The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page
The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page

Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives


Heresies & Heretics

Return to:  Home > Archives Index > Heresies & Heretics Index

New Age Movement - Q&A Session

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Tape 9 - Fr. Hardon - Side 1

Gentleman: Ok, Father.

Fr. Hardon: Ok.

Mastering and carefully watching our past experiences, our present conditions, and our future plans or anticipations. In other words, not just to jump in, but to use your past experiences, and Sisters, I hope you believe this is important. Writing down, keeping a written record of your past experiences, of your present situation and of your future plans. Write things down. By writing, we master our mind. We get control of our thinking. I cannot tell you how important it is to do some writing to grow in a spiritual life. And with that, I could speak for another two hours, but let’s go on – Now our fourth gift. What is the fourth gift?

Sisters: Counsel.

Fr. Hardon: Gift of?

Sisters: Counsel.

Fr. Hardon:

Thank you. The Gift of Counsel. Well, typical. Talk about, talking about the Gift of Counsel and I left the notes for speaking on the Gift of Counsel in the other room. Oh, Sisters, the light is on. It is five minutes to four. May we take a break?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon: Take a break. And when do we reassemble? What time?

Sisters: 4:30 p.m.

Fr. Hardon:

4:30? Oh, you mean, we have a thirty five minute break? That just didn't happen Sisters, that's part of God’s providence. Shall we pray?

In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus.

Sisters: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.

Fr. Hardon: Oh, Mary, conceived without sin.

Sisters: Pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

Fr. Hardon: In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Sisters: Thank you, Father.

Fr. Hardon: See you at 4:30!

Fr. Hardon: Yeah, Sisters, thanks for keeping awake. Oh, thank you.

Sisters: Laughter


Fr. Hardon:

The question is here - Can you speak more about the New Age Movement?

The New Age Movement is about, I would say, forty years old, in the United States. It is an importation from Asia and especially from India. And what has happened is that certain Catholic leaders and writers have begun to bring out, what I would call, the non-Christian, oriental, mysticism. Non-Christian, oriental, mysticism. The New Age Movement, as they call it. There is no definite pattern. However, the New Agers, as they are also called, have become deeply influenced by those Christian writers who have adopted non-Christian philosophy into Christianity. And I think the leader of the New Age Movement, who has since died, was a Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton. The name sound familiar? Thomas Merton. I could talk for many hours about the New Age Movement. But concretely, it was Thomas Merton who, in the late forties, that would be over fifty (50) years ago, became a convert to the Catholic faith, and he published a widely circulating book called the Seven Storey Mountain. Thomas Merton, I do believe was never intellectually converted to Christianity. He became a Trappist Monk, became a priest and wrote many books. So his conversion is Seven Storey Mountain. He became very famous, mainly because of his writing. But also, because his ideas, it goes back already to the fifties and sixties. His ideas were very sympathetic with oriental thought. Well, Thomas Merton entered my life when my Jesuit Provincial Superior told me to go to this Trappist’s monastery, which was quite some distance. I was teaching theology and I was told to talk to Thomas Merton, which I did. Our relationship lasted about six months. Thomas Merton had organized a campaign for the movement of what we now call the New Age Movement - meditation. Oriental meditation. At the Monastery of Gethsemene, his Abbot Superior either changed his mind or never gave Merton permission in the first place to start his meditation center - at the monastery in Kentucky. Then his Abbot simply told Merton, you cannot build this meditation center. In the meantime, a great deal of money had been collected for this meditation center. Thomas Merton had left the United States and he died suddenly in Asia by giving lectures on Oriental Mysticism. Thomas Merton's writings, his New Age writings, have been published after his death and without his Abbot's permission. In fact, the manuscripts were given to a lay person who has been publishing his books ever since.

And having said that, I can now talk at great length about the New Age Movement. Basically, the New Age Movement is, I repeat, Oriental Meditation, Oriental Prayer, or Mysticism that has penetrated many Christian circles. There are communities that follow that pattern. For example, there are Religious communities of women that follow the New Age pattern in meditation and prayer. And all I can say is that those communities, which have adopted these New Age ideas are all - I mean this sincerely - in danger of dissolusion. At the root of the New Age Movement, is the denial of an infinite, personal God, who created the world. And consequently, once you say that than how much you use the name God, no matter how much you talk about prayer and meditation, that prayer and mediation is no longer to God, but either to the unknown forces in the world or to one's self. And, you know, all I can say is, that one reason the New Age Movement has so deeply infected, as I should say, the Western world is because the Western world, unlike the Oriental world, has become very materialistic. Preoccupied with things that you can touch, taste, feel, see, experience with your body. The Western world needs a reformation. It needs to discover that there is a real world that you cannot touch, taste, see with your bodily eyes, or hear with the bodily ears. The real world - God is very real, God is God, does not have a body or extension in space, or size or weight. There is the angelic world, which is, as we say purely spiritual. Each angel is an individual person. Each of us, we believe, has a spirit; our souls dwelling within us. We believe this spirit, our soul, continues living consciously after the body dies.

Sister: Excuse me Father. What is centering prayer? And what is its connection with the New Age Movement?

Fr. Hardon: Centering prayer is part of the New Age Movement. Centering prayer is very dangerous. There are communities, I will not identify which communities, where the Sisters are taught and trained to practice centering prayer.

Sister: Father, I have read in the newspaper that the contemplative Missionaries of Charity practice centering prayer.

