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Vol.III, Aug. '97

 

Watch After My Sheep! (cf. Acts 20,31)

Dear Brothers in the Priesthood!

At the beginning of this year, a series of six articles on "Sects and satanic cults", appeared in the daily Osservatore Romano " whereby was noted the "interest of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith". In a similar vein of thought, the Archbishop of Cologne, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, started his mission there by telling his clergy that discernment is the second most needed gift for the priestly ministry today. It is not enough to have academically learned the principles of the spiritual life and of discernment. St. Paul says: "To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, ... and to another the ability to distinguish between spirits" (1 Cor 12,10). If discernment is a gift, a charism of the Holy Spirit , then it has to be seen within the larger context of the entire spiritual and supernatural organism. The forbidden fruit, both then and now, promises to be "a delight to the eyes" (Gn 3,6). The devil has not ceased to go "disguised as an angel of light" (2 Cor 11,14); he is still "seeking some one to devour" (1 Petr 5,8).

As priests we are spiritual fathers, we live and move in a world filled with subtle spirits. In addition to all the application of common sense and sharp reason, we need the assistance of divine grace, the purity of a selfless heart in which the "Finger of God" can write and guide us. For this so necessary charism of discernment let us humbly and confidently implore the Holy Spirit.

We are sending you a pamphlet on the practical, but still academic side of the discernment of spirits. May these reflections help you on a rational level and may the holy Angels help you to find the time for a silent day of recollection with time of adoration and interior conversation with our Lord. For those who already meet on a regular basis the booklet may serve to stimulate a practical discussion, a fruitful exchange of experiences and reciprocal support by prayer.

Fr Titus Kieninger ORC