Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’
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Letter to the Editor: Christian & Missionary Alliance (Canada) Promoting Interspiritual, Panentheist Monk, Basil Pennington
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I thought this link would interest you. The Western Canadian District of the C&MA in Canada is promoting (yet with a disclaimer!) a number of books that teach the practices of contemplative prayer. I was surprised to see it promoted so blatantly on their website. http://www.transformcma.ca/resources-2/
There is also something called a “Holy Spirit Encounter” that they are starting to implement in their churches. I don’t quite understand what the point of these events are because the Holy Spirit lives within us [believers] all the time.
Just thought I would share these findings with you!
Our Comments: While Lighthouse Trails has been reporting on C & MA promotion of contemplative for a number of years, we believe it is worth posting this letter to the editor because of one particular name listed on the website linked to above: Basil Pennington (1931-2005). While the C & MA site gives a disclaimer, which states, “The following list of resources contain a variety of perspectives that cannot be fully endorsed by the WCD in every manner. We do believe, however, that the discerning reader can benefit greatly from these writings,” there is no way that a “discerning reader” could ever “benefit greatly” from the writings of Basil Pennington. The fact that he is included on the already highly problematic list they provide with contemplatives such as Brad Jersak, John of the Cross, Bill Johnson, Henri Nouwen, and so forth proves that the Western Canadian District of C & MA Canada has dropped into a deep level of apostasy from the leadership level.
Basil Pennington is a Catholic contemplative monk who teaches that God is in every person. As L. Putnam points out in one of her articles, Pennington believes in the “God’s Dream” concept (which is God in everyone). He states:
We do not know how precious we are in ourselves. As Dame Julian of Norwich, that delightful English mystic declared, we are God’s dream, his homiest home. We have too little respect for ourselves, too little esteem for our own importance. God sees things otherwise. (from Living in the Question: Meditations in the Style of Lectio Divina)
Interestingly, that sounds a lot like IF: Gathering leader Melissa Greene as we pointed out in a recent article. This idea of “God’s Dream” is actually taught by numerous contemplatives including Rick Warren and Robert Schuller (as Warren B. Smith discusses in Deceived on Purpose). If you hear that term being used by a pastor or teacher you know, it’s time to start asking some serious questions.
Basil Pennington (along with Thomas Merton and William Messinger) is ultimately responsible for bringing contemplative spirituality into mainstream Catholicism and eventually evangelical Christianity. These quotes are just two of many by Basil Pennington that help show his mystical propensities:
It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced.—Basil Pennington (Centered Living, p. 192)
[I]n centering prayer we go beyond thought and image, beyond the senses and the rational mind, to that center of our being where God is working a wonderful work, just sitting there, doing nothing. Not even thinking some worthwhile thoughts or making some good resolutions-just being (source)
In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, he explains:
In the book Finding Grace at the Center, written by [Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating], the following advice is given: ‘We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible … Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices …” [pp. 5-6]. Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington have taken their Christianity and blended it with Eastern mysticism through a contemplative method they call centering prayer … Keating and Pennington have both authored a number of influential books on contemplative prayer thus advancing this movement greatly. Pennington essentially wrote a treatise on the subject called Centering Prayer while Keating has written the popular and influential classic, Open Mind, Open Heart.
If you are part of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, this is the direction that your leadership is heading, or frankly, has already gone.
Rick Warren: Protestants, Catholics Must Unite to Defend Life, Sex, Marriage – ‘We’re on the Same Team’
LTRP Note: This article is posted for research and informational purposes and not as an endorsement for the content.
By Michael Chapman
By CNS News
Evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who leads the eighth largest church in America, Saddleback Church, and is the author of the hugely popular book The Purpose Driven Life, said that Protestants and Catholics must form a “unity of missions” to defend the sanctity of life, sex, and the family, stressing that, “If you love Jesus, we’re on the same team.”
“We have far more in common than what divides us,” said Pastor Warren in an interview with Catholic News Service. “When you talk about Pentecostals, charismatics, evangelicals, fundamentalists, Catholics, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, on and on, they would all say we believe in the Trinity.”
“We believe in the Bible,” he continued. “We believe in the resurrection; we believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. These are the big issues.”
Warren, along with leaders of other faiths and denominations, attended a conference at the Vatican in November – the “Complementarity of Man and Woman” — to discuss and defend the family and marriage as being between one man and one woman, and related topics. He made his comments in the video in December. Click here to continue reading.
* Please refer to the “Road to Rome” Booklet Tracts for information related to this issue. These booklets can also be read on our blog by just typing in the title into the blog search engine.
LTRP Note: In view of the many occurrences where evangelical leaders are publicly giving a pass to Roman Catholicism, in particular the recent concert with over 30 major Christian musicians who shared the platform with Roman Catholic movie actress and producer Roma Downey—who admits to praying to Mary (see article), this new Booklet by Roger Oakland is essential in understanding the role that the Mary of the Catholic Church plays in end-time deception.
The Catholic Mary & Her Eucharistic Christ” by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Catholic Mary & Her Eucharistic Christ, click here
As we read through both the Old and New Testament, one thing becomes very apparent—Christianity is all about Jesus Christ and in believing in Him alone for salvation. The Scriptures testify of the true Jesus, who made this clear:
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5: 39-40)
The entire Bible leads us to, testifies of, and focuses on, the one and only Savior of the world.
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. (John 1:45)
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
Adding to God’s Word or perverting His Word has devastating results. To do so, or follow those who do, is very dangerous. In the very last chapter of the Bible, we read this somber warning:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life. (Revelation 22: 18-19)
According to the Bible, if you follow a false christ based on unscriptural sources, you will end up separated from the true Christ and spend eternity in hell.
The Catholic Mary Points to the Eucharistic Christ
An article in Zenit (the primary Catholic news sources) on April 17, 2003 reported that Pope John Paul II had called for Catholics to refocus on the Eucharist and Eucharistic adoration from an encyclical that he had written called “Ecclesia de Eucharistia.” On the very same day, Zenit sent out another news item that was equally important. The title for this article was “Mary Has a Place in Latest Encyclical: Pope Describes Her as a ‘Woman of the Eucharist.’”1
The article began the following way:
The last chapter of John Paul II’s encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” is dedicated to the Virgin Mary—a surprise in a document dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament.2
Then this interesting statement from the pope’s 14th encyclical: “If the Church and the Eucharist* are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist.”3 Laying a foundation for the Catholic Church that is not found anywhere in Scripture, Zenit quoted the pope:
The relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Eucharist is explained by referring to the “Eucharistic faith” that Mary already practiced “even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the very fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word.”4
The article concluded with another weighty statement made by the pope:
Mary is present with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. . . . Mary Most Holy, in whom the Eucharistic mystery shows itself more than in anyone else, as mystery of light.5
Think about the implications of this statement! According to the Catholic Church, when the ordained priest consecrates the wafer during Mass, not only does “Jesus” appear, but the mother of “Jesus” also shows up. Of course, this contradicts the Bible’s affirmation that only God is omnipresent.
It can be documented that a woman claiming to be the mother of Jesus has been appearing in numerous places all over the world for some time.6 Those who follow the apparitions are very aware of the Mary-Eucharist connection that cannot be ignored.
Peace through Eucharistic Devotion
Throughout the world, the apparition of Mary is emphasizing the importance of the Eucharist. With the increasing number of Marian apparitions, there has been a corresponding increase in Eucharistic adoration.7 This is no surprise to the millions who are devoted to the “Blessed Mother.” Those who follow her messages are aware of an interesting prediction made by Catholic Saint John Bosco in 1862:
[T]here will be chaos in the Church. Tranquility will not return until the Pope succeeds in anchoring the boat of Peter between the twin pillars of Eucharistic devotion and devotion to Our Lady.8
Many believe this prophecy is near fulfillment. For instance, in more recent years, the apparition has encouraged the formation of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration groups. These groups number in the thousands around the world.9 Their sole purpose is to worship, adore, and pray to the Jesus of the Eucharist around the clock, perpetually.
Eucharistic and Marian Era
Of course, Marian apparitions have always stressed the great importance of the Eucharist. In particular, the “Queen of Heaven” has repeatedly stated that the Eucharist, once consecrated by a priest, becomes the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus, and is therefore worthy of worship and adoration. For example, “Mary” focused much attention on her Son’s true presence in the Eucharist in the now famous apparitions to Catherine Laboure at Rue du Bac, Paris in 1830.
Marian theologians consistently agree that the revelations in Paris in 1830 to Catherine Laboure, officially began an era of Mary. That this apparition had a Eucharistic theme is consistent with the increasing number of apparitions that have appeared in the nineteenth, twentieth, and now, twenty-first centuries. In fact, nearly every popular apparition today stresses the importance of the Eucharist. “Mary” emphatically encourages all believers to receive the Blessed Sacrament as often as possible in order to receive the needed graces for salvation. She also stresses the important role that the Eucharistic Jesus will have in the last days.
In conjunction with these messages, many Eucharistic “miracles” have been reported. These miracles include bleeding and pulsating Communion Hosts (wafers), Hosts that do not decompose, Hosts that speak, and Hosts that transform into the image of a man—presumably Jesus. Tests at several apparition sites confirm that the blood emanating from miraculous Hosts is authentic. These miracles are presented as proof by the apparition that Christ is truly present under the appearance of the consecrated Communion wafer.
Our Lady of Fatima Emphasizes the Eucharist
Those who espouse the Marian apparitions are united in their belief that the apparitions have, over the centuries, increasingly pointed to the central importance of the Eucharist. For instance, Thomas W. Petrisko dedicates his book Mother of the Secret to exploring this interesting link between key Marian apparitions and Eucharistic prominence. Below is his summary of the Fatima apparitions:
The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 to three shepherd children are most remembered for the incredible signs and secrets given there. Yet it must be said that Heaven truly marked the events with a significant thrust to focus the attention of the faithful on the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. . . . In 1916, one year before the Virgin Mary’s first apparition . . . the children received an apparition of an angel holding a chalice in his left hand. A Host was suspended above the chalice and some drops of blood from the Host fell into the chalice. Leaving the chalice suspended in the air, the angel knelt down beside the children and told them to repeat three times the following prayer: “O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit . . . I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for [sins].”10
The Eucharist Holds Center Stage in Medjugorje
There is undeniably a strong devotion to the Eucharist at the Fatima apparition site. However, the Queen of Heaven’s Eucharistic emphasis at Medjugorje is arguably greater. Our Lady of Medjugorje has time after time told visionaries to worship and adore Jesus in the Eucharist and to frequently partake in Holy Communion. Medjugorje visionary Vicka Ivankovic tells us what the “Blessed Mother” explained to her about Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist:
The Blessed Mother says that during each Mass, Jesus comes in person, in tangible form. We can take Jesus, in physical form, into our body . . . This is our way to accept Jesus into our heart. Jesus comes alive to us through the Eucharist.11
Those who have visited Medjugorje or examined Our Lady’s messages are convinced that the apparition teaches that the Eucharist is the source and summit of Catholic life. For instance, the late Father Joseph A. Pelletier., a noted theologian, wrote in his book, The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje, that the central theme of the Medjugorje apparitions is primarily Eucharistic:
As more and more information has come forth, it has become increasingly clear that the Eucharist holds center stage in Medjugorje and that from the very start Our Lady spoke to the six seers about the Eucharist and its importance with more frequency than was suspected. This helps to understand why the parish has placed so much emphasis on the Mass and public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.12
Our Lady of Medjugorje Leads to the Eucharist
Father Rene Laurentin in his book, Is the Virgin Mary Appearing at Medjugorje?, would concur with Pelletier about Medjugorje and the Eucharist. Laurentin writes:
Our Lady of Medjugorje leads to Christ. When she was asked which prayer is the best, she answered: “It is the Mass, and you will never be able to exhaust its greatness. That is why you should be there humbly and prepared.” At Medjugorje the Virgin leads to the Eucharist. The Rosary and the apparition flow into the Mass. Mary has sometimes appeared showing Christ, in his childhood (the first apparition and Christmas 1983) or in his passion. In showing us Christ she continues to say, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)13
The following messages from Our Lady of Medjugorje resonate with the Eucharistic vision of the Catholic Church:
[D]ear children, I am grateful to you in a special way for being here. Unceasingly adore the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I am always present when the faithful are adoring. (March 15, 1984)14
Dear Children! Today I invite you to fall in love with the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Adore Him, little children, in your Parishes and in this way you will be united with the entire world. (September 25, 1995)15
Garabandal Emphasizes the Eucharist
Messages given by the apparition of Mary who appeared in Garabandal, Spain echo those given at Medjugorje:
Many sacrifices must be made. Much penance must be done. We must pay many visits to the Blessed Sacrament, but first of all we must be good. If we do not do this, punishment awaits us.16
In his book, Mother of the Secret, Petrisko writes the following regarding the importance of the Eucharist at Garabandal, Spain:
While the alleged supernatural character and prophetic element of the apparitions at Garabandal are noted, its message is interpreted by many experts as being predominantly Eucharistic. This opinion is enhanced by the fact that the visionaries were photographed receiving upon their tongues invisible and then visible communion Hosts from an angel.17
Ted and Maureen Flynn, in their book, The Thunder of Justice, agree that Garabandal has a predominately Eucharistic theme:
Another remarkable event of Garabandal emphasized the importance of the Eucharist. An angel appeared bearing a golden chalice. The angel asked the children to think of the One whom they were going to receive. He taught them to recite the Confiteor, after which he gave them Holy Communion. He also taught them to say the Anima Christi in thanksgiving. These direct interventions occurred regularly whenever the priest from the neighboring village of Cosio was unable to come to Garabandal. 18
Everywhere Mary Emphasizes the Eucharist
Apparitions from the four corners of the globe express this common and central theme: The Eucharist has the power to transform the world; the Eucharist should be worshipped; Eucharistic adoration will bring peace and unity. Messages originating from such diverse places as Amsterdam, Holland; Akita, Japan; Rome, Italy; Naju, Korea; Bayside, New York; and Budapest, Hungary all convey this common idea. What follows are samplings of the numerous messages from apparitions emphasizing the great importance of the Eucharist:
[O]ur Lady has been appearing in private to Marisa Rossi in Rome. In June 1993 she asked . . . that Her messages … about the Eucharist be made public. Our Lady says: “I am THE MOTHER OF THE EUCHARIST” and she wants to spread a renewed and strong devotion, all over the world, for this great Sacrament.19
During Consecration I suddenly saw a light coming from the chalice . . .
