Q : 
Some folks from the church introduced Catholic charismatic prayer practice. One of them said she was a prophet who could deliver Jesus’s raw thoughts about my life to me. I feel uncomfortable and weird. What is your opinion on this kind of prayer practice?
【 Question from 】 San Francisco, US

Fr. Francis : 

Charismatic or not, it is possible that Jesus can reveal His words and plans to any of the faithful. In fact, He often loves to do that. And if He chooses, He can give His words to us through someone else. We know several individuals in the Acts of the Apostles had that, like Ananias to Saul, Peter and Cornelius, the leaders of Antioch to Barnabas and Saul etc.

The experience you had therefore is not. Primarily about the charismatic gifts, but about how this particular individual exercises her gift of prophecy. Maybe if she were more tactful and a bit more pastoral, you would not have been as disturbed.

Typically when someone is exercising the gift of prophecy for another person, i.e., a gift that can speak a word from God for that person, we would not call it “raw”, since even a prophet can run the danger of being presumptuous. We train them to be discerning, especially with the individual we are ministering to. For example, if I am praying over a person, and a word comes to me, I may frame it as “I felt God is saying this to you…” and afterwards “Does that make sense to you?” And I would do that no matter how strong I felt about the word. Every word needs to be tested, and it can only be God’s word when it is proven true.

And frankly, even though I have been in the charismatic ministry for over 20 years, I would be intimidated by someone who claims to have raw thoughts of God about me.

But then, I am only commenting on her style or lack of, she might indeed have a genuine gift.I would recommend not to judge the charismatic movement based on one person, and you need not be disturbed by her claim. Get to know her better and you may discover a different story.

Lastly, when someone claims to have a word from the Lord, you don’t need to believe it right away. Scriptures say: test every spirit. Bring it to the Lord to see if it is true. And if this person or another is speaking nonsense to you, just politely move on. And if they insist that you have to believe it, just gently and firmly let them know that you still need to bring it to prayer. And if an individual weird you out or harass you, bring it to the leaders.

I hope this helps.