Item description for A Still, Small Voice: A Practical Guide on Reported Revelations by Benedict J. Groeschel...
Overview Father Groeschel, the highly respected author, psychologist, spiritual director and leader of renewal in the religious life, has written a brief but comprehensive practical guide for all those interested in private revelations, the reports of visions and other extraordinary religious phenomena that are so widespread in these times. Because of the intense interest in extraordinary religious experience that ranges from Medjugorje to the New Age, Groeschel's book is an urgently needed resource that gives practical norms to everyone on how to evaluate these claims. Drawing on spiritual classics and Church documents not readily available, he summarizes the Church's perennial wisdom on this topic. He also offers an alternative to unusual and extraordinary ways of knowing the things of God, which is a normal everyday opportunity open to all called "religious experience"--the action of grace operating in the context of a human life that can become a powerful source of virtue and holiness. Father Groeschel skillfully directs the reader to the humbler and safer path which discerns God's presence in prayer, Scripture, the sacraments and love of neighbor. The great example of this path to holiness is St. Thirhse of Lisieux who, though having very few extraordinary experiences, was filled with a profound awareness of God's presence and said, "To ecstasy, I prefer the monotonof sacrifice."
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Benedict Joseph Groeschel, C.F.R. (born July 23, 1933) is a Catholic priest, retreat master, author, psychologist, activist and former host of the television talk program Sunday Night Prime, which is broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network. He has also hosted several serial religious specials in addition to Sunday Night Prime. He is the founder of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York as well as a former associate director of Trinity Retreat and a former executive director of the St. Francis House. He is professor of pastoral psychology at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York and an adjunct professor at the Institute for Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virginia. He is one of the founders of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
Groeschel has received wide public attention through his preaching engagements, writing and television appearances. He is the author of over 30 books and has recorded more than 100 audio and video series. He publishes articles in several Catholic magazines on a monthly basis and posts a weekly meditation on the Oratory of Divine Love website. His most recent books include The Tears of God (2008), Questions and Answers About Your Journey to God (2007), The Virtue Driven Life (2006), Why Do We Believe? (2005) and There Are No Accidents: In All Things Trust in God (2004). His weekly television program, Sunday Night Live with Father Benedict Groeschel, offers a mix of interviews, answering viewer questions and discussing spiritual and social matters relating to the Catholic faith.
Groeschel has also been a highly visible Catholic activist, first in the civil rights movement. He publicly criticizes insulting depictions of the church in popular culture and the media. In September 1998, he led protests outside of an Off-Broadway theater in New York City against the production of Terrence McNally’s play Corpus Christi. In his 2002 book, From Scandal to Hope, he accused The Boston Globe, The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle of revealing anti-Catholic prejudice in their respective coverage of the sexual abuse scandal that disrupted the church. "Seldom in the history of journalism have I seen such virulent attacks on any institution that is supposed to receive fair treatment in the press", he wrote.
In April 2005, he again questioned the anti-Catholic sentiments of the United States media by charging distorted coverage of Joseph Ratzinger, who had become Pope Benedict XVI. Groeschel noted that the new pope had "been very badly abused by the American media", adding that the pontiff’s World War II biography was negatively distorted and incorrect reports of his personality were published.
On January 11, 2004, Groeschel was struck by an automobile while crossing a street in Orlando, Florida. He received a head injury and broken bones and over a four hour period, had no blood pressure, heartbeat or pulse for about 20 minutes. A few days later the trauma triggered a near-fatal heart attack. While he was recovering from his injuries he collaborated with John Bishop on the book, There Are No Accidents: In All Things Trust in God. He broadcast his first live program on EWTN on October 24, 2004. Although the accident left him with limited use of his right arm and difficulty in walking, he was back preaching and giving retreats by the end of 2004 and has continued to keep a full schedule. As he told the New York Times nearly four years after his accident: “They said I would never live. I lived. They said I would never think. I think. They said I would never walk. I walked. They said I would never dance, but I never danced anyway.”