When I went to Holy Communion and returned to my place, the Sacred Host began to move on my tongue and I heard the voice of the Lady say, “You have now met the Lord.”20
You must firmly believe that Jesus is truly present in the Host as Man and God! You must believe that you really meet Him, and, more than that, unite with Him in the Eucharist.21
My Son will always be there in the Eucharist. A duly ordained and consecrated hand of a legal representative, your priest, will always be able to bring to you My Son’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist. . . . He comes to you physically and spiritually.22
Do you say well the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist? Then let us pray it together: . . . “Oh Jesus, really present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I offer my body and soul to become one with Your Sacred Heart [w]hich is transubstantiated and sacrificed on altars of the world and giving praise to the Father, pleading for the coming of His Kingdom.23
[I]n these days you will hear of many Eucharistic Phenomena taking place. You will be renewed in your total reverence for my Divine Son in the Blessed Sacrament, and soon the time will come when the Tabernacle is returned to its rightful and proper place in the church.24
I have manifested the images of the Holy Eucharist in various ways so that all my children may understand the importance of the Holy Eucharist. Hurriedly become blazing flames of love, reparation and adoration toward the Lord Who is in the Blessed Sacrament.25
Interestingly enough, in the last example just given, the Mary apparition discloses that she is responsible for making these signs and wonders happen (rather than there being a natural rendering of the host itself). In other words, unusual miracles are performed by this apparition to make it appear that the host is truly the flesh and blood of Jesus.
The Eucharistic Reign of Jesus
The apparition of Mary explains that the culmination of her apparitions will usher in the Eucharistic Reign of Jesus. To Father Gobbi, the head of the Marian Movement of Priests, she proclaims that the Eucharistic Jesus will soon transform humanity!
Today I ask all to throw open the doors to Jesus Christ who is coming. I am the Mother of the Second Advent and the door which is being opened on the new era. This new era will coincide with the greatest triumph of the Eucharistic Reign of Jesus. For this, I invite you, in this extraordinary year, to make flourish everywhere the cult of adoration, of reparation and of love for the Most Holy Eucharist. . . . Let the Eucharist become the center of your prayer, of your life.26
In fact, the coming of the glorious reign of Christ will coincide with the greatest splendor of his Eucharistic reign among you. The Eucharistic Jesus will release all his power of love, which will transform souls, the Church and all humanity.27
The glorious reign of Christ will coincide with the triumph of the Eucharistic reign of Christ. . . . Jesus will be made manifest above all in the mystery of his Eucharistic presence.28
Marian experts agree that the triumph of Mary’s immaculate heart, prophesied at Fatima, will be directly linked to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Father Martin Lucia, writing in the journal, Immaculata, explains that all the Marian apparitions will victoriously culminate in the Eucharistic reign of Jesus:
The message of all the Marian apparitions, both past and present, is that the triumph of the Immaculate** Heart of Mary will culminate in the Eucharistic reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Eucharistic Reign will come through perpetual adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.29
Not surprisingly, Pope John Paul II himself alluded to this consummation of apparitions in his encyclical, Mother of the Redeemer:
The piety of the Christian people has always very rightly sensed a profound link between devotion to the Blessed Virgin and worship of the Eucharist: This is a fact that can be seen in the liturgy of both the West and the East, in the traditions of the religious families, in the modern movements of spirituality, including those for youth, and in the pastoral practice of the Marian shrines. Mary guides the faithful to the Eucharist.30
Of course, the humble Mary of the Bible never once referred to the Eucharist. Nor did she ever instruct Christ’s followers to worship the Eucharist. However, this survey of messages given by the “Mother of the Eucharist” around the world, shows that the apparition that claims to be Mary consistently directs followers to concentrate on Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. And as if to corroborate “Mary’s” messages, at many of these apparition sites, Eucharistic miracles such as bleeding Communion Hosts have occurred.
For example, in Betania, Venezuela, the location of a popular Marian apparition, a bleeding Communion Host was analyzed chemically. The analyzed sample was found to be human blood. Here is a summary of the Betania Eucharistic miracle as recorded in the book, Cenacle Formation Manual and Prayer Book. This book is distributed by the Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy, and chronicles many Eucharistic miracles:
All the miracles listed occurred several hundred years ago. But the miracle that occurred during Mass in Betania, Venezuela took place on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1991. A Consecrated Host, truly the flesh of Our Lord, began to bleed. A subsequent medical team concluded that the material extruded from the Host was blood of human origin. The local bishop declared it a sign of transubstantiation saying, “God is trying to manifest to us that our faith in the consecrated Host is authentic.”
