The Greek word, diakrisis, refers to distinguishing, dividing and judging, and it is used for discerning the spirits, for evaluating whence comes a particular communication. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 12:10 of a gift of recognizing spirits, and he lists it among sundry other charisms given to the faithful: preaching, faith, healing, working miracles, tongues and such like. The community is admonished in 1 Corinthians 14:29 to test the origin of the alleged communications from the prophets. (Authenticity, Thomas Dubay)
I went ahead and used John of the Cross’s term for communications from God, supernatural locutions. It seems to be a nice, neat way to succinctly describe these kind of communications.
On two extended flights — periods of intense work with God, of extraordinarily brilliant visions, or completely altered consciousness on my part — I can say without hesitation that I was messed with.
During flights, I find that my normally bull-headed response to anything from God (oh, yeah? prove it! show me! let me break it down into its most fundamental parts!) is set aside. Instead, in flight over the abyss that separates God and man, I open myself up as completely as I can in order to survive the experience, in order follow the wind on which I find myself flying.
So my buffers are not in place. And I do not spend an inordinate amount of time disassembling the vision into minute parts and putting it back together again, studying each part until my mind grows numb from the exertion. Instead, I take what I receive and I run with it.
I have only my faith and trust in God as fuel.
And, I suppose, trust in myself.
Because if there is one thing I can say about myself as a mystic, it’s that I have paid attention.
What is “said.” How it is “said.” The context in which it is “said.” That kind of thing.
And twice I have noticed that the pattern is broken. That the qualities of the supernatural locutions are different. That “things” don’t go in the usual way.
I’ve thought about it, and realize that there are at least four different ways in which God and that-which-is-not-God reveal themselves for who they are.
By formality, I am not implying that God treats himself like a member of royalty and separates himself from through his language. That’s not it. It’s more, the messages have a solidity to them that cannot be confused as coming from any other source.
For example, once I was told, Your impatience is unbecoming.
I was young. I naturally thought I was being told that my impatience with my work was displeasing to God.
But that wasn’t it at all.
Instead, I was taught — over time — that if I were to be impatient with a plant that I was caring for, and in my impatience for it to grow I overwatered it, it would never have the chance to become what it was supposed to be.
Who could do such a thing with language as this? Taking simple terms, used by us every day, and turn them into profound wisdom?
Conversely, during the times that I felt interfered with, the information was much more personal. Perhaps personal about someone else, perhaps personal about me. It bordered on gossip, really. And it took advantage of feelings I had, curiosity or resentment or other emotions, about the situation between myself and the other person to keep me riveted.
Kind of like a reality show on television that we hate and watch, from time to time, out of the corner of our eyes.
With God, the emphasis is only on my learning and understanding. My spiritual growth. With the devil, I feel more like I am being led down a beautiful path of roses, just so that I can find myself impaled on all the thorns.
In my experience, my visions from God are repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated and. . . .
The study of one vision can go on for years, decades sometimes, and during that time, I am never given a chance to forget what I am working on.
Like a dripping of golden dew into my soul, the words come, The lesson of the rose is. . . .
The messages are static, in that they involve little, if any, change. The lesson of the rose is . . . .
Again and again and again.
The unGod, on the other hand, gives messages that appear linear: they seem to be going somewhere. If only I would follow along. Come on. Try to keep up. I’m not going to wait all day.
With God, all there is is patience. There is never a time-stamp on anything. No dead lines. Time is not a factor.
With the not-God, all there is is a sense of urgency. Let’s get this done, now. And there is time association: do this now.
I have the ability — we all have the ability — to turn my back on God. I can say, no, go away, leave me alone.
And I have exercised this right to distance a couple of times in my life.
I can return to God in my time. And I am always welcomed back without judgment or recrimination.
In his own right, God can be silent with me. I can try to demand an answer to something burning in my heart, and receive absolutely nothing.
My experience with the antiChrist is that no matter how many times I tell it to go away and leave me alone, my words are never respected. In fact, the lack of respect for me is never in evidence. It may be implied. It may be hinted at. But, in reality, it’s like a cold that will do what it does in its own time.
Ah, yes. The real key. The true test.
Does what is given in the vision appear eventually in reality? Can I hear its echo in scripture? Does my “research” into its content hold up to my scrupulous examination? Does it hold true no matter how much time goes by, no matter how my life conditions change?
And that’s the real trick.
I’m something of a bold mystic. The times that I have been “infected,” my reaction has been, fine, let’s do this thing. And I run the visions to the end of their course. I challenge the visions back, not the way I do with God, I don’t demand itemized explanations of everything.
I just say, if this is what you want from me, then this is what you will get from me.
Saying, yes, to that which is not right has the power of blowing the whole thing out of the water. It’s a very effective means of spiritual warfare.
Because Satan doesn’t want cooperation. Doesn’t want respect. Doesn’t seek fulfillment. Instead, he is out to derail me. Confuse me. Separate me from God.
It’s amazing how giving evil respect will disorient it to a point of disintegration.
Evil does not seek respect. It craves resistance, anger, heartbreak.
And, in the end, I get to walk into the thorns and have to spend time picking them out of my skin.
It takes a while.
But the process of flummoxing evil is more than worth it.