Benedict J. Groeschel currently resides in Larchmont, in the state of New York. Benedict J. Groeschel was born in 1951.
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Reviews - What do customers think about A Still, Small Voice: A Practical Guide on Reported Revelations?
A Still Small Voice Feb 6, 2007
An interesting but cautious and fairly dry attempt to discuss how conservative one must be when identifying faith related experiences.
comfort for the confused Sep 6, 2005
Father Groeschel has written a comforting, clear and practical book on personal visions and aparitions and the New Age. Drawing on the wisdom of the saints, particularly St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa as well as his own learning, he gives a simple rule for discerning whether your vision is true or whether to believe in an aparition you may have heard of. He also discusses the Course in Miracles and how destructive it was to the woman who wrote it and how it is still dangerous today.
This is a deep subject obviously, but Father Groeschel writes in such a down to earth way that you don't need to be a theologian or a mystic in order to digest this excellent book.
Superb Inspirational Reading for the Spiritually Challenged Feb 27, 2005
Although I've enjoyed visiting the famous religious shrine at Lourdes, France and spent many tourist days attending daily Mass at Rome's St. Peter's Basilica, it's nevertheless a tough sell for me to appreciate the mystical or supernatural side of any human being's spirituality. Loving God and devotion to the sacred scriptures are lots different than talking to the saints or seeing visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Honestly, those fascinating phenomena are alien to a mortal soul who works hard to practice my Roman Catholic faith, like me. Therefore, I'm absolutely consoled by "A Still, Small Voice", by Father Benedict J. Groeschel, because he explains how, oftentimes, even the saints themselves i.e., Saint Catherine of Siena, for example, as well as others around them could be deceived by mystical revelations. As human beings, saints are subject to a memory snafu once in awhile. Many ordinary people do not disclose personal revelations to others until some life event or spiritual director allows them to recount their experience, like Saint Catherine Laboure, for example. Also explained, in wonderfully ordinary prose, is the nature of revelations, how they can be misrepresented and justifiably even dismissed as being real. This summary account of how to better understand mystical or supernatural revelations is an appetizer into other, more in depth, readings by quoted writers like Father Thomas Dubay, author of "The Fire Within", plus the mystical writings of St. Teresa of Avila. Thoroughly footnoted, the information provided in this wonderful read gives credibility to a field of religion many professional clergy would just as soon avoid. I will send copies of this book to several clergy friends of mine who are spiritual guides themselves, because I believe it is a must read for everybody who claims to experience divine revelations but, mostly, it's a source of comfort for those of us who are simply in awe of these profoundly mystical experiences. Moreover, "A Still, Small Voice" stands alone as meditation by itself, even for a skeptic or non-religious person.
Helpful, illuminating, and consoling. Nov 28, 2004
I secured a copy of Fr. Groeschel's book to help me better understand and evaluate a good friend's claims of having messages and visions from God. A cradle Catholic, she began receiving revelations about 5 years ago at age 45--from St. Joan of Arc, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Thomas More, St Patrick,Blessed Mother Mary, Jesus, and God the Father. I am a university professor trained in the philosphy of science, and was at first skeptical but soon began believing her claims. After all, she is a rational person and an administrative law judge to boot. Through the four years of our friendship, I listened to her revelations, with a mixture of awe, a residual skepticism, and some envy because God is silent for me. But I tell myself that God's silence is entirely understandable given the sinner that I am, having only recently returned to my faith after an agnostic lapse of 30 years.
As time passed, her messages grew in frequency. I increasingly began to doubt her. Not only were her messages coming at a daily rate, they were also unfailingly self-serving: God loves her, calls her his "daughter," and promises to protect her from all her enemies who will be "defeated before they even begin." All this to an individual who constantly "strokes" herself, is always right and never wrong, and whom a priest once identified her chief sin as that of pride.