Many other extraordinary events have occurred in Betania, including numerous alleged apparitions of the Blessed Mother witnessed by several thousand people, multiple physical and spiritual healings, and a mystic named Maria Esperanza who has the gifts of stigmata, bilocation, and levitation during prayer. The bishop himself has witnessed the phenomena and wrote in a pastoral letter that after careful study, he has declared the apparitions authentic and of supernatural character.31
Many more examples could be cited. For instance, in Stich, Germany, a bleeding Host that stained the altar cloth was chemically analyzed at the Polyclinical Institute of the University of Zurich. No one at the institute was made aware of the source of the stains. The stains were analyzed by four different methods of chemical identification and in each case the findings were the same—the stains were human blood.32
Apparitions of Jesus Confirm the Eucharistic Christ
If “Mary’s” apparitions don’t convince the skeptic, and if miracles aren’t enough to persuade the cynic, there is an even stronger validation offered to make any questions or examination with Scripture look sinful at best, or more strongly put, blasphemous. Apparitions of “Jesus” himself are appearing. Yes, apparitions of Jesus have also been reported worldwide, albeit at a much lower frequency, and they too give attention to the “true” presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Listen to this one description that took place in Alberta, Canada:
[A]fter Communion, I could see the Host in the monstrance and then it was quickly covered over. Jesus said: “My dear people, today you celebrate My institution of My Blessed Sacrament by My Presence coming into the bread and wine at the Mass. Believe, My faithful, that I am truly present in the consecrated bread and wine. You have witnessed many miracles of My Real Blood coming forth from the Host as evidence to those unbelievers. I tell you, at every Mass you witness My miracle in the Transubstantiation when the bread and wine are made into My Body and Blood. Take advantage of this time to adore Me in exposition of My Host, for a time is coming when this privilege will be taken away. I recommend to all of you to encourage your priests to have Perpetual Adoration of My Host.”33
Many of the miracles have been proven to be Real Blood by the scientists. Even in the face of reality and technical proof, there are still many who do not believe in My Real Presence. This denial of My Presence is the worst of insults and a disrespect for My Gift of the Eucharist. This is why those same people, who reject My Presence, do not feel it necessary to confess their sins. Those, who teach against My Real Presence, and put down these miracles, are the real blasphemers. . . .Those, who do not love My Blessed Sacrament, are the lukewarm that I will vomit from My mouth.34
Why the Eucharist?
There are many more Eucharistic messages and reported miracles. But the question we must ask is why? Why does the apparition of Mary encourage the faithful to worship and adore the consecrated Host? Her many messages on the Eucharist have spurred the formation of multiplied thousands of Eucharistic prayer groups and perpetual Eucharistic adoration groups throughout the world. Was this her goal? Obviously yes! But might she have a much greater goal in mind?
In my book, Another Jesus: the Eucharist Christ and the New Evangelization, I show how the apparitions of Mary contradict the Scriptures and offer a false gospel. She, or more accurately it, is not the Mary of the Bible, but rather a satanic counterfeit. Therefore, would a demon endeavor to lead the world to worship and trust the true Jesus of the Bible? Or is it more likely that these impostors would direct the people of the world to worship “another Jesus” or a false christ?
Attention to the Eucharistic Christ is being focused upon, not only by popes of the Catholic Church but also from apparitions claiming to be the mother of Jesus. Could their vision of a global move toward the Eucharistic Jesus really occur?
(See appendix below endnotes. To order copies of The Catholic Mary & Her Eucharistic Christ, click here. )
* The Catholic Church’s doctrine of the Eucharist is based on the concept of transubstantiation, a belief that the Catholic priest has the power to turn a wafer of bread into the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus.
** The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary was, from the moment of conception, free of any original sin (i.e., that Mary was a sinless woman). This doctrine, of course, contradicts the Bible where it says, “all have sinned” and Mary’s own words when she said, “my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” (Luke 1:47-48); nor does the Bible depict Mary as a sinless woman, who, if such were the case, would have no need of a Savior.
1. “Mary Has a Place in Latest Encyclical” (Zenit, April 17, 2003, http://www.zenit.org/article-7085?l=english).
6. Jim Tetlow, Messages from Heaven (Fairport, NY: Eternal Productions, 2002, available through Lighthouse Trails).
7. Eucharistic Adoration is the worship and prayer offered by Catholics and others to Jesus in the Eucharist, when kneeling in front of the displayed consecrated Communion Host.
8. “Prophecies of Interest: St. John Bosco” (The American Inquisition, http://web.archive.org/web/20070330163805/http://americaninquisition.blogspot.com/2006/02/prophecies-of-interest-st-john-bosco.html).
9. The Real Presence Association: Churches and Chapels that have Eucharistic Adoration, http://www.therealpresence.org/chap_fr.htm. This web site lists over 7,000 adoration sites in the US alone.
10. Thomas W. Petrisko, Mother of the Secret (Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1997), p. 113.
11. Ibid., pp. 185, 186.
12. Fr. Joseph A. Pelletier, The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje (Worchester, MA: Assumption Publications, 1985), p. 205.
13. Rene Laurentin, Is the Virgin Mary Appearing at Medjugorje? (Frederick, MD: Word Among Us Press; First English language edition edition—June 1984), p. 120.
14. Richard J. Beyer, Medjugorje Day By Day (Notre Dame, IN, Ave Maria Press, July 18th meditation, Message from Our Lady of Medjugorje given on March 15, 1984, http://medjugorje.org/msg84.htm).
15. “Our Lady of Medjugorje” (http://medjugorje.org/msg95.htm, Message from Our Lady of Medjugorje, Sept. 25, 1995).
16. “Garabandal – Pines Will Enlighten The World” (http://www.circleofprayer.com/garabandal-messages.html, Message from Our Lady of Garabandal given on October 18, 1961. Error in original quote).
17. Thomas W. Petrisko, Mother of the Secret, op. cit., p. 157.
18. Ted and Maureen Flynn, The Thunder of Justice (Sterling, VA: MaxKol Communications, Inc., 1993), p. 164.
19. “Our Lady is Appearing in Rome,” “Messages of the Mother of the Eucharist” (http://web.archive.org/web/20040727010135/http://members.aol.com/Linden59/EucharisticMiracles.html); Messages to the visionary Marisa Rossi.
20. Josef Kunzli, editor, The Messages of the Lady of All Nations (Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1996), p. 110, message given on May 31, 1967.
21. Peter Heintz, A Guide to Apparitions (Sacramento, CA: Gabriel Press, 1995), p. 219, message from Our Lady to visionary Sister Dolores of Budapest, Hungary.
22. “Consecrated Hands,” Our Lady of the Roses, Directives from Heaven (taken from These Last Days, Lowell, MI, #228, http://www.tldm.org/directives/d228.htm), messages from Our Lady of the Roses to Veronica Lueken, November 23, 1974.
23. Teiji Yasuda, O.S.V., English version by John M. Haffert, Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary (Asbury, NJ: 101 Foundation, 1989), pp. 194-195, message from Our Lady of Akita, Japan to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, July 6, 1973.
24. “Apparitions of Jesus and Mary” (Message given by Our Lady to Cyndi Cain, USA, Sept. 8, 1994, http://web.archive.org/web/20000823193220/http://web.frontier.net/Apparitions/Cain.msgs94.html).
25. “The Story of Naju” (http://www.circleofprayer.com/julia-kim.html), messages from of Our Lady to Julia Kim, Naju, Korea, June 27, 1993.
