Are Charismatics Catholic?
She emphasized a spirituality similar to that of Cassaude, but left out the part of the church: Both one's daily actions and the sacraments/mass were unimportant.
Guyon believed that we should pray all the time, whatever one was doing, to be also spending time with God. "Prayer is the key of perfection and of sovereign happiness; it is the efficacious means of getting rid of all vices and of acquiring all virtues; for the way to become perfect is to live in the presence of God. He tells us this Himself: "walk before me, and be thou perfect" Genesis 17:1
As she wrote in one of her poems: "There was a period when I chose, A time and place for prayer ... But now I seek that constant prayer, In inward stillness known ..."
... These righteous persons expect God to deliver and save them as payment for their good works. In contrast to the self–sufficient, righteous egoists, the sinners who have selflessly submitted to God "are carried swiftly by the wings of love and confidence into the arms of their Saviour, who gives them gratuitously what He has infinitely merited for them." God's "bounties are effects of His will, and not the fruits of our merits."
Her spirituality was condemned by the church, because she overstressed one aspect and ignoring a balance.
If one followed Guyon, one would end up sitting around, withdrawing from the world, and being useless to God and man, while one's pride would swell about how holy one was.
Reminds me of my husband's first wife who was so "religious" she once told him the reason the kids hadn't been fed was that she was busy praying, and apparantly she thought it was okay not to feed kids, because they needed to learn to fast and pray anyway.
Passive aggression, anyone? I'm holy, haha, and you just do "works" when you risk your life caring for the sick and poor instead of living a comfortable life praying.
(whoops, I shouldn't be sarcastic: I'm retired now).
Similarly, the Charismatic movement has problems.
By relying on the spirit, it ignores the intellect.
true, it's God's way to revive a church that has become dry and intellectual, but that doesn't mean we go overboard the other way.
A personal relationship with God is important, and being "born again" or receiving the Holy spirit is important. Benedict's encyclical on Love reminds us of this.
Did Christianity really destroy eros? Let us take a look at the pre- Christian world. The Greeks—not unlike other cultures—considered eros principally as a kind of intoxication, the overpowering of reason by a “divine madness” which tears man away from his finite existence and enables him, in the very process of being overwhelmed by divine power, to experience supreme happiness.
Now, this can fuel a happy marriage, a love that enables one to live in times of trouble and pain.
Singer Ethel Waters in her autobiography, describes it as always having a warm loving presence with her during her life (she was an unloved child brought up in terrible poverty).
Similarly, Dr. Robert Coles in his books "Children of Crisis" includes the poor children in the Southern US. In one part, he talks to one of these poor mothers, who describes her hard life and how going to church and being filled with the spirit and renewed enables her to live in peace.
In summary, the gift of the Holy Spirit is something much needed by the intellectual western Church.
Yet it too has it's limitations.
By emphasizing spiritual gifts, often discernment is lacking. A good pastor will pray and discern the teaching, often checking if it goes along with the bible.
Similarly, a good pastor will follow Paul's advice not to let the speaking in tongues overwhelm the church service.
One danger for Catholics is just this: That they feel so uplifted spiritually after a charismatic/pentecostal service that they ignore the dryness felt in attending Mass. Yet we meet Jesus in Mass.
Without discernment, and without spiritual direction, they might think that this dryness means that the church/mass doesn't really "worship" God.
Yet this ignores that maybe the service is just not according to their personal tastes (one of the problems of the Latin Mass folks) or maybe because the post Vatican II emphasis on community is overdone (too many "modern" Catholics are poorly catechized to realize how holy the Mass should be) or maybe it's just the lousy singing (don't get me started).
Yet Catholics have long rejected the idea that the grace imparted by the Mass depends on the holiness of the priest or on one's emotional satisfaction from it.
I don't have the quote here, but Tolkien writes to his son that maybe attending a mass that doesn't please your tastes might be of more worth than going to one you enjoy...he hated the modern masses, but he emphasized having Christ in the Eucharist was the reason why attending mass was important.
I'm not saying only a pious Latin Mass or a loud and emotional charismatic mass should be shunned, only that the reason one goes to Mass is to meet Christ in the Eucharist.
A second problem with the Charismatic/Pentecostal approach is that they make the Bible as if it were God.
Catholics don't believe God "wrote the bible" or even that he had it dictated (as Muslims claim for the Koran). But even if much of the Torah wasn't written down for 1000 years, we see God's hand behind the scholars who organized the stories, and chose which ones were best to emphasize God's relationship with man.
Similarly, a Catholic would say that God's hand guided the Septuagent , and the early church's use of that translation suggests he wanted the apocrapha to be part of his revealations, no matter what rabbis in 90 AD decided.
Finally, a lot of nonsense occurs when bible verses or stories are taken out of context to prove a point. Often two verses contradict each other (something that Jesus delighted to point out to those hypocrites trying to destroy him).
Without nuance, you have trouble.
Catholics rely on the magesterium of the church for guidence, and if some pastors or bishops get things wrong, we figure the Holy Spirit eventually will fix things.
On the other hand, the charismatic approach allows the pastor or prayer leader to become a mini pope, obeyed for his or her guidence, even though that person might not be well educated in scripture, but only rely on their favorite passages.
The danger of pride is high, needless to say, and the danger of degenerating into a cult is also high.
Yes, docs have a simlar problem, but enough of our patients die on us despite the correct treatment (or who get better despite our predictions they will die) that it keeps most of us humble about thinking we are God.
finally, A leader in a charismatic prayer group is in danger of blaming the victim.
One of my friends was deserted by an abusive husband who stole all her money, leaving her and the kids destitute.
She ended up with chronic back pain from a fall, and ended up on a narcotic contract to control her misery.
now, all docs know that back and neck pain get worse with psychological problems (no, it's not "in your head", but stress makes the muscles contract more, ergo more pain. Also the ability to tolerate pain goes down with depression. We often use anti depressents to help people tolerate their chronic pain).
Although not a Catholic, she went to a Catholic prayer group, and the "leader" assured her of healing. After several sessions, she was no better, so he told her that she must have a sin of unforgiveness blocking the cure. She left them in even more despair, since although an intelligent woman, she never had insight to see how depression was anger/unforgiveness turned inward, and made the pain worse.
So they were "right" but the egotism of the leader (disappointed at his lack of curing ability) blamed the victim, and left her in even more despair.
In contrast, another friend with a manipulative mother, did get healed by a Catholic prayer group. She now laughs when her mother tries to manipulate her with guilt; it no longer prevents her from moving on with her own life.
So spiritual healing too has good and bad points. It denies that sometimes God sends us a cross to carry, to see if we love him for Himself or for his "goodies".
In one of the epistles, there is a saying about when we suffer, we learn and then can help others who suffer.
I have found this in my life as a doc.
Suffering can lead to wisdom, patience, and understanding of others. Or it can lead to despair and bitterness. Often the difference is the "eros" or love of God inside of us.
A charismatic/pentecostal movement that insists on God's gifts of money or health ignores this if they stress physical healing over God's love.