How Should One React to Inauthentic Apparitions?

The importance of authentic apparitions consists not only of their confirming well-known truths and asking for their fulfilment but also in the exceptional graces of God that are attached to them, strengthening a person for his conversion. In this sense, the authentic apparitions are irreplaceable. 

We, the believers know in essence what we have to do, but we do not do it. Even if we want to change for the better, we lack enthusiasm for conversion. Therefore, it is very reasonable to use this exceptional offer of God in the framework of apparitions. For this we need only to be able to recognise whether the apparition is authentic or inauthentic and to act accordingly.

In order to determine whether an apparition in inauthentic, it is enough to find that one piece of information is untrue. Many inexperienced people underestimate this important advice. When they find suspicious and untrue information, instead of critically verifying it, they excuse it and keep considering the apparition to be authentic. Later, when bewildering information appears in these apparitions, they also consider it to be true and usually promote it emotionally and sometimes even fanatically.

Caution is required if we come into contact with information from an unknown apparition. In inauthentic apparitions spiritual messages with unobjectionable material are usually at first spread, containing ordinarily familiar calls for prayer, conversion, fasting and similar, which is in order. More suspicious surprising information is usually conveyed orally and intimately at first. But an experienced person, especially one who has good theological knowledge, will notice seemingly non-defective, mild discrepancies even in spiritual messages.

For example, repeatedly flattering the visionary, or, as the case may be, his group or his nation often appears in the spiritual messages of inauthentic apparitions. An intimate form of address, e.g. “My Little Pebble” is used to flatter the visionary; “My Clear Springs” is used for groups meeting in the visionary’s home and for the national sentiment it is said “Your Country has been chosen for the others’ salvation” etc. Let us notice that anything like this does not occur in authentic apparitions, even though in exceptional cases, they contain well-founded praise.

Let us mention several cases from presumed authentic apparitions in Medjugorje. The following messages were uttered: “This parish has been chosen by me…Thank you for coming today…I do not want to force anybody to do what he himself does not want to…In recent times some have been enquiring for a message out of curiosity and not out of piousness…I wish to tell you that your prayer pleases me greatly but there are many in the parish who do not pray...No, you are not able to listen with love to the words which I say to you…Several times I have given you a message, but you did not listen to me.” In these messages it is possible to feel a certain repeated criticism and calls to conversion - and well-founded praise only exceptionally. It can also be felt that the appearing being has realistic insight into concrete people’s lives.

If a person has contact with a visionary who has inauthentic apparitions, he will get to know further details from the apparition, for example, that something will happen in a certain period of time, that a certain person is the Antichrist, that the Pope has a double, that a priest in a state of deadly sin does not transubstantiate validly and so on. This is already serious information clearly indicating an inauthentic apparition. Once some person has already believed mistakenly that an apparition is authentic, he endeavours to believe even the wrong information.

Let us now make a few notes regarding the importance and spreading of inauthentic apparitions. Although information from inauthentic apparitions mostly has negative effects, even a positive effect can come from them.

Since it is undeniable that on many occasions, inauthentic apparitions activate people, albeit often in the wrong direction, it is necessary to realise that today, people are becoming more and more indifferent to everything positive especially to spiritual things. People do not show interest in a spiritual awakening, regardless of whether these impulses are presented in a modern or classic spirit, which is a very alarming situation.

The influence of inauthentic apparitions also awakens some people from spiritual indifference. They start praying and changing; however, after some time, their interest begins to concentrate on satisfying their curiosity and on enlightening other people. By proper guidance from God or man, the interest of these people can sometimes be altered to aim at more perfect understanding and actions. Cases are not rare in which an atheist begins to take an interest in such things as occult practices and, through the influence of people’s or God’s acting, his development ends up being directed toward a genuine relation with God.

Sometimes, one’s spiritual awakening is also achieved in the cases of inauthentic apparitions, regardless of whether he is a non-believer or a believer. He will experience a feeling that the supernatural does exist and then, if he has good will for sincerely seeking the truth, he will be able to start to gradually perceive more perfect teachings and to realise them in his life. Such an approach can be judged to be positive.

It is necessary to realise that we all are advancing from being less perfect or even faulty toward greater perfection. The perfect way to God cannot be imposed on people by force. It is necessary for them to accept it freely in the moment prepared by God. However, if one is a believer, he should be on guard the moment he sees that the apparition seems to be inauthentic; he should stop contacting the source of information and not justify further contact on grounds of accepting only the valid things coming from it. If someone persistently defends inauthentic apparitions, it is necessary to calmly explain to him the defects in the apparition and to imply to him not to set his heart on such inauthentic apparitions. Usually, such a person will not change his opinion immediately, but if he has at least a little sense for truth, in the course of time he will become aware of the defects in the apparitions and will leave this source of knowledge.

 
 
 
 

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