Hi everyone. I hope that all who celebrated Thanksgiving Day today had a good and peaceful one. Am spending the day doing little chores and projects, and re-reading Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's (Pope Benedict XVI) wonderful book, "The Spirit of the Liturgy."
I have been taking a little break from continuing the topic I started regarding why God seems, and most probably is indeed, responding to fewer prayers for miraculous and other graced cures of physical or mental illness and/or for longer lifetimes. I know what needs to be explained, of course, but weary of having to cover these topics since it of course all comes back to the same thing, which is truthful faith in the truthful one God while living in a sane and truthful world that was created as such by God.
While thinking about various things just now, though, I deduced (since no one really asks me to my face) another question/misunderstanding that I'm sure many people have, and this, while a very important topic, I can indeed make short work of and raise and answer here and now.
I've written before that extra-sensory perception (ESP) is a bona fide physical and mental capability that both people and animals have to various degrees. Here is my point, which is twofold:
1. ESP has absolutely nothing to do with spirituality. It is simply an ability, like good eyesight or good hearing, manual dexterity, or ability to learn languages quickly. Everyone has the capacity but there is a wide range of talent and natural ability from person to person, and that variety has absolutely NOTHING to do with spirituality.
2. Therefore, God does NOT use ESP to communicate with human beings AT ALL. In fact, the opposite is true because the stronger a person's talent in ESP the less he or she is in contact with God. This is because a person with ESP is in contact with other ESP sources, not God.
To explain that point, suppose that God is a beam of light, but you have a really good TV set that can pick up lots of channels. Those channels are TV signals that your device is receiving, not a beam of light sent out by God. The better your TV set the better the picture, the more channels you receive, etc, but a better TV set that is designed to pick up more cable, airwaves or satellite TV channels does not make it a device that picks up God's unique beam of light. This is kind of a "duh" moment if you think about it.
The problem is that the "New Age" generation has totally confused ESP with spirituality and that has lead to, well, there is no nice way to put it, much mental insane crap being assigned to communication "from God" AND the supposed "spirituality" and (puke) "giftedness" of the ESP using or receiving person. Again, it's like saying a great TV set makes you the Pope.
The more a person develops or relies on their real (or worse, imagined or faked) ESP ability, the less he or she receives even the most elementary genuine communication or communion with God. That is because all one is doing is working on one's TV antenna or cable or dish and pointing it more and more to other human generated channels, rather than even realizing that God is using a light (to use our analogy) and not a TV channel. All the ESP person is doing is reading other people's bologna stronger and stronger, and thus not even thinking about communicating with the real God. So when a person says that God is "telling" him or her something by "putting it in their heart" or having a vision or whatever, if they are using ESP they are getting that intuition (to use a polite word) from one of three places:
1. Other people's thoughts and impulses, transmitted by ESP.
2. One's own unconsciousness and desires. It is a VERY COMMON situation where a person who is not really in touch with their unconscious in a genuine unvarnished way is susceptible to the unconscious using the ESP ability of the person to communicate with the consciousness of that same person. That is how many false prophets develop and ultimate mislead many people because even though the ideas may seem like "godly" ones ("build a ministry here," or "follow one's heart there," or "I have the real answer and knowledge of God's will") the ESP is simply channeling, to use our TV analogy, information from one's own self fulfillment unconscious desires and projections. It's like your unconscious is a TV channel that you don't even know exists, but wants your attention, so it grabs onto the "ESP" channel that you have and taps in there. So you think (erroneously) that your ESP TV channel is pointing to God (first error) and then the second error is that your own unconscious seeps into that channel and you for sure think you are getting a "personal message" from God (second error).
3. Demonic forces. Satan rarely messes with individual people but demons most certainly do. I don't mean demons such as evil spirits and so forth per se, but I mean the miasma of sin and temptations constantly ooze from hell and many humans just can't seem to resist. The desire for power and control is an example of a principality, a power, that oozes from the gates of hell (placed there, of course, by the sinners who occupy hell) and ESP most certainly can pick that up. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, as the saying goes, but it is mostly paved by pride and the desire for "specialness," to be a "player" in "divine matters." This is why developing one's "powers" in this arena is a grave sin and usually fatal error.
How does anyone know that God does not use ESP to communicate or "work" through with humans? When I explain this to you it will be another "duh" moment. Because God is everywhere and accessible to everyone, baby or adult, educated or not, rich or poor, black or white, talented or just ordinary, spiritually inclined or everyday Joe. The simplest prayer by the simplest person is just as received by God as the most complex prayer, and likewise no special means is necessary. In fact, Jesus even criticized the self satisfaction of the Pharisee who prayed in the same temple as the humble publican who repeated only one phrase over and over. Prayer and sacrifice have been established by God since he first made himself known to Adam and Eve as the way to communicate with him and receive responses in turn. Neither prayer nor sacrifice have anything to do with any talent, whether it be the ability to have 20/20 vision in one's eyes, one's hearing, or one's ESP. Everyone who prays is heard by God (though that does not mean that unacceptable prayer is going to get the desired answer from God). Again, it has nothing to do with talent.
Further, we see throughout faith history that God makes himself known to those who receive legitimate revelation from him in ways that are totally separate from any talent or arcane ability. The Bible is filled with God giving communication to people separate from any "talent" they have. This is one reason that God will appear as an angel for some people while not for others, as we see in scriptures. God gives the information in the way best suited for the person; not because the person is "best suited" to receive information from God. Another "duh" moment. God is so great that he adjusts his light to the person he chooses to communicate with, not the arrogant and prideful opposite assumption that so many have, that God communes and communicates with those who have the "talent" or the (puke) "giftedness" or "spirituality."
When it is God's will to respond to a prayer or to communicate with a person, he stoops down and adjusts to do so accordingly. God does not "shop around" for the person with the "best ability" to so called "hear him." God selects the person and that's that; God makes himself known through the ways he always has.
For the vast majority of people that means to be in commune, not communicate, with God through prayer. Notice I use both words as they have separate meanings. To be in commune with God means that you are in thoughtful companionship with each other. To communicate means to give information and with God, often it is one sided where the human prays to God to express himself (such as a prayer of intention) and he receives in return the communing with God, God's understanding, love and fellowship, but not usually an answer. That is the proper balance and that is reality.
The object of daily prayer and one's daily devotionals and general awareness of God is to maintain an air of commune with God, to seek his support in general by giving God one's awareness, fearful respect, love and worshipfulness in one's general demeanor in prayer. Then one, against that backdrop of being a person who is close to God, can pray and hope for communication with the proper context and in proper relationship with God. One spends much of one's time in prayer respectfully "hanging out" with God; that is commune with God and that is the purpose of prayer.
I hope that you have found this helpful.