26. Fr. Don Stefano Gobbi, To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons (St. Francis ME: The National Headquarters of the Marian Movement of Priests in the United States of America, 1998), p. 676, message given to Father Gobbi, February 26, 1991, Brazil.
27. Ibid., p. 640, message given to Father Gobbi, April 12, 1990, Italy.
28. Paul A. Mihalik, The Virgin Mary, Fr. Gobbi and the Year 2000 (Santa Barbara, CA: 1998), p. 29, message to Father Gobbi, given on November 21, 1993, Australia.
29. Father Martin Lucia “Fire From Heaven”(Immaculata, http://www.friendsofchristjesus.com/quotesontheeucharist.htm).
30. Pope John Paul II, “Mother of the Redeemer” (Origins, Volume 16, Washington, DC, March 25, 1987), p. 762.
31. Bryan and Susan Thatcher; Seraphim Michalenko, M.I.C., Cenacle Formation Manual and Prayer Book (Stockbridge, MA: The Association of Marian Helpers, 1999), p. 81.
32. “Betania—I come to reconcile them” (http://web.archive.org/web/20070714101152/http://members.aol.com/bjw1106/marian9.htm).
33. John Leary, Prepare for the Great Tribulation and the Era of Peace (Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1997, Volume VII), pp. 57, 58, message from “Jesus” to John Leary.
34. Ibid., Volume XI, p. 8.
Appendix: The Ultimate Sacrifice
By Roger Oakland
The Catholic Jesus is the Eucharistic Jesus. The Marian apparition’s Jesus is also the Eucharistic Jesus. However, the Eucharistic Jesus is not found in the Bible.
John chapter 1 states that Jesus is the Creator of all things (John 1:1-3). He is eternal (Revelation 1:8). He is sinless. (I John 3:5). He is immutable—unchanging (Hebrews 13:8). In Colossians chapter 1, we read that Jesus, the One who made everything, is the One who redeemed us from our sins (Colossians 1:13-18).
Isn’t it reasonable to ask: how could Jesus, the eternal Creator, be dependent on a Catholic priest to manifest His presence? Nowhere in the Bible does it state that Jesus can be placed and confined in a container made with human hands. Nor is a priest needed to invoke His presence.
Further, the fact that the Eucharistic Jesus is re-sacrificed at each Mass demonstrates another major conflict with the Bible. Once again, in the Book of Hebrews, this is illustrated:
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (Hebrews 9:15-17)
In other words, for the New Testament to be in effect, Jesus had to die “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10), which was the ultimate sacrifice and proof of His divine perfection. To propose a re-enactment of the one offering once made is to denigrate the very will and purpose of the Father and the majesty, power, and absolute perfection of Jesus Christ the Lord. And as Hebrews 10: 11-12 explains, the contrast of the two offerings (man’s versus God’s) is man’s offering can “never take away sins” and God “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever.”
The Catholic Church makes Jesus’ sacrifice like the repeated sacrifices of bulls and goats of the Old Testament that could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). Jesus has “obtained eternal redemption.” “It is finished” (John 19:30), as Jesus said. The upper room is vacated. The cross is bare. And the tomb is empty. Jesus has been resurrected. Hallelujah! He now dwells in the hearts of those who have trusted and believed on Him. Truly, this is reason for rejoicing!
Jesus said, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). The apostle Paul tells us that Christ dwells in every believer’s heart (Ephesians 3:17). Christians are the temple of God—the Spirit of God dwells in us (I Corinthians 3:16). If ingesting consecrated bread was the true way to receive Christ, it would only bring His presence for a short time. Only while the bread remained in the digestive tract would Christ be in us. The rest of the time He would be absent. Yet, the biblical Jesus tells us, “Abide in Me, and I in you” (John 15:4), and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
To order copies of The Catholic Mary & Her Eucharistic Christ, click here
LTRP Note: The following is from chapter one of Carolyn A. Greene’s book Dangerous Illusions (the sequel to Castles in the Sand). As far as we know, these are the only two novels ever published that delve into the evilness of the contemplative prayer/emerging church movement. The setting for Castles in the Sand is a Christian college where a young naive girl becomes deeply involved in mystical practices that her Spiritual Formation professor has introduced her to. In Dangerous Illusions, the story continues but is now taking place in a small mountain town in the U.S. where an unsuspecting church becomes victim to a dangerous deception that is masqueraded as a better more progressive Christianity. Every college-age young person (and their parents) should read these two important (and suspenseful!) books.
Dangerous Illusions—Chapter 1 by Carolyn A. Greene and Zach Taylor
It was nothing like he’d thought it would be. Rob Carlton walked the narrow brick and mortar path following close behind the robed monk. Hands in his jacket pockets, his neck enveloped by his upturned corduroy collar, and his knitted cap pulled low over his ears, Rob looked up as they passed an old brick office building belonging to the monastery. A certain sacred ambience lingered in the air.
The mountain wind buffeted Rob’s back, and the low-lying cloud cover obscuring the knife-edged peaks disseminated late spring snow on both him and the monk. Rob was cold, but he fought the urge to make haste, and in lockstep, paced himself with that of his companion while listening politely to quiet explanations. Rob asked the occasional question while half-wishing he’d never come, yet at the same time, strangely glad he did.
It had been a long one-hundred miles from Birch Valley, and he had plenty of time to think. All week long Stephanie had been insistent that he go, and on the Saturday morning that was his usual day to sleep in late, he found himself packing a small suitcase, listening in veiled irritation as she chattered away while preparing his favorite hotcakes-and-sausage breakfast. After twenty years of marriage, she was an impossible woman to refuse, for she knew all the right buttons to push. And one morning along the way, he awoke, struck with the startling realization that she had evolved into the kind of woman who could make his life quietly miserable while smiling to herself, convinced that whatever she required of him was in his best interest. It was she who was into this monastic mystical stuff, not him. Her quirky yet altogether feel-good theology had lately taken a dramatic turn.
At first, when she had begun traversing what he considered a slippery slope, Stephanie was content to leave him be with his old-time Baptist tradition. She, on the other hand, voraciously read books by obscure authors (ones he’d never heard of anyway) and engaged herself in a wide variety of spiritual exercises.
It was when she began watching the videos that she turned a corner, urging and, of late, demanding he become involved. His joking rebuffs were increasingly met with a self-righteous hostility. “You’re an elder of a failing church,” she snipped, “and you’re not even interested in giving the congregation the shot in the arm it needs.”