Fr. Groeschel's book has been extremely illuminating and helpful. He cautions skepticism toward all claims of diviine revelations, noting that the Vatican itself is very careful in certifying them. He divides bogus claims into varioius types: some are outright frauds; some are psychologically disturbed; still others are simply self-deluded because of their strong need & desire to believe. Most importantly, he reminds us that God expects more from those whom He favors with revelations--the apostles were often reprimanded by Jesus. The last chapter of the book is especially consoling. Not only has Fr. Groeschel himself not been graced with messages and visions--and I consider him to be a holy man--he reminds us that not all religious experiences have to take the extraordinary form of visions and messages. God speaks to each of us in His own way. As Groeschel put it: "Everyone reading this book has had some remarkable religious experiences in life. Remarkable, but not extraordinary. Unfortunately, we tend to overlook them, to forget them, to tuck them away, to allow them to lapse into oblivion. And yet, they are the words of God spoken to us as real as the words spoken to Abraham, Moses, and St. Paul."
A practical guide for discerning spiritual matters May 4, 2000
Perhaps one of the defining characteristics of the Catholic Church in the 20th century has been the proliferation of private revelations from Fatima to Medjugorje to Conyers, Georgia. Not every reported revelation is truly from God and not even those private revelations inspired by God but relayed through flawed human beings are free from all error.
How does a faithful Catholic determine which apparition or vision to listen to and which to ignore? And what do we do about those inner promptings we feel when we pray, those inclinations that we believe are God guiding us?
Fr. Benedict Groeschel uses his education in theology and psychology and his incisive wisdom to offer a practical guide to dealing with private revelations, visions, and other phenomena. This book is neither a skeptic nor a credulous observer, but takes the position that the Lord wishes to communicate with His people and does so in varied ways that required careful discernment by them.
First, Fr. Groeschel observes an historic perspective on private revelations and offers a fundamental basis for looking at them. Above all, private revelations are different from the one, complete public revelation in that they reveal nothing new and that the must only be observed in so far as they reflect the teachings already present in Scripture and Tradition, the two sources of the Word of God, public revelation.
Second, the book then delves into the Church's criteria for investigating and then deciding on the authenticity of revelations, a long, laborious process that gives comfort in that error is assiduously avoided through diligence. Among the surprising discoveries presented by Fr. Groeschel is that some revelations by canonized saints were later debunked, even before the canonization was complete. The declaration of courageous holiness does presume inerrancy for all statement . If that were true, then there would be no canonized saints among flawed humanity.
Fr. Groeschel provides many examples of errant revelations, including St. Catherine of Siena's famous declaration that the Virgin Mary herself revealed to the saint that she was not immaculately conceived. How could this be if the Church later declared it a dogma? Fr. Groeschel reveals that the role of the psyche in religious experiences is not completely understood -- and likely never will be -- and we do not know to what extent it will "taint" the vision or revelation. And that is another way in which private revelation is different from the public revelation: the Holy Spirit intervenes in public revelation to prevent the taint of untruth.
The book also makes clear that just because a saint is wrong in one area, it does not invalidate other apparitions or revelations made by him. This is why a Catholic must presuppose a primary obedience to the wisdom of the Church in her declarations of validity. Even if we are convinced of the authenticity of a vision or apparition, and even if we are later proven right when the Church declares a previously invalidated revelation to know be licit, we can never go wrong seeking the wisdom of the Church. After all, reported revelations do not reveal anything that is not already in the Word of God.
Bottom Line : A Still, Small Voice is not a scholarly book, if by scholarly we mean a technical reference for theologians and the like. Instead, it is a practical guide for everyone, from those who eagerly greet each reported revelation as an opportunity to see the Lord's intervention into history to those who cautiously stand back waiting for the Church's declarations. And even more so, it is a practical guide for each Christian who prays, seeking the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the guidance of God, so that we may truly discern our own desires from God's own promptings in our heart.