Russia TLIG Magazine

T L I G M A G A Z I N E I S S U E - 3 9 33 WE ARE NOT GOD One of the most important spiritual lessons is to “Let God BE God”. Over the years of my priesthood (42 so far) I have learned to “get out of God’s way”, which means that I must be careful how I think about what God may be doing and look and think more carefully about what God is doing. One of the temptations of religious people is to fall into the error of “knowing”. This has different meanings and it is often associated with false prophecy. When it comes to religious or spiritual opinions we are often “sitting ducks” for the demons who laugh at us. Our vanity, often cloaked in a false humility, is fed by the demons that encourage us to be almost “all-knowing” so that we assume an authority which is actually bogus and sometimes dan- gerous. In charismatic circles we saw this in the early days when some people thought they had healing powers and caused havoc in prayer groups and meet- ings, and others thought they had the gift of prophecy or of receiving “words” from the Holy Spirit so that we had individuals saying to others, “I think God is telling you to do this (whatever it may be)”. I must admit I have always been suspicious of those who say things like, “God has put this on my heart” (what- ever “this” is). I believe that The Holy Spirit does give words, images and dreams to people. I have had some myself, especially images (in the spirit). They come when there is a need, not when I want them or are necessarily seeking them. In this I am not unique, but mistakes can be made, and we need to discern careful- ly or at least to say something like, “I have a picture in my mind. It may mean something; it may not.” This leaves the matter open for the other person to discern. When I found out that the recent TLIG Pilgrimage was to have an inter-faith emphasis I was puzzled. My initial thought was not “Why?” but “What is God doing now?” This is because I believe in both the authenticity of the messages and because I trust Vassula’s judgement (which has been shown to be correct so many times in the past). From the messages, I see that God is clear and faithful in His calling of Vassula. She has been given a special gift of discernment, which often works quickly and in a sometimes alarming and challenging way. The Spirit is clear, not confusing. Our confusion comes from certain things; pride, ignorance and the demons.All of this made easier by hidden sins (which have either not been recognised or confessed). In religion, pride is so easily cloaked by “spirituality”, but this is a spirituality based on emotion and the claim to “knowledge” (a great danger, this). We are often unhappy with that little voice at the back of our brains which says, “Wait, watch, be silent”. We would rather speak, proclaim and then fall in love with our own words. Others will follow us because they seek certainty of a kind and are not prepared to say, “I don’t know and probably neither do you.” “FOLLOW ME” In my limited confusion about the inter-faith empha- sis, I quickly realized that God was acting without our permission. Strange to say this, perhaps, but it is a necessary thought. The next thought was, “Christ is reaching out to everyone”. Following this is the thought, “He knows what He is doing…I do not al- ways know what He is doing”. When Christ called His first disciples He did not say, “Now men and boys, we are going to spend three years wandering about and I shall be preaching and healing, and we will be out in the open, in caves, getting wet, tired, hungry and though we will have great support and be wel- comed by many the time well come when….” No, His clear voice, as given in the Gospels is, “Follow me”. Today, as I write, is the Feast of St. Matthew (so beloved of Pope Francis). Matthew or Levi is shown in that wonderful painting of Caravaggio as pointing to himself and seemingly asking, “Do you mean me?” Above him is the hand of Christ, deliberately copied from Michelangelo’s depiction of the creation of man, making the point that here we have a new creation. Following this we have the scene of Jesus “eating and drinking with sinners”. Love and mercy (more accu- rately, “merciful love”) had come to Matthew and his friends.This should always be the first step in evange- lisation and we should be Christ’s instruments. In this we need to remember other stories from the Gospels such as the believing Centurion who says, “Say only the word…”or the Syro-Phoenician woman who says, “Even the house-dogs can eat the scraps…” Remem- ber Our Lord’s phrase, used of a Gentile, “Nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this.” I am also reminded of Our Lady’s words to the visionaries of Medjugorje that the holiest woman in the village at that time was a Muslim woman. Comments on the TLIG Pilgrimage from Fr. John Abberton