So he gave in and agreed to meet with the monk. Rob had fumed his first hour behind the wheel, but the more he thought about it, the more he felt she might have a point. His traditionalist mentality was getting Sheep Gate Lane Church, or Sheep Gate as the members called it, nowhere—and fast. To be sure, the old ways were comfortable and doctrinally sound, but the atmosphere of the church was now dry and devitalized. He really did care about the spiritual life of folks he had loved and fellowshipped with for the past decade; he just didn’t know what to do to get them interested anymore—or to renew his own interest, for that matter. Lately it seemed as if the entire concept and reality of church life was lacking a certain vitality.
But worst of all, the congregation was thinning out, and it was no longer the life-changing experience it used to be for those who remained. One thing he knew for sure—account books don’t lie. Offerings had dropped significantly over the past few months, and at the current drop-out rate, the church would close its doors before the new year began. Given his position as a salaried staff member, he was at risk. The imminent doom of surrendering a comfortable lifestyle for a spot in the unemployment line did not sit well with Rob at all.
And now here he was, following some robed monk down an ancient-looking stone path far removed from anything he’d ever known. He glanced backward periodically, half-expecting to see a reporter from the Birch Barker Weekly snapping his photo for the newspaper’s next exposé. Rob had the feeling that everybody in Birch Valley knew precisely what he was up to. Yet it was supposed to be done in secret. “Remember, don’t tell anyone you are going up there,” Stephanie had reminded him. She had even suggested he not take his iPhone with him at all.
“Tell me again why no one can know,” Rob had asked as he zipped his suitcase closed and grabbed his jacket.
“There are people—like Jacob Brown—who would resist changes—the kind of changes I’m thinking about—if he got wind of it. I can just hear him now at some emergency-called, all-church meeting saying, ‘This kind of thing is going against the Gospel,’” Stephanie mocked. “How many times have I heard Jacob say something like that! Sometimes I can’t help wish Jacob Brown would just . . .”
“Stephanie! Don’t even say such a thing!”
“Well, after all, he is getting up there in years.”
Rob had left the house with Stephanie still going on. She followed him to the car and continued talking to him through the open car window as he backed down the driveway to the road. After he had gotten out of town and was heading up toward the monastery, he had realized how he hated this cloak-and-dagger stuff. He had wished the weekend was already over and done with just so he could report back to Stephanie that he had given it his best shot and found her ideas to be anything but feasible or doable.
Now, as Rob walked with the monk, he took a closer look at the young bearded man. His rough, brown hood was drawn across his face, and each hand poked into the warm and spacious robe sleeves. A gentleness and serenity emulated from him. Serenity—oh how Rob longed just for some peace.
As the monk’s robes whipped every which way in the wind, he led the way to the small tiled courtyard. They paused at an overlook at the edge of the gray stone wall that encircled the area. Speaking in a soft tone, the monk said, “As you can see, it’s a most idyllic setting for a retreat. It’s early yet, of course, and officially, we don’t house people until May, but your wife was so . . . insistent that you needed, well . . . some guidance, and she seemed familiar with our ways. She did say you might have some personal obstacles to overcome regarding some of our teachings, but we understand that not everyone who comes here for refreshing subscribes to our faith. We’re very aware, understanding, and accommodating when it comes to such matters. It’s the personal journey, not indoctrination, that we’re interested in.”
“So it doesn’t matter that I’m not Catholic?” Rob probed.
The young monk smiled warmly. “Not at all. We welcome people of all faiths here. We’ve had Protestants, Buddhists, even agnostics …”
Rob’s eyes widened. “Buddhists?”
The monk chuckled. “We often get that reaction from those involved in mainline religion or Christian fundamentalism. But on a more serious note, we believe we—that is, you, me, everybody—can learn from all spiritual paths, regardless of our upbringing or current faith. Up here, amidst this unspoiled solitude, we provide a place of refuge for all who come. We exist primarily to help facilitate an authentic spiritual journey for the seeking soul. Some of our most influential Catholic teachers of the past were involved with Zen teaching. While we don’t incorporate everything pertaining to that particular pathway into our spiritual disciplines here, we still believe much of it to be compatible with Christian theology.”
Rob leaned against the waist-high wall as he perused the gray, hand-fitted rock giving the impression of a medieval castle, a symbol of both comfort and fortification. The monastery proper included a chapel and connecting monks’ cells all built of the same locally quarried stone, giving an appearance simultaneously imposing and retiring—a monument, perhaps, to a bygone yet intensely spiritual era. Rob had to admit it was a pretty place. A blue-green sea of spruce, fir, and pine cascaded downward from the aerie; and the air was rich with the scent of residual winter snow that remained at this altitude. It had taken some fancy footwork, driving wise, for him to get there; and the switchback climb through pockets of mud and dingy snow had afforded him a few moments of high tension. But standing on the edge of the monastery’s overlook and drinking in the quiet, Rob reluctantly admitted to himself that it had been worth it. There was something about the place he couldn’t quite put his finger on—a prevailing, transcendent, “a way backward is a way forward” kind of atmosphere that brought back fond, childhood memories like fishing for lake trout or experiencing that ecstatic, full of hope and promise feeling so part and parcel of young love. Feeling a twinge of regret, he couldn’t remember if he’d kissed Stephanie goodbye before he rushed out the door and sped away. He’d have to make that up to her when he got home.
“Come,” the monk urged. “There’s something else I’d like to show you.” They left the courtyard and walked along a meandering flagstone pathway through what was more than likely a spectacular flower garden during the summer. Next, they passed by thickets of brown stems poking up through patches of snow until they came to a large, circular, cement pattern, roughly thirty feet around and built into the ground. Rob stared. He recognized it from the cover of one of Stephanie’s books. The book’s title came rushing to the forefront of his memory—The Labyrinth: Old and New.
It was an odd thing to see this maze-like structure in real life sitting in the heavily wooded grounds of the monastery. With its circles within circles, it had the distinct look and feel of something ancient. “This is a …” the monk began.
“Yes, I know,” Rob interrupted. “It’s a labyrinth.” He stared long and hard at it, thinking.
The monk regarded him with respectful silence then asked, “Would you like to . . . ?
Rob shook his head. “Not just yet,” he said somewhat sheepishly. “This is all so new and …” He shrugged. “You know.”
The monk placed a gentle hand on Rob’s shoulder. “Would you like to see one of our prayer huts?”
