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Posts Tagged ‘Dangerous Practices’

False Spiritual Practices and Conforming to the World

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:1-2)

My dear fellow pilgrims in Christ,

One of the greatest challenges we Christians have in living the Christian life today is that we are immersed in the world’s culture that surrounds us and unfortunately that immersion tends to open us up to forces that lead us into compromising our faith and our walk with Jesus.

As disciples through a loving relationship with Jesus, we have no problem with willingly offering ourselves as a living sacrifice – as indicated in the first verse of the introductory citation above. The area where we tend to have the most problem however is in keeping to the purpose and intent of the second verse, that is, keeping ourselves from being conformed to the world. What we don’t realize is that we cannot be faithful to the first verse without doing what the second verse requires.

The only way we can cooperate with the Grace of God in His work of transformation in us is by separating ourselves in spirit from the world’s systems and culture so that Jesus, and He alone, rules in our hearts. If we let the world encroach on what and how we think and desire, then Christ cannot be fully in control of our lives, thus, keeping us from discerning God’s specific will for us. Only by detaching ourselves from the “world’s lifestyle” through the renewal of our minds can we truly discern God’s will to do what is good acceptable and perfect and so carry out His purpose in us.

Now, the Lord has placed us in the world so that we can minister His Love to the world but, in doing His will this He does not want us to be caught up in the world’s way of thinking and behaving and emulating their sinful behavior. He desires that His desires and His will so take root in us that all our thoughts, word and actions are completely aligned with His will, while yet being immersed in the world.

Always keep in mind, then what Jesus said to His disciples:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”. (Jn.15:16-19)

Jesus told His disciples not to be discouraged even though they had to live in the world, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Jn 16:33)

And John the Apostle tells us that, “… whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (1 jn.5:4)

However, although, Satan, the former ruler of this world has been cast down through the atoning death of Christ on the Cross and through His glorious resurrection, the evil one still exerts his power over the world through deception, lies and the lust of our fallen flesh. For this is the only way that his rule over this world can persist since he no longer has authority here unless we permit it. For, as His disciples, baptized in water and empowered by the Holy Spirit, each of us has a specific delegation of His authority over the limited sphere of influence we have been given in each of our lives to extend His Kingdom of Love and to resist the evil one.

After His resurrection “Jesus came and said to them, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt.28:18-20)

At His Assumption to the right hand of the Father he also said “…but you shall receive power [authority] when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (acts 1:8)

We, the Church Triumphant, the baptized in the Holy Spirit, then, have been placed in this world to be His witnesses and to enforce the Victory of Our King through the truth of the Gospel and the Power of the Holy Spirit, until He Himself comes in Glory to reign and rule over His Kingdom. We fulfill our calling not only by preaching and teaching the Good news but by living out our lives in such a manner that the Love of God is clearly manifested by our loving sacrifices for each other and for the world as we sow the seed of the Kingdom to bring forth fruit for His Glory.

However, although we have, through the Spirit, received New Life in Baptism, we still retain our fallen human nature and it is mainly this weakness that the forces of darkness use to compromise our faith and our ability to serve as soldiers for Christ in fulfilling our roles to be ministers of His Love. It is through the lustful incitements of the world, which is still in darkness, that the evil one uses to disable us from bringing forth the Kingdom of the Father’s Love.

The battlefield of this struggle between the evil one and the world that he controls is in our minds and in our hearts. Whenever we compromise our principles and attempt to live our lives with one foot in spirit and the other in the world we will lose – and Christ loses our services through our defection to the World because we cannot serve two masters (cf.,Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13).

If we are to serve Him we have to be totally dedicated to Him and to single-mindedly obey His directives through Love. We must be yoked to Him and to Him alone! We CANNOT be double-minded with respect to whom we belong (James 1:8). In fact, James in his Epistle, rebukes those are in this adulterous state: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).

Likewise, we are all challenged by the Apostle John to be single minded in our loyalty, our mission and our purpose and thus to overcome the world in His Name! “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1John 1:6-7)

Now, I must tell you the bad news, that within today’s church many naïve and well-intentioned Christians are compromising their faith and permitting themselves to be double-minded and conformed to the world by unknowingly partaking of the spiritual darkness of the world. Most faithful Christians are, by the grace of God, able to discern and avoid the most evident evil works of the world: drugs, sexual immorality, greed, pride, anger, contention, strife, and dishonesty, and not be caught up in that area of the world lifestyle. However, the forces of darkness, through deceit and subtlety have been enticing otherwise faithful Christians into dark deceptive spiritual practices that permit the enemy to influence their inner spiritual loyalties.

