This Week’s Ask Alice: Discerning Spirits. Dealing with apparitions.



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Carolyn Asks: My youngest daughter has twice seen a man during Mass that is wearing what she calls “Ellis Island” clothing. Yesterday at Holy Thursday service, she witnessed him during the consecration. She said he genuflected, put his cap on (touring cap) and walked out the back. He is older (she described a bowl cut hairstyle). She is very uncomfortable about this. As side note, recently, while spending the night at a friend’s house, she witnessed what she described as three ghosts . I called our priest about that. We went to confession asap. She slept on our floor for a month. She’s okay, now. She’s 16 years old. Should I find her a spiritual director?

Alice Answers: It is a privilege to answer your question. I believe your daughter has a special gift. She sees spirits because the eyes of her heart are open wide to Christ, and to the members of His Mystical Body.

Many years ago, during the consecration at Mass, I saw John, our deceased parish business manager. He was on the left side of the church, behind the altar. John had been kind to me when we served together on the Parish Council. Seeing him brought tears to my eyes by reminding me that, even in death, we remain connected, through the Body of Christ.

One evening at a party, I was telling a friend about seeing John’s spirit. An elderly priest approached and told me I had been given a gift.

Many people see spirits. Through the years, relatives, friends, and even complete strangers have shared their stories with me.

Spirits exist, whether or not we are aware of their presence. There are good and evil spirits all around us. Good spirits appear to bring us messages, comfort or assistance.

Sometimes, souls appear, asking us to pray for their release from Purgatory. Or, a soul might manifest, asking us to tell a loved one that they are well and happy.

Evil spirits also sometimes make their presence known, to people both good and bad. They tempt, taunt, disturb, and attempt to lure people away from God.

Scripture tells us to test the spirits:

“Beloved, do not trust every spirit, but put the spirits to a test to see if they belong to God.” (1John 4:1)

If your daughter has not engaged in occult practices, utilizing a Ouija board or Tarot cards, exploring Wicca, or visiting a psychic, then she most likely has not opened the door to evil spirits.

Since your daughter was cautious and uncomfortable toward the spirits she encountered, she seems to be wise in faith. If she has a good relationship with the Lord, then you can be reasonably sure that her mysticism comes from God.

As you have already demonstrated, frequent reception of the sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Penance are most important to your daughter’s spiritual growth and strength. Prayer and visits to the Blessed Sacrament will draw your daughter closer to the Lord.

Hopefully, she has some Catholic friends to help support and encourage her, in her faith.

Should you seek a spiritual director for your daughter? That’s a tough question!

Some priests, not having experienced mystical experiences themselves, may be squeamish and/or skeptical about such things, and may not be of much help. Pray that if God desires a spiritual director for your daughter, He will lead you to that person. A spiritual director doesn’t have to be a priest or religious, but might be a lay man or woman, who has been given the gift of wisdom.

“To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…Prophecy is given to one; to another power to distinguish one spirit from another.” (1 Corinthians 12:7, 10)

Clearly, God has given your daughter spiritual gifts and a loving, devoted mother to watch over and guide her. She is indeed blessed! As the late, soon to be beatified, Pope John Paul II liked to say, “Be not afraid!”

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

EWTN Q&A Forum on the subject with related links

Book excerpt from Google Books by noted author, theologian and philosopher Peter Kreeft, on the subject (see pages 32-35).

Seven kinds of ghosts

Seven steps to self deliverance

Useful Prayer Resources

A collection of related Q&A’s

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns