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Anonymous wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was born Catholic, I am currently Catholic, and will die a Catholic. I'm a teen who has just started my relationship with God since the end of this summer.

I have a FIC (Family in Christ). We get together for dinners and have music and pray. Before we end, we have prayers and we rest in the Holy Spirit.

Last time we had a dinner and it was my turn to get prayed over, I surrendered my all to Him, and people said I went through a big break down. The next day my friend called me asking how all that happened to me last night. He explained every time he gets pray over he doesn't rest in the Holy Spirit and he asked me how I did it and how it felt.

Afterwards, he told me that he feels his gift is knowledge. Every time he has a question about religion, the answer will come to his head, so I was wondering if I have a gift. He told me something about the gift of emotions. I do really get emotional when it comes to my faith.
At times when I receive the Eucharistic in church I cry a little.

Last time my best friend and I were talking about the problems she was having with her faith and, just when I started to give my opinion, I got goose bumps and I felt this really hot ball come into my chest and I started crying, non-stop. I talked to my godfather about it and he said it was the Holy Spirit coming into me confirming what I was telling my friend was correct.

My question is:

  • Is the gift of emotions a gift and, if so, could I have it?

Anonymous

  { Is the gift of emotions a gift and, if so, could I have it? }

John replied:

Dear Anonymous,

It sounds like you are involved in some kind of Charismatic community. I consider myself a Charismatic and embrace the gifts but over the decades, I've found that we must proceed with caution, while still being open to the Holy Spirit. There are many Spiritual Gifts and there are many misunderstandings about them. Resting in the Spirit, or being slain in the Spirit, is not a gift. It's simply our physical reaction to the presence of God.

I must add that unfortunately a lot of it is hype. I'm not discounting the genuine experience.
I've had such experiences but I've also seen a lot hype. In some cases, a lot of pressure is put on people to fall down. The people praying over them end up pushing them back and there are those that just seek it for the sake of the experience — that almost becomes a sort of idolatry.
We should seek out God because He's God, not because we want a particular experience.

Because there is a lot of flakiness out there, I would advise you to test every experience against the Scriptures and Church Teaching. If you don't have a Catechism perhaps you can buy one or maybe ask for one as a Christmas present. They aren't that expensive. I think they run around $20 to $25 dollars these days. Obviously, you should have a Bible too.

All the gifts and private prophecies should be tested. If they disagree with Church Teaching then they aren't from God. They could just be our opinion or even worse, from an unholy source.

That is not to say that these gifts aren't real. It is sad that too many reject them because they don't understand them or they don't want to be seen as weird. As a result, many Charismatics have gone off in their own little corner, without the benefit of sound guidance of people who are doctrinally sound. Too often our Catholic Charismatics have gotten much of their teaching from our Protestant brothers who don't have the benefit of Church's Teaching Authority.

As for the spiritual gift of emotion it's not one of the gifts listed either in the Scriptures or the Catechism but that doesn't mean you can't have an emotional response or experience because you've been touched by the Holy Spirit.

We have to be careful not to confuse an actual spiritual gifts such as:

  • tongues
  • prophesy
  • healing, and
  • so forth

with our physical or emotional response to the presence of the Holy Spirit. The most important thing you can do is to continue to seek the Lord. Seek to live a holy life. Participate in the sacraments. If and when it's possible, spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and, Yes, be open to every real gift the Lord has for you. Accept the experiences, but don't seek them for the sake of the experience. These are wonderful gifts, but not spiritual gifts in the sense of the Spiritual Gifts spoken about in the Scriptures. You can read more about Spiritual gifts in Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and I Corinthians 12, 13, and 14. Each of them has a purpose and function in the Body of Christ.

You should also read the Catechism. Make sure you become doctrinally sound. Learn the faith as you draw closer to the Lord. St. Paul admonishes us to walk by the Spirit, but also to use our minds to grow deep in the faith. We need a balance of faith and reason. By all means we are to be led by Spirit but we must know the Word of God and the doctrines of the Church, so that we can confirm what we hear from the Spirit, is indeed from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will never contradict what He has already revealed to Holy Mother Church in the Scripture or Sacred Tradition. For that reason, the Catechism is a very good guide for you. You can also get the youth Catechism or the American Bishops catechism. They might be easier for you to read and understand.

Again, it is truly wonderful that you are growing in your faith — that you've given your life over to God, but God didn't leave us without a guide. He's given us His Word, but also given us the Church. Our relationship with the Lord, is not independent of our relationship with the Church which is the Body of Christ, and His Teaching Authority on earth.

I hope this helps. Please stay in touch.

God Bless,

John

Anonymous replied:

Thank-you John!

Anonymous

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