One of the reasons this goes unperceived is that we “egalitarian” moderns have somehow become insensitive to the fact that there are spiritual forces of darkness that are as much a part of the current world system as the works of the flesh which are so self-evident. Somehow in our lopsided modern thinking, there are no such things as evil spirits therefore conclude that all things spiritual must be of God, a philosophy which disables our intellectual defenses and judgment regarding false spiritual practices promoted by those evil spirits that seek to control us and keep us from bring forth the Kingdom of God into this world. Of Course, this is just another way for the enemy and his cohorts to conform us to the world (their world)!

And how do these evil spirits get past our defenses? Well they merely present themselves as alternative paths to an assortment of what they claim are enhanced spiritualities and syncretistic methods, that claim to be extensions of Christian spirituality (which they are not!). These New Age pseudo-spiritual practices, in fact are merely a means to entice us to open our spirit to the wiles of the forces of darkness and their destructive deceptions and thus to keep us from the true spirituality that comes from a deep and transcending relationship with Jesus, who is the Way (the only Way), the Truth and the Life!

“Jesus said to him [Thomas], ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ “. (Jn 14: 6)

While it is true that those Christians who entertain these New Age practices1 are merely seeking to satiate a spiritual hunger that is not being currently supplied by the church, it does not excuse them or prevent the evil one from perturbing up their lives with spiritual deception. How is it I ask myself, that these hungry and thirsty Christians prefer seeking fulfillment in these dark heretical mysteries rather than accept the genuine, supernatural, and magnificent supernatural Gifts of the Spirit that are our inheritance from Pentecost?

Why is it that these so-called Christians have not experienced the power of the real spiritual nourishment that is available through Sacrament of the Eucharist – the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ?

After all did not Jesus say. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) ?

Brethren, I believe part of the answer is ignorance – ignorance not only of the dangers of dabbling on the occult and eastern religions, but also ignorance of the power and magnificence of the spiritual life that is available within the Church of God through the inspired Word of God, the Sacraments, and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Sadly, the problem stems from the fact that even some clerics in the Church have never experienced the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and His Gifts and therefore are unable to properly teach others or lead others the true way of enlightenment and spiritual understanding.

In order to help the situation I have added a new section to the “Resources” cited on the right hand margin under the TAB: 5. More! / # Dangers of Deceptive Spirituality. This section contains several articles that will provide some useful information to those that are seeking to truly worship God in Spirit and the Truth!

In making my case, I present to you, below, an article from this section of a priest, who commendably has given His testimony about how he wandered into these New Age practices before He entered the priesthood and how it took him several years into the priesthood before he totally understood the perilous path he had taken and was delivered from this error.

May the Lord Guide you with His Word and His Spirit as you seek to worship Him in Spirit and in TRUTH!

Your Brother In Christ Jesus …. Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2011])

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Catholics and the dangers of New Age movement
Exerpted from:    http://www.catholicmessenger.org/articles/2011/01/12/opinion/guest_opinions/doc4d2ddb6eb021c530661137.prt

How I was delivered from New Age Practices

By Father Bill Kneemiller
Published:  Wednesday, January 12, 2011 10:55 AM CST

Fr. Kneemiller Comments on New Age practicesThe topic of New Age movements, once a budding campus phenomenon, is now mainstream and as close to us as our local bookstore or DVD movie. New Age refers to forms of spirituality that draw from old systems of knowledge such as Zen, Gnosticism (secret knowledge) and Eastern meditation.

New Age concepts and ideals are even becoming part of our vocabulary. I know this terminology well, as I had a former involvement with Eastern meditation practices before my reconversion to my Catholic roots. I have been steeped in both traditions. So, I may have some insights for Catholics who are dabbling in New Age practices.  I have not publicly written about this before because it has taken time to come out of this New Age involvement.

I was blessed to get a solid Catholic education in St. Charles, Mo., attending Catholic grade school and high school, and being taught by dozens of faith-filled priests and religious Sisters. After high school, I was ready to see more of life. As far as my faith life, Catholicism was OK but I wanted to get a spiritual high. At the University of Missouri I was intrigued by the philosophy of yoga, and in reading my first yoga book “Heaven Lies Within,” it seemed then to fit with me, the new “seeker.” After all, didn’t Jesus use these very words? After about a year of stumbling around with self-help yoga books, I started practicing the Eastern meditation technique, transcendental meditation. From this date in the early 1970s, there followed about 18 years of doing everything with this program. I traveled to half-a-dozen countries spending months, even close to a year overseas at a time studying the technique and advanced programs.

