Friday, May 07, 2010

What is Prelest?

A spiritual malady.
Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called  prelest, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest. - Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
Consider this precaution in light of all the heavenly messages and inspirations pious people seem to be receiving now days.  Consider the many locus sancti locutionists in many parts of the world today.  As in Fr. Gobbi's case, some may even have a large following.  Most of these people claim Christ or Our Lady speaks to them.  Often the words they receive accord with other approved private revelations - at least in tone.  The locutionists write down what they hear and sometimes publish the 'messages' without any official approval.  An exception would be in the case of someone with a spiritual director who may authorize the person to publish their messages - yet such 'permissions' do not have the same authority as Church approval. 
For example, the late Fr. Robert Fox counseled a local locutionist in Minnesota whose messages he gathered and eventually  published.  Spiritual directors can make mistakes; remember Fr. Fox had been gravely mislead by Fr. Gino of San Vittorino at one time.  The spiritual director is not the final authority in such cases.  Later, the locutionist Fr. Fox supported was subsequently asked to refrain from reading the messages on Church property by the archbishop.  To her credit she obeyed.
One must be cautious. 
Art:  Vision of St. Benedict: "A marvelous thing followed in this contemplation for, as he himself related afterwards, the whole world was brought before his eyes, gathered up, as it were, under a single ray of sun." - The Life of St Benedict - St Gregory the Great. Source


  1. Anonymous10:14 AM


    What do you think of Fr. Gobbi? Before reading your blog, I wasn't aware that there was anything suspicious about him.

  2. I tried to get into him - read all the locutions - went to see him in person - knew priests who were very enthusiastic about him and the messages.

    The predicted dates just didn't line up once too often for me and the messages seemed to line up too conveniently with the Medjugorje script and I thought to myself, "Nothing new here."

    I think it would be more honest if some of these mystics would say (when publishing their locutions) "these are my meditations while at prayer before the Blessed Sacrament". Don't try to convince people they are messages from heaven.

  3. Great spiritual wisdom here, Terry.
    My take on "locutions"?

    Wait until the person is dead.

    Bl. Mother Teresa's locutions, as given in "Come, be My Light" are authenticated.

    But we didn't know of them until long after she was dead.

    And they are TRUE!

    Thank you, Jesus!

  4. Thanks Father - I forgot about Mother's locutions - they panned out didn't they. :) I'm pretty sure we agree on these things... my voices come from the radiator. KIDDING!

  5. Terry: my voices come from the incessant barking of these incorrigible canines we call pets...
    at least they know enough to be quiet from 1-3PM (our silent hours)...
    damned dogs!

  6. Austringer4:34 PM

    Terry, my priest told me that the local locutionist you refer to did, in fact, disobey the archbishop: yes, she did stop reading the messages on church property, but he told me that she was also supposed to not publish them at all, but did in fact do so, with the assistance of Fr. Fox. He was furious that Fr. Fox had supported her.

  7. Terry: I read all of Fr. Gobbi's "locutions" word for word, many years ago; my superior and I even went to Holy Hill (a shrine outside of Milwaukee,WI) for a Mass and his talk.
    When the whole Medjugorje "thing" appeared in his "locutions" I immediately got turned off...I know, for a fact, that the visionaries are suspect's documented.
    What the Vatican commission will say is not my concern.
    I stay away from it all.
    Any believable mystic, in my humble opinion must be subject to the legitimate authority (even it is a pedophile, homosexual bishop...sorry, folks...Catholic teaching says that whoever is the bishop has the authority even if he's a pervert and in mortal sin).
    My "profile" for authentic mystics are the children of Fatima and St. Bernadette. Period.

  8. Same goes for me Father!


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.