Have you ever had an experience where you needed to test the spirits, and discern: Is this of God or not? Is this truth or a lie dressed up and neatly packed together?
I went to an all-girls Catholic high school. My senior year I took a theology class. Very quickly, I began to realize our teacher was saying and teaching things my parents had not taught me about my faith. Many of the things were contrary to what the Catholic Church taught, professed, and believed. It was awkward and confusing. I came home and talked about it all with my parents. We tested the spirits of what I heard and held it up against what we knew to be Truth.
Saint John the Apostle gives the early Church strong warnings to not trust every spirit moving about freely in the world (1 John 4:1-2). His guidance is even more relevant today when the political and cultural times we live in feel very confusing.
Be discerning and wise. Ask weighty questions. Wrestle with what is put before you. Hold up answers to the light of truth found in what the Catholic Church teaches. Direct your questions to trusted mentors, spiritual guides, or your pastor. Ask yourself: Is this truth? Is this of God? Is this found in Church Tradition or in Sacred Scripture?
The Holy Spirit is our ever-present guide, and leads us to the fullness of truth found only in Jesus Christ.
Testing the spirits in your own life and experience may be a little more complex than a high school religion class. But each of us will have life experiences and situations where we need to test the spirits of this world.
We have a vast array of resources online to read up on the Church's teaching. See the Catechism available here, Encyclicals here, and a Catholic encyclopedia here.
Patty Breen is a full-time lay minister who finds joy in running, strong cups of coffee, and all things Ignatian spirituality. A Midwest gal from the mitten state, she is constantly learning to find grace in all things. She is passionate about ministry to divorced Catholic and women whose relationships have been impacted by sexual addiction. Find out more about her here.