Also, I thought I was meeting the coolest people in the world such as Deepak Chopra, now a self-help guru in his own right, and Johnny Gray, author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” At the time, it seemed great to me that Catholic leaders such as the Trappists in Massachusetts were practicing this meditation technique along with priests endorsing it. Everything seemed OK at the time because I was taught it is just a technique which enriches everyone’s own religion and the mantra used for this meditation practice was a meaningless word. It would be decades before I learned that mantras are names of Hindu gods.

After about 18 years of Eastern meditation involvement, I started going to a family rosary, at first, out of curiosity. I was taught “prayer with the heart” and it completely changed my concept of prayer from being a rote practice to being a conversation and relationship with Christ. With my newfound rosary friends, I enjoyed going to Catholic conferences and events. The first change I noticed was that I wanted to be around people who believed in the Catholic faith; the conversation and New Age-culture started sounding unusual, even strange.

After a few years, the Catholic culture won out, and I just stopped all involvement with Eastern meditation. I did wonder at the time if I could just walk away; was there any closure? Five years of seminary followed, then, soon after ordination, I started attending the healing Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. One of the priests there offered a prayer of deliverance for me at that time, and recommended that I denounce the mantra, and that was a huge step in cutting my former ties with Eastern meditation.

My story then picks up in 2010, after a tour as a military chaplain in Afghanistan, when I attend a healing conference in Chicago. This conference is held at Mundelein Seminary every August and is for priests involved in the healing ministry, along with training for exorcists. There I meet Father Bob Thorn, a diocesan priest from Wisconsin who had a similar history as me, being a former meditation teacher and now a Catholic priest. Fr. Thorn was helping with reconciliation one evening, so I waited, last in line to go to confession with him. I thought, “Well, Fr. Thorn may have some insights about the Eastern meditation movement, and his subsequent re-conversion to his Catholic roots.  I also thought that when we talked, it would be a friendly social visit, such as “Ha-ha-ha,” wasn’t that kind of crazy back then in the ‘70s, and our involvement with meditation and everything …”

But as soon as I sat down with Fr. Thorn, there was no “Ha-ha-ha” — only seriousness. I told him I was involved as a meditation teacher back then as he was, and he looked fairly concerned. He said, “Bill — you still have that Eastern meditation in you.”  He went on to explain that I needed to denounce every Hindu god that is invoked in the meditation ceremony.  I realized he was right. The transcendental meditation ceremony is filled with dozens of invocations to gods, such as ‘Brahma, Shiva’… you name it; it’s there in the ceremony in which everyone is taught the technique.

So, Fr. Thorn and I went to the conference directors and asked them if they could pray for us that evening. Fr. Thorn downloaded the meditation ceremony from the Internet, and we were ready to be prayed over for this intention.

Three priests helped with this, including one from Canada and one from Peru who I understand to be two of the most skilled exorcists in the world. The priests recommended that I denounce each god and proclaim Jesus Christ as savior, which took about a quarter of an hour.  I did this, and the priest did a casting-out prayer. The healing session was a profound gift and grace. Wow, the effects of spiritual healing! That night, I slept like a baby.

Then, the next week, and in subsequent months I have felt lighter and freer than I have ever experienced in my life. The next week at the healing Mass in Davenport, I gave a talk about healing from New Age practices and spent an hour-and-a-half afterwards hearing confessions and praying for people who had similar involvements. I could never recommend anyone using Eastern meditation for any reason at all. But, I also now see many intrusions of New Age thought, or re-formulated Hinduism in our culture, and some in our parishes.

“Many people are convinced that there is no harm in ‘borrowing’ from the wisdom of the East, but the example of transcendental meditation should make Christians cautious about the prospect of committing themselves unknowingly to another religion (in this case Hinduism),” according to a 2003 Church document entitled: “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age.”

“There is no problem with learning how to meditate but the object or content of the exercise clearly determines whether it relates to the God revealed by Jesus Christ … or simply to the hidden depths of the self,” the document states.

Our Church’s teachings remind us that we have in the person of Jesus Christ a trustworthy and sure guide, true man and true God, and source of all goodness!

(Fr. Kneemiller is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hills and St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols.)

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