Spiritual Discernment

Everybody has been created with a God-shaped void deep within their hearts. When we fill this void with the Blessed Trinity, we discover ultimate fulfillment in life. When we surrender our lives and hearts to God, we will also find ourselves called on a journey of growth and partnership with God through this lifetime and into eternity. The value of this relationship is described in Sacred Scripture as hidden treasure or the pearl of great price. Once you enter into an authentic relationship with the Lord, you will do anything to maintain your relationship with Jesus, the lover of your soul.

Once you enter into an authentic relationship with the Blessed Trinity, the Lord will constantly call you deeper into holiness and deeper into his service. You can say no to God at any stage of your journey, but if you do, the peaceful presence of God that resides deep within your heart will slowly disappear, leaving you empty and longing for an authentic spiritual connection. When we surrender our lives and hearts to God, and continue to grow in holiness, obedience and service, God will be pleased to dwell with us, filling our hearts with his peaceful presence.

The requirements for walking in partnership with God is described in Sacred Scripture as the hard and narrow road that leads to everlasting life. When the faithful make a choice to travel the cheap and easy road of spiritual short-cuts, failing to make Jesus the Lord of their lives, they have a tendency to start practicing religious devotions hoping that the saints will help them develop an authentic relationship with God. A good example of this comes from a woman who feels compelled to pray several rosaries per day in hopes that Mary will lead her to Jesus. Instead of surrendering her life, family and marriage into the Lord's hands, she would rather pray novenas to the Blessed Mother hoping that Mary will buy her favor with God. The fact that she is dependent on Mary to lead her to Jesus is proof that she doesn't have a real relationship with Jesus.

When the faithful try to fill the God-shaped void deep within their hearts with anything other than the Blessed Trinity, the devil and his legions of fallen angels can take advantage of the situation and lead them deeper into bondage. Soon their victims may find themselves praying ten Rosaries a day, making 81 copies of the Saint Jude Novena and buying more and more magic good-luck charms. Their hearts will remain empty and soon they may even sell their souls and the value of all their good deeds to the Immaculata, or worse, sell their children's souls to the Immaculata while making pilgrimages to a false apparition sites that has been condemned by the Catholic Church.

The only way to break free from this bondage is a complete and total detoxification from all unhealthy devotions and to convert the same amount of time and energy into pursuing an authentic relationship with the Blessed Trinity. The process of detoxification for Catholics works the same as detoxification for New Age practitioners. Before a New Age practitioner can become a Christian, that person needs to denounce all occult agreements and remove all crystals, tarot cards, magic charms, ritually charged objects and every other device they use for power and protection from their lives and hearts.

The same is true for Catholics who have spent a lifetime practicing unhealthy devotions. If a religious object is a reminder of your family members in heaven who have accomplished God's will in their lives, then it's okay to keep those objects in your home. But if deep in your heart the religious object is providing you with any type of power, protection, blessings, or favors from God, similar to a good-luck charm, amulet or talisman, then you will need to remove it from your home and offer that spiritual void deep within your heart to God. God is the only one who can offer true blessings and protection. False and deceptive forms of blessings and protection come from the devil and they will only lead you deeper into bondage.

 

The Spiritual Discernment Test

1. How do you test yourself to determine if you have been led astray with unhealthy devotions? The best way to evaluate your spiritual walk is to ask the Lord Jesus Christ. An authentic relationship with the Blessed Trinity will cost you everything. Are you traveling the Hard and Narrow Road that leads to everlasting life? Or have you been practicing and promoting spiritual shortcuts that promise power and protection from sources other than God?

2. Another way to test yourself is to compare your life to the standards set forth in Sacred Scripture. The first letter of John contains several passages to make sure followers of Christ have an authentic relationship with our Lord Jesus as follows:

According to 1 John 2:5–6, "By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, 'I abide in him,' ought to walk just as he walked." Are you walking the walk like Jesus? Have you made Jesus the Lord over every aspect of your life?

According to 1 John 2:3–5, "By this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, 'I have come to know him,' but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection." Are you following the Lord's teachings regarding prayer?

According to 1 John 2:15–17, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever." Do you spend more time on vacation, watching television and shopping than you do proclaiming the Gospel message?

According to 1 John 4:13, "By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit." Are you working in partnership with the Holy Spirit to accomplish the Father's will in your life?

According to 1 John 5:10 & 12, "Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." Have you surrendered your life into the Lord's service? Have you invited the presence of Jesus to dwell in your heart?

According to 1 John 4:7–9, "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him." Are you living in God's love and allowing God's love to flow through you into the lives of others?

3. Another way to test yourself is to identify any spiritual forces that may be driving you for more devotions. The Blessed Trinity will never get inside your head and demand more and more prayers. The Blessed Trinity will never violate your free will. If you have a religious chant playing inside your head, demanding more and more novenas and devotions, it is a good indicator that you have crossed the line between healthy and unhealthy devotions. If that's the case, it's possible that you have committed the sin of idolatry and given demonic religious spirits access to your life.