Many are those, since the 1980s, when Medjugorje exploded onto the scene, who have claimed likewise to hear from on high.
The number of “seers” — but far more often, “locutionists” — has been in the hundreds, if not thousands (that is, those who have publicly proclaimed themselves as such; there would be no estimating those who have kept such “words of knowledge” private).
Often, that’s the best place for them: in the hidden domain of a person’s prayer life in the Rosary. For too often handling them otherwise makes us susceptible to deception.
How to tell if what we “hear” is real?
Concerning her locutions, the great Teresa of Avila wrote in her autobiography, “Though perfectly formed, the words are not heard with the bodily ear; yet they are understood much more clearly than if they were heard, and however determined one’s resistance, it is impossible to fail to hear them.
“For when, on the natural plane, we do not wish to hear, we can close our ears, or attend to something else.
“But when God talks in this way to a soul, there is no such remedy: I have to listen, whether I like it or not, and my understanding has to devote itself so completely to what God wishes me to understand that whether I want to listen or not makes no difference. ”
As for the difference between the words coming “from good spirits and evil ones,” or those caused “by the spirit conversing with itself,” the saint told her confessor that if a person is making it up himself, the person should be able to tell that he or she is exerting energy; that the mind “is not listening, but being active,” whereas with a true locution, “no such diversion is possible.”
Another way to separate them: a false locution has no effect, or makes one feel aridity, and often resettlement, while a real one leads the person “to affection” and makes one “happy and tranquil.”
“It costs no labor,” she further noted. Untrue locations cause fear. Holy locations have the attributes of love.
“In the one case it is as if the thing is there but we cannot be sure what it is, any more than if we were half asleep. In the other case there is a voice which is so clear that not a syllable of what it says is lost,” the saint added.
She called false ones “ravings of the mind.”
When they are real, “we listen as we should to a person of great holiness, learning, and authority who we know will not lie to us.”
Perhaps we will have more to say on this, in the next “special report” on prophecies, including alleged locations, of anti-christ.
For now, it is good to know that there are thus three major categories, according to Saint Teresa: “authentic ones,” directly from God; “false locutions” that the mind or subconscious formulates (these probably the most prevalent); and ones that are inserted into our patterns of thought by evil or familiar spirits.
False locutions are a test, said the Spanish saint — a temptation. They can be voluminous and yet are afterward forgotten. They have no lasting meaning or effect.
What the Lord imparts, on the other hand, cannot be erased. “For the Lord impresses His words upon the memory so that it is impossible to forget them, whereas the words that come from our own understanding are like the first movement of thought, which passes,” said this doctor of the Church, “and is forgotten.”
[Footnote: a quote from her: