Author Topic: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!  (Read 229 times)

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Offline pokoi

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First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« on: February 25, 2015, 07:42:58 AM »
From wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Friday_Devotions:

''The First Friday Devotions are a set of Catholic devotions to especially recognize the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and through it offer reparations for sins. In the visions of Christ reported by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century, several promises were made to those people that practiced the First Fridays Devotions, one of which included final perseverance.

According to the words of Christ through His apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, there are several promises to those that practice the First Friday Devotions:

    "In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour."''


I want to share my experience. I was born in Catholic family and I could call myself Catholic, but I'm not practising Catholicism anymore (in sacraments).

More than 2 years ago I went to life confession. In the end of the confession the priest advised me to do Devotion of nine first fridays. At first I felt something repulsive to his suggestion, but after I have read all the promises that St. Margaret Alacoque said that Jesus told her I started thinking that I could actually do that devotion. It was especially the promise of confession and Holy Communion before death that attracted me to that devotion. In that time I didn't suspect that Catholic faith is the true faith.

In the months I was practicing that devotion, my spiritual life and Jesus prayer in my mind started becoming more and more weak. After a few months I started having very delusional spiritual ideas (I didn't see them as delusional in that time). In the last 1-2 months of the devotion (totally 9 months), I started feeling like giving up my spiritual path.

On the 9th first Friday, which was my last first Friday of 9 of them, I found myself in the church. I was confessed and I was waiting the Holy Communion. I was feeling that after I receive the Holy Communion, which means that I completed 9 first Fridays, I can finally let the passions that I was fighting with for years, to overcome me and that is what happened. My spiritual life broke apart. After the crisis I went to search for God in the Orthodoxy...

Is there anybody else how experienced something like this?

I feel that I still haven't become free from prelest I fell into attending this devotion.

And just to mention, I wasn't suspicious to that devotion at first, but months later when I started understanding some things.

Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2015, 06:14:54 PM »
I have known hundreds of people who have practiced this devotion to their edification.  Perhaps the problem was with you and not the devotion?
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Offline WPM

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 06:30:29 PM »
Which is a mental delusion? ...

Offline pokoi

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 08:16:36 AM »
I have known hundreds of people who have practiced this devotion to their edification.  Perhaps the problem was with you and not the devotion?

Maybe. But, I wouldn't say. God knows. I wouldn't recommend to anybody to practice that devotion.
God saved many people without that devotion. I haven't found that devotion in a Gospel.

I have read a book 'Prelest or Spiritual Illusion' by Ignatius Brianchaninov. In the end of that book It is written that this devotion is prelest (or spiritual illusion).

How I got that book is another story, but I would say that God brought me to the monk who gave it to me. It happened months after I completed devotion.

After reading that book I started being suspicious that that devotion didn't come to St. Margaret from God.
On the internet I found another case of a person who did that devotion and got mental problems with spiritual ideas.

And I really don't understand these romantic visions of Catholic saints. But maybe I'm wrong. God knows.

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2015, 10:54:54 AM »
An Orthodox nun I admire was discussing the concept of 'prelest' with me a few years back, I remember her comment which was that most need not even think about it as it more often than not is an issue facing some monastics and to many zealous converts it is used as a justification or excuse for many things. It is a tough concept to grasp and it does not easily translate into English. Often it is a slippery slope for some to go from applying it to issues from their prior faith to their own personal 'feelings' about Orthodox spirituality. From there, some even leave the Faith. Work it out with your priest, not the internet.

Offline pokoi

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2015, 02:15:18 PM »
An Orthodox nun I admire was discussing the concept of 'prelest' with me a few years back, I remember her comment which was that most need not even think about it as it more often than not is an issue facing some monastics and to many zealous converts it is used as a justification or excuse for many things. It is a tough concept to grasp and it does not easily translate into English. Often it is a slippery slope for some to go from applying it to issues from their prior faith to their own personal 'feelings' about Orthodox spirituality. From there, some even leave the Faith. Work it out with your priest, not the internet.

Maybe. But, I wouldn't say. God knows.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2015, 02:21:22 PM »
I don't see how you can expect respectful dialog on this subject, Pokoi, if you're going to sensationalize it (and in all-caps at that).
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Offline mike

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2015, 03:03:33 PM »
@pokoi, you started posting with a thread where you were bashing the Orthodox for no particular reason, now you bash Catholics in the same manner. Are there any religions you are not going to bash? What is the point of your posts exactly?

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2015, 06:20:41 PM »
It's also probably worth pointing out that other denominations have their own terms and warnings of spiritual delusion. I and my religious acquaintances certainly all grew up with constant dinning of the danger of feeling for ourselves, considering the spiritual claims of other denominations, and so on and so on. And Orthodoxy would have been high on the list of mighty spiritual deceit.
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Offline wgw

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Re: First Friday Catholic Devotions ORTHODOX view - PRELEST?!
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 07:51:06 PM »
From what I've read on prelest, as a layman who has investigated this concept carefully, it sounds very possible that you fell into it.  The mechanics of how the First Friday devotion would cause it are beyond me, but the numerous apparitions received by individual Catholic monks in isolation and the frequency and relative ease with which these are accepted is unparalleled in Orthodoxy.  I am of the firm opinion, though I a, a layman and the decision is up to the bishops, that the one thing that must go as part of Roman Catholic - Orthodox reconciliation is the vast majority of personal revelations, in particular all of those which consist of either Jesus or Mary promising some very specific spiritual reward to someone who completes a specific and complex devotional task.  Frankly it sounds as though the demons just enjoy making Catholics do such things for their own sick amusement.

There is also to be considered the fact that many Orthodox, and even an 18th century Pope, regarded devotion to a body part of our Lord as absurd and indeed as Nestorian.

Now some Orthodox like to downplay prelest, for example, the late Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, but I would note Metropolitan Kallistos Ware does not shy away with it, and the Philokalia (which Bloom argued should not be read by laity) abounds in it.  I think that prelest, as the idea that we should be watchful against spiritual and mental traps for our mind from the devil, is among the most important teachings specific to Orthodox Christianity. Mid you look at Roman Catholics and Pentecostals, they lack discernment, whereas on the other hand other Protestants tend to show an excessive rationalism and disbelief in the supernatural that itself runs contrary to the apostolic faith and is a relic of the Enlightenment.  Prelest as a concept is what enables us in humility to evaluate the supernatural with extrme caution and avoid getting into trouble.

The message of the Philokalia to me seems to me that a monk who sincerely repents can see the uncreated light of God, but those who pursue visions or supernatural experiences or lack humility will fall into prelest and be destroyed.  This message seems to repeat itself throughout the book. But it is especially clear in St. Symeon the New Theologian's discourse on the Three Methods of Prayer.  One can also see it as a major theme in the sayings of the Desert Fathers.

I don't understand why Metropolitan Bloom and others like him were and are against sharing the Philokalia and the doctrine of prelest with parishioners, since it is such a useful means of spiritual self defence.  Perhaps in the rarified English society Bloom feared his flock might flee the church, thinking it was superstitious, if these subjects were discussed.  However, both my confessor and I are of the opinion that prelest and the avoidance thereof is an essential Orthodox teaching that one can trace back to the teaching of our Lord on wolves in sheeps clothing, and the Epistles.   Parts of the writings of Paul, Peter and John seem to be almost entirely about avoiding spiritual deception, which in the early days of the church usually consisted of falling into the early Gnostic cults such as that of Simon Magus and his disciples, or Docetism, or the Judaizing sects.   But prelest has been there from the start.
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