Fr. Hardon: Sister?

Gentleman: She said, she has seen a photograph in the newspaper of some Missionaries of Charity…

Sister: Contemplative

Gentleman: Contemplative…practicing…

Sister: Father, the article was telling us that they were practicing centering prayer.

Gentleman: They were saying, the MC's, the contemplative…

Sister: In Calcutta, were using centering prayer.

Gentleman: In Calcutta, they were using centering prayer

Sister: It was published in Miami by a Carmelite community.

Fr. Hardon: All I can say is, any community that practices centering prayer will die out.

Sister: What?

Fr. Hardon:

I can talk for hours on centering prayer. The word of course, is attractive. Centering prayer - It all depends on what you mean by centering prayer. And of course, again there are different forms of centering prayer. Because as you know, in India, Hindus are not united. There was no united Hinduism or kinds of Hindu - well, you might say religions. So with centering prayer. The heart of centering prayer is communicating with the center of your being. Now that, as the words are used, sounds harmless. Remember we were talking about indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Could we say that for those who are in that state of God's grace that at the center of their being is the Holy Spirit? We can say that. That is not for those who practice centering prayer mean. At the center of one's being is the Absolute. The Absolute, who is the only real being that exists. In other words, we think that we are separate individuals. At the foundation of centering prayer, you don't believe it. The center of our being, the New Agers say, is the Absolute. The only real being, the center of our being, therefore is the Absolute. According to God you are cheating. Because the god of centering prayer, I repeat, the way the New Agers have brought it in, is the only being who exists. He is the absolute being. And he is the same absolute being, in every human being as we would call it. But, what we call an – person – they would say - is not a distinct reality. At the heart of centering prayer, there is no infinite God who created the world out of nothing. A layman wrote a book on Thomas Merton - remember I mentioned Thomas Merton may be the founder of the New Age Movement, certainly in the Western world. He wrote a book, spent several years writing the book analyzing Thomas Merton's thinking. And he said Thomas Merton never, never believed there was a God who was infinite. Never believed there was a God who was really distinct from the world that we say was created. Centering prayer is communication with the inner being who is the only real being who exists. If you think you are a distinct person, distinct from God, you do not understand centering prayer. And another - oh, I could talk for hours - who's been deeply affected by centering prayer. Although, he himself died before what we now call the New Age movement came into existence. That was the Jesuit, Karl Rahner. I've been a Jesuit now, as I told you – if the Lord keeps me on this earth until the first of September - I entered in 1936 - it will be 60 years. Karl Rahner’s thinking is also behind centering prayer, and Karl Rahner never, never was convinced that there is an infinite God. NEVER. In other words, centering prayer is addressing the Absolute, which is the only being who really exists. And having known the Contemplative Missionaries of Charity, from before they began. That's how I first met Mother Theresa. She wanted to start the Contemplative branch and I was in New York teaching. She came from, well, from Calcutta, I was in New York, I’ve got I'll tell you this. I got a phone call - Mother Theresa from Calcutta wanted me to call her back. Gee, from New York to Calcutta! That's a lot of money. But the number was 292-00l9. Strange number, but I figured I'd save money. I'd try to call that number. Sure enough, it was the Bronx, in New York. Well, at last I could come to talk to her in the Bronx. Our first meeting was five hours. I have known the Contemplative Missionaries of Charity. For seven years. I was teaching the Contemplatives one full day every week. So thank you for sharing that with me. But I have to say I am not surprised. I am disappointed, but I am not surprised. Thank you for saying that. I could talk about the New Age Movement for hours. It is not Christian. It is very dangerous. Well, keep this covered.

Why they call Good News Bible, that is for the Protestants, or why do they call it the Good News Bible?

That's the Bible that Sisters, your Sisters, were using in Taiwan. For the Sisters, this is a bad Bible. Get rid of it! But after class they told Mother. Mother asked the Father. Did you say this was a bad Bible? I sure did. Did you say get rid of it? I said, YES! There are so many copies. Oh, Mother, better to have a good Bible than ruin your Sister's faith. The Good News Bible, is not just a bad Bible, it is conscientiously a non-Catholic, shall I say an anti-Catholic Bible.

Whenever the Holy Father publishes anything, or quotes from the Scriptures, he always uses, remember what we talked about - the Vulgate. OK. The Vulgate - V-U-L-G-A-T-E. Vulgate. Means the bible that was translated into Latin from the Hebrew and the Greek, into Latin by St. Jerome and issued by Pope St. Damascus I. Remember the date. 410 A.D. Not just the present Holy Father, but all the Holy Fathers since 410 A.D., have been using the Vulgate Bible. Why do we have so many Bibles? Mazuma, Mazuma. I've lived for fourteen years in New York. Mazuma, as you know is a Jewish word for money. Mazuma.

If someone chooses Religious celibacy because he or she feels like living that life, is that truly celibacy? Because he or she feels like living that life?

Well, well as you know, suppose you Sisters, when you first join the Missionaries of Charity and you had a feeling you would like to live a celibate life. Oh Sisters, none of you would be here if you just had that feeling! Celibacy is more than feeling. You've got to be convinced. Your mind must know it is pleasing to God. So pleasing to God that God became man. He lived, shall we say, a celibate life. So feelings are not a vocation. But feelings may lead to a vocation. A vocation is always a grace from God. Always. And Sisters, there's no such