mention the phrase “Charismatic Church” rather it describes the church as missionary endowed with hierarchic and charismatic gifts.

“There just isn’t any such thing as a charismatic Church. There isn’t any such thing…as a baptism of the spirit distinct from (sacramental) baptism. That is why Saint Paul in his epistle to the Corinthian Church…said: ‘Sure you are Baptized! You are in Christ!’”Venerable Fulton Sheen

CCC 1275 Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.

CCC 767 …the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.

CCC 768 So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit “bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her.” “Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she ison earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom.”

CCC 1308baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need “ratification” to become effective.

So, there is no such thing as Baptism of / in  the Spirit in which the charisms are “stirred” or “poured” as empowerment once a person has received the Sacrament of Baptism even  as an infant.

CCC 1316 Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.

CCC 1317 Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints a spiritual mark or indelible character on the Christian’s soul; for this reason one can receive this sacrament only once in one’s life.

II. TRANCES VS ECSTASY?

Trance is a mental state in which a person’s consciousness is fragile and voluntary action is poor or missing. It resembles deep sleep. Fr. Auguste Poulain, SJ, in Graces of Interior Prayer, states that after a trance, the person’s mind usually becomes “dull, lifeless, and depressed. His will is extremely weak. In this abnormal weakness is to be sought the reason why the subject can no longer resist suggestion. After trance the person may or may not remember what he/ she has seen.” The trance states may be artificially produced by drugs, hypnosis or some repetitive motions as in dancing and twirling motions, as experienced in voodoo rituals.  It is possible too that trance state be induced by external or internal repetitive sounds as in the utterance of  a mantra or any form of repetitive vocal sounds, no matter how gibberish,  as often evidenced by the phenomenon of “speaking in tongues.”

Ecstasy, generally refers to the state of being beside oneself through some overpowering experience. In mystical theology, it includes two elements, one interior and the other exterior. The invisible element consists in the mind being riveted on a religious subject. The corporeal aspect means that the activity of the senses is suspended, so that not only are external sensations unable to influence the soul, but these sensations become very difficult to awaken. This is a charism from God given to those who have soared the heights of prayer life, particularly in the stage of infused contemplation and mystical union.

Experience. We have encountered some afflicted individuals who enter into full or semi states of trance during pray over sessions especially during charismatic “baptism in the spirit”. Similar to demonic possession cases, during these trance states, the afflicted would react in various degrees of disturbing motions as reactions to certain portions of the prayers, after which  the afflicted have no recollections of the episodes. The trance state is the usual milieu of demonic possessions. Ergo, let us not invite, prompt nor willingly entertain trances.

III. SPEAKING IN TONGUES?

Glossolalia is a phenomenon in which a person utters uncontrolled and usually unintelligible sounds during a state of intense religious experience. The sounds are believed to be divinely inspired. Glossolalia had often been referred to as “speaking in tongues” amongst Protestant and some Catholic charismatic circles. Most of these circles subscribe to the belief that glossolalia was the first Pentecost experience of the apostles.

Xenoglossy is the phenomenon in which a person is able to speak a language that he or she could not have acquired by natural means. Xenoglossy is therefore not gibberish language but refers to an actual existing language used by human beings. This term is almost never used within the charismatic circles when referring to their tongues experience despite the fact that xenoglossy was indeed referred to in Acts 2:1-13, particularly, Acts 2:8, “Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language?”

Speak the Language of Love.   In January 2011, the journal Psychological Science published an article: Scientists Find True Language of Love. It said that couples who stick together really have found the language of love – and it’s the little everyday words that make the difference. The study shows that people who speak in a similar style are more compatible.

What makes you compatible with the Lord? His Mercy. Nothing from our end will make us compatible with God’s divinity. But we can respond responsibly to His Gift of Mercy: by speaking and living His Language of Love.

God does not want us to speak in tongues in front of Him unintelligibly when we cannot even speak intelligibly His language of love and mercy before others.

REMEMBER, the first sign of authentic diabolical possession is the ability to speak in a foreign language one has not known. Do not be deceived. Do not ask for extraordinary graces (Cf LG,12). Pride is a demonic opening indeed!

IV. SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT?

The phenomenon of being slain in the spirit is associated with the activity of Baptism of the Spirit. Although the manuals of the Catholic charismatics do not mention being slain in the spirit, it appears as if it is a concomitant phenomenon to the “release of the Spirit’s power.” The phenomenon happens immediately after some “anointed” or “gifted” speaker or prayer leader touches the participants on the forehead in the form of a praying over. But sometimes, the simple motion of the speaker’s hand or arm can “cause” being “slain.”

Experience. Narrative accounts are consistent in describing the “slain” person as suddenly incapacitated for a period of time.  Many people claim to experience an energy or a force that causes them to fall back. However, we find no biblical basis for this concept.  Yes, there may be some energy or force involved, but if so, it is very likely not of God and not the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. Why do I say this?

PENTECOST TRUTH:  TWO REASONS WHY THE HOLY SPIRIT CANNOT PUT YOU IN UNCONTROLLABLE TRANCE, CONTROL YOUR TONGUE AND YOUR BODY THEN “SLAY” YOU UNCONSCIOUS EVEN MOMENTARILY

1.  DIVINE SPIRITS DO NOT POSSESS INDIVIDUALS. THEY HAVE THE DEEPEST RESPECT AND HIGHEST REGARD FOR MAN’S FREEDOM, INTELLECT AND WILL. THEREFORE, DIVINE SPIRITS DO NOT CAUSE TRANCES, UNCONTROLLABLE BODILY ACTS LIKE UNRULY GIBBERISH SPEECH, NOR “BEING SLAIN” & LOSING CONSCIOUSNESS.

2. IN CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS DIVINE POSSESSIONS; ONLY DEMONIC POSSESSIONS.

Remember, even if there be authentic conversions, real  miraculous healings and other paramystical  phenomena that astound or mystify us, like reception of visions and apparitions, showers or materialization of roses and images on petals, rosaries turning into gold,  the sun dancing, etc., let us keep ourselves level-headed and guarded especially when the following are the contexts: charismatic “baptism in the spirit” (other than sacramental), the trance states, speaking in gibberish or foreign  tongues and “slain in the spirit” phenomena.  Be careful! The end does not justify the means!♥