Reader recommendation: “Authenticity” by Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M.

 authenticity

A couple of Amazon reviews of a book recently recommended by one of our readers:

4.0 out of 5 stars Fr. Dubay exposes the dangers of self-deception, November 12, 1999
By  Mark A. Osborne (Montgomery Village, MD USA) – See all my reviews

I was interested in this book because of the topic and the author. The topic, because of my 15 years in a charismatic community which professed to be able to discern the movements of the Holy Spirit and his counterfeits. The author because I respect him after reading Fire Within.

Thomas Dubay argues that the gift of discernment of spirits is real, but it is reserved for the mature, well-trained, obedient person. It is not a gift that should be claimed rashly for oneself. Fr. Dubay emphasizes the role of Church authority in determining the validity of private revelations. He mentions how St. John of the Cross warned readers to beware of private locutions, even legitimate ones. We are not to run after extraordinary phenomena for their own sake, but should be content with an ordinary life of prayer and sacrament. Even when St. John believed he had personally heard from God, he consulted a priest. If the priest disagreed with John’s revelation, John would always obey the confessor.

Thomas Dubay systematically discusses the pitfalls in discernment. For example, he discusses how even a valid “word” from God may be misinterpreted by even the sincere, mature Christian.

He uses the scriptures and the Spanish mystics to describe the qualities of a prophet. He describes the importance of conversion to Christ in being able to discern his will. Other elements are important too: obedience to authority in the larger Church. Unity of a community is an essential sign that it is being guided by the Holy Spirit. An appreciation for sound doctrine. The living of a moral life.

The author’s musings on the selectivity of our minds in rationalizing our positions, particularly in dissent against the magisterium, made me examine my conscience. There was a passage that jived perfectly with The Seven Storey Mountain, which I had just finished.

 

 
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Gourmet Chicken Soup for the Soul, April 14, 2002
By  Zachary Flummerfelt (Wichita, Kansas USA) – See all my reviews

Seldom is a work on prayer and discernment so clear, comforting, and intellectually stimulating. This work is excellent for Catholics looking for an orthodox, contemporary work on discernment. Fr. Dubay, a widely renowned spirtitual director and expert on Sts. Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross, dispels the myths surrounding authentic mysticism.Many are suprised when they hear that St. John of the Cross was extremely skeptical of all private revelations and illuminism. He submitted all of his discernment thoughts to the test of offical Church teachings and the opinion of his confessor. Sound reasoning and many Scriptural references demonstrate that authentic discerment derives from steady prayer, spiritual reading and obediance.

I also highly recommend this work to Protestants. Fr. Dubay has soaked this work with Scripture. He clarifies the often misunderstood Catholic concept of genuine mysticism which is often mistaken for gnosticism or superstition.

Sufficed to say Fr. Dubay’s clear yet gentle way of caring for souls is rare. Few are able to write such a practical work that is free from the campy, “how-to” shallowness of modern spiritual writing.

See it or buy it at Amazon

Book suggestion by:  lindsayraemyers