Rob nodded, and they made their way back to the courtyard and to a small wooden A-framed building. Inside the prayer hut, as it was called, it was warm and cozy, out of the wind, and heated by a small propane stove. Rob looked around in nervousness and wonder, shifting his gaze from a tall, stained-glass window that nearly filled one side of the front entrance wall to the triple-tiered racks of lighted votive candles in the front to the plain wood altar gussied up with a brace of gilt candlesticks. Behind the altar was a large cathedral window, which unveiled a not-too-distant view of fir and pine trees leading up a mountainside. The two A-frame walls were decorated with murals; and one Rob recognized—an ecstatic monk on his knees with his arms outstretched and his hands, feet, and side pierced in accordance with one of his visions. Francis of Assisi. What was it they called it? Stigmata. The actual wounds of Christ, they said. Rob looked up at the center of the wall to the hand-carved crucifix. The figure of the suffering Jesus overlooked the room from its placement above the altar. Rob stared upward, feeling strangely drawn. Despite the modern décor, the room exuded a kind of antiquity reminiscent of another place and time—perhaps dating as far back as a thousand years.
Rob sat down on a large cushion situated on one of the wooden benches that lined the walls. He sighed and gazed out the window. The monk sat next to Rob and said, “Many monasteries that act as retreat centers are more modern than ours. But as a community we felt much could be gained by keeping the atmosphere like it was for the original brothers who established the Order. Don’t you agree?” Rob nodded but said nothing. His countenance exemplified the struggle he was going through to rely on logic and reason. For a time, the monk sat quietly, hands folded in his lap, gazing alternately at the crucifix and then at Rob. Finally, he took a deep breath and asked, “Mr. Carlton, what is it you’re looking for? Your wife was not very specific, and though we don’t normally make it a habit to pry, I’m sensing a feeling of desperation in you that I’d like to help you through. That is, if you’ll let me.”
Rob studied the face of the young gentle man for a prolonged moment then let out a weary sigh. “I’ve got trouble, and I don’t know what to do.” No sooner had the words left his mouth than all he had been feeling came bubbling to the surface with such intensity, he couldn’t suppress it: the dying church, his wife’s nagging, his own helplessness and uncertainty, and the fear of losing his position. A hundred other things came forth too, all jumbled together. And although he wasn’t completely coherent, the young monk seemed to understand.
“It’s obvious what you and your people need,” he said in a comforting voice. “Renewal. You’ve languished in dead traditionalism for so long you don’t know how to “do church” any other way. Mr. Carlton, that’s why we’ve opened our doors to the public for the retreat. We, that is, the Catholic church at large and our little community specifically, have rediscovered the old ways, the paths that the ancient Christians took in their spiritual walk. It’s like I told you. It’s the journey that’s important. How we get there is personal, and what may look to some as, oh, heretical …” he said the word with a derisive smile, “is for another a valid tool for finding God. You understand?” Rob nodded.
“I think so,” he conceded. “But, again, I’m no Catholic . . .” The monk looked on patiently and spoke as if to a child. How funny it was—Rob was old enough to be his father, but here the “son” was comforting and mentoring the “father.”
“Like I said, you don’t have to be. The ways in which we teach here, as well as the practices and spiritual disciplines we teach, you can take back to your own church and incorporate. At least try it and see. What have you got to lose? We have many success stories, and most of them began similar to yours.” Rob pondered, and the monk stood. “Look,” he said, “why don’t you just sit here awhile and meditate. It’ll come to you, what you should do. I’ll pray for you. Come to the main office when you’re ready to go to your cell.” He turned to leave but stopped and looked down at Rob. “I should tell you though, that by accepting these teachings and putting them into practice, two things will happen: first, your life will go through some dramatic changes, and second, you will face opposition back home. Some won’t understand, and others will simply refuse to embrace a liberating spirituality. It’s largely out of fear this happens—fear of change—fear of others who are different. You have to prepare yourself for that.” He reached down and touched Rob’s shoulder once again then took a few steps and went out through the antiquated looking oak door.
Silence engulfed the room, and Rob sat with his head down and hands between his knees. Opposition, he thought. “Yeah,” he muttered. “Like Jacob Brown. There’s no way he’ll stand for this. And yet if I decline, Stephanie will make my life insufferable. The house won’t be fit to live in.”
Rob’s mind drifted to the monk. He had such a kind demeanor, so gentle and even . . . well, even soothing. Jacob is always emphasizing doctrine, Rob pondered. Talk about fear—Jacob is afraid to try anything new. But what about charity? Look at this monk. He is kind and seems to have so much peace about him. Just because his beliefs are different than ours, does that make them wrong?
Then it hit Rob that maybe Stephanie was right. Maybe there was something they were missing. Maybe, just maybe . . . He shook his head and with gritted teeth said, “Man, I don’t need this.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a worn, little book within arm’s reach on a small shelf built into the wall. He leaned over and took hold of it while at the same time reading the title: The Cloud of Unknowing. In parentheses, it said, “Written by an anonymous monk in the fourteenth century.” Hey, I remember seeing that book on Stephanie’s desk, Rob mused. As he opened the book, a cloth bookmark fell out. He let the book fall open to the marked page. Underlined in pencil were the words: “take thee but a little word of one syllable: for so it is better than of two . . . fasten this word to thine heart . . . With this word, thou shalt beat on this cloud and this darkness above thee. With this word, thou shall smite down all manner of thought under the cloud of forgetting.” Take this word, a word with one syllable, Rob pondered. Stephanie was always talking about her prayer word and how repeating it and meditating on it brought her into the presence of God where she could hear his voice.
Raising his face again to the crucifix, Rob studied the figure there—the crown of thorns, the bleeding wounds on the hands, feet, and side. As he shifted his attention to the wall murals, he found himself drawn again to the painting of Francis of Assisi. “Yes,” he said aloud. Rob stood, hurried over to the door, paused, and walked back to the cushion. He reached down and grabbed the Cloud book, briefly eyeing it again, then tucked it under his arm. I have a feeling I am going to need this little book. Out the door into the fresh air he went. He was anxious to speak more with the monk. And when he had a chance, he had to call Stephanie. Something told him it was going to be an exhilarating weekend.
This is from Chapter 1 of Dangerous Illusions by Carolyn A. Greene and Zach Taylor.
Pope Francis Elected After Supernatural “Signs Says Cardinal—The Role His Jesuit Contemplative Ways Play
According to a news article earlier this year in the UK newspaper The Telegraph, the “surprise election of Pope Francis came about because of a series of supernatural ‘signs,’ one of the leading Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church has claimed.” The article also stated:
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, who was himself widely tipped as a possible successor to Pope Benedict, said he had personally had two “strong signs” that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was “the chosen one” in the run up to vote.
He said only divine intervention could explain the speed with which the Argentine Cardinal – who did not feature on any of the main lists of likely candidates compiled by Vatican experts – was elected.1
If this is true, that Pope Francis was elected through supernatural means, the question must be posed, from which side did this supernatural, “divine” intervention come? If it is indeed supernatural, it had to be either from God or from Satan (the two opposing forces). Because we know that the Catholic church is a false heretical church that believes salvation is justification through works and not the sole work of Christ on the Cross, that Mary is a co-redeemer who did not sin, and that Jesus Christ is found in the Eucharist and the Catholic Mass, we must conclude that this supernatural intervention that brought Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the station of Pope of the Roman Catholic Church is not from God.
How is this relevant to the evangelical/Protestant church today? As Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times have reported since Pope Francis began his reign as Pope, evangelical leaders are racing to the Pope’s side like never before in the history of the evangelical/Protestant church. Some of these who are rallying with the Pope are Rick Warren, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, and James Robison, while other Christian leaders, such as Beth Moore, are coming out with statements that are giving strong credibility to the Catholic church.
It is a known fact that Pope Francis is a Jesuit. And as Lighthouse Trails has reported on a number of occasions, he is also a contemplative advocate. See our article Pope Francis – Spiritually “Founded” on a Contemplative Tradition. As research analyst Ray Yungen has documented, the Catholic Church is using contemplative prayer as a means of expanding her borders. Roger Oakland, founder of Understand the Times, has linked the mystical practice of the Eucharist to the Papacy’s New Evangelization program to bring the “lost brethren” back to the “Mother Church.” And as one can see, these efforts are having tremendous results. Ray Yungen states:
I had always been confused as to the real nature of this advance in the Catholic church. Was this just the work of a few mavericks and renegades, or did the church hierarchy sanction this practice? My concerns were affirmed when I read in an interview that the mystical prayer movement not only had the approval of the highest echelons of Catholicism but also was, in fact, the source of its expansion. (A Time of Departing, by Ray Yungen)
For thirteen years, Lighthouse Trails has been warning that when people get involved with contemplative meditation practices, they are putting themselves under demonic influence. In time, the spiritual outlook of contemplatives moves away from the Cross and the Gospel and moves toward panentheism and interspirituality.
How does all this tie together? The cover story in Christianity Today’s December 2014 issue proclaims: “Why Everyone is Flocking to Francis.” CT has its own idea of why “everyone” is drawn to the Pope. But if Lighthouse Trails is correct in our conclusions about contemplative spirituality and its outcome, then what is happening here is a “supernatural” occurrence in the lives of millions of people, both Catholic and non-Catholic, who are finding themselves dramatically affected by this Pope.
While we will not try to speculate what the possible role of this Pope could be in relation to Bible prophecy and the endtimes, we will say this with surety: between the New Age and the Catholic Church, the world is being drawn deeper and deeper into darkness and closer and closer to a false christ whom the Bible says is coming.
In closing, we’ll leave you with these words from Warren B. Smith:
The Catholic Church today [is] linked to the foundational New Age/New Spirituality teaching that God is “in” everyone.
The 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the official source for all Roman Catholic doctrine today, states:
“Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ.” (#795)
“For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” (#460) (cited from “Another Jesus” Calling by Warren B. Smith)
Letter to the Editor From a FORMER Contemplative: Focus on the Family’s “Father Gilbert’s Mysteries” Points Listeners to Contemplative Prayer
LTRP Note: This is perhaps one of the most significant letters we have ever received, not just because it exposes more of Focus on the Family’s contemplative propensities, but because it shows the results (i.e., the “fruit”) of practicing contemplative prayer. This “fruit” is precisely why Lighthouse Trails has been crying out a warning for nearly 13 years.
We are grateful to this reader for sending us this letter describing his experience as a contemplative practitioner. We are thankful to the Lord for opening his eyes to the great deception he was in.
As for Focus on the Family, it has been promoting contemplative spirituality for several years (see below this letter for article links). Parents and grandparents, if your children and grandchildren are listening to the Focus on the Family drama CDs, including Adventures in Odyssey, they are being exposed to a dangerous spiritual view. We can’t emphasize that enough. As you read the following letter, realize that what happened to our reader because of his involvement in the “spiritual disciplines” of contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation), is happening to thousands and thousands of Christians today (a number that will eventually hit the millions, changing the entire face of Christianity as researcher Ray Yungen has so often said).
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
Recently, I was given the Father Gilbert Mysteries CD set (by Focus on the Family) from a friend to borrow. The following is a followup letter I sent to my friend regarding these CDs. I thought this letter might be useful to you and anyone else who might not be aware of the contemplative connections to this mystery series.
Hi XXXXXXXXX (names withheld for privacy),
Thanks for lending me the Father Gilbert Mysteries CDs. I listened to the first CD on the way home from your house. I found the story to be gripping, and it definitely held my interest. What especially caught my attention though, was what was said in the intro. to the second CD. In it, the narrator stated that Father Gilbert [an Anglican priest] had joined a monastery. While there, he studied “the classic spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditation.” At this point, I had to stop listening to the CD.
As you probably know, I was, for the first 25 years of my Christian life, deeply involved in the spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer that promised to help me become more “Christlike.” According to one web site, “Christian contemplative prayer or contemplation, which was practiced by innumerable monks and nuns (and now laypeople) from the times of the Desert Fathers to the present, goes deep within the heart to meet God, ever-present within, though without thoughts, words, or images, because he is beyond them.”
For me, this basically involved stilling my mind throughout the day and focusing on my moment by moment connection with Christ. Toward the last part of this period in my life, I even had a little hand counter, which I kept with me and which I would keep track of each time, through out the day, when I focused on God. This led me into times of deeper meditation where my mind would become increasingly still and quiet, to the point where my thoughts seemed to be vacuumed out of my mind, leaving me in a kind of raptured stillness.
During these experiences, I had what I believed at the time to be an actual physical sensation of God’s Presence. It was like I didn’t need to focus so much on the Bible anymore to know God because I was actually experiencing Him directly in these moments of contemplation. And in this experience, I felt God as a force or power that was flowing through all things.
It was then that I noticed a subtle change was beginning to take place in my concept of God. I began to feel deeply that God’s Presence was everywhere and in everything. And if God was in everything and as a result, in everyone, then the important thing was not what a person thought about God or believed about Him, but rather that they stilled their thoughts so they too could experience Him in the present moment, beyond thoughts. This began to trouble me though, because I began to realize that this was what I had once believed as a follower and practicer of New Age Eastern beliefs prior to becoming a Christian.
This led me to do some research online. There, I found that this new way of perceiving God which I was developing through my “spiritual discipline” actually had a name. It was called, panentheism—that God is in all things and all things are in God. I also found that this concept does not appear to line up with God’s Word… “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9.
Needless to say, about five years ago, I discontinued this spiritual practice and began to rest in the finished work of Christ which He accomplished at the Cross (Hebrews 10:10). I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly freeing and restful it has become to be able to say, with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20. And “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:11
Paul (not real name)
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