"Shall we all be saved? Shall we go to Heaven? Alas, my children, we do not know at all! But I tremble when I see so many souls lost these days. See, they fall into Hell as leaves fall from the trees at the approach of winter." (St. John Vianney)
It is alarming the amount of New Age Productions Psychic Nights that continue popping up at many of the diners, restaurants, and even books stores across the city. And in attendance at these events are a number of Catholics who have no idea that they are placing their souls in jeopardy and are taking a risk in opening up portals to invite evil spirits into their lives. What is the harm, right? But I miss my loved ones who have died and I simply want to make sure they are OK? Why is the Church always trying to tell me what to do? Why are there so many "rules"? What is the big deal? Well, I think the salvation of one's soul is a huge deal, and we should be concerned about each other's sanctification as members of the Mystical Body of Christ. The salvation of our souls is in jeopardy when we begin to dabble with the things of the darkness, and start to take a walk on the edge of the Devil's Playground. Make no mistake, Hell is for real.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2115-2117) addresses the issue of New Age practices. When individuals are suffering, instead of turning to the Lord for healing they often look to "false gods". Idolatry is when faith in God wanes and there is a lack of fidelity in the truth; that we can unite our suffering to the suffering of Jesus Christ. The Catechism (n. 2116) states:
"All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone." (n. 2116)
The Church teachings support and re-affirm what scripture says:
"You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them," (Deuteronomy 5:7-9)
“Let there not be found among you anyone who causes their son or daughter to pass through the fire, or practices divination, or is a soothsayer, augur, or sorcerer, or who casts spells, consults ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead"? (Deuteronomy 18:10-13)
The Church does not act on its own accord just to come up with any old "rules" that are deemed to be necessary for no apparent reason. The "rules" are set in place to protect our souls and preserve them for God alone. We follow the Ten Commandments because we love God, Who gave us life, and we want to do what is pleasing to Him. God desires for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven in a state of perpetual bliss. The Church; the Bride of Christ, waits for the day that She can go to the place that which Jesus has prepared for Her. (John 14:2) We must be ready for the Wedding of the Lamb with a chaste and pure heart that beats with a burning love that is reserved for Christ alone. (Revelation 19:7) Our eyes must be fixed on the things of Heaven, and not on the things of this world. We can not become holy and without blemish if our gaze turns away from Christ, Who is Eternal, and we instead choose to focus on that which cannot fulfill us; the finite materials of the earth. Our hunger will never be satisfied unless our hearts, minds, and souls are set on Christ.
When we make our own wills and desires the center of our lives they become our "idols," and we distance ourselves more and more from God. We think that we know best and know more than God, which is a grave offense against our Father because we are making ourselves out to be "little gods." But we know that there is only one God, and we are not Him. Trust and confidence is no longer placed in the Father, but is placed in the "idol". We then no longer abide in Him because the God-sized hole in our heart becomes filled with things other than God. Pride, the deadliest of sins, consumes our soul and becomes the portal through which other sins enter; that which takes away the rightful authority of God Who reigns over our hearts.
It was the sin of pride that led to the fall of mankind by our first parents choosing to allow doubt to enter into their hearts. They questioned the Love of God, and placed their faith in a lowly creature; the serpent, rather than in their Creator. When we turn to forms of divination, such as fortune tellers mediums, etc., we are committing the same sin as our first parents. We are placing our trust in "man" rather than in our Heavenly Father. (Psalm 146:3) Christ has said that He will reveal to us what we need to know in His time not our own time. (Luke 12:2)
Why is the sin of pride running rampant in our culture and in our society? We are looking to fill a void in our hearts; the empty space that leaves us always hungering for more and never being completely satisfied. We want and yearn for something that we cannot seem to find anywhere, and continue to seek in all of the wrong places. There is a continuous looking and searching for something that does not exist in the material things of this world, whether it be fortune tellers, psychics, tarot cards, Ouija boards, etc. The truth is that the emptiness and space in our hearts can only be filled by the Love of God. We have a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and nothing can fill it except for Him.
Because of the stain of original sin we have the natural inclination towards sin; concupiscence. Every one of us can be overcome by temptation as the Devil is the master of deceit and lies, and that is why it is imperative that we have a meaningful prayer life and frequently receive the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist. We are in great need of God's gift of grace to help us to arm ourselves in the spiritual battle, so that we do not yield to the whims of the evil one and fall astray.
We all have the same ultimate goal to become a saint as we continue on the path to holiness, and we need to help one another to get there. It is through the Church that we are led to the Truth, and it is by being united to the Head as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, that we can gain strength and grow in our love for the Triune God. We need to pray for our Catholic brothers and sisters that they may come to realize what is really happening at these psychic events; that they are dabbling in the occult and practicing divination of the New Age, and that it is not innocent fun and games. But we also have to understand that we will only see the truth in God's time not in our own time. We need to be patient with others and gently guide them back Home by being a witness of Christ in the world. However, we do have the responsibility as Catholics to inform those who turn away from the truth, but not to convince; that is for God to do by the work of the Holy Spirit. Saint Bernadette Soubirous once said, "My job is to inform not to convince".
As practicing Catholics who love our faith we need to live our lives in imitation of the Good Shepherd, and help to bring fallen away Catholics, and misinformed Catholics back Home to the Church. We need to let others know that we can come to Christ feeling broken, defeated, and lost, and be set free from the burden of our sins by receiving the Sacrament of Confession. It is because God is Love and there is nothing we can do that will turn Him away from us. If we are distant it is because we have chosen to turn away from Him and reject God's Love. Jesus is "The Way, The Truth, and The Life," (John 14:6) and if we allow Him, Christ will always guide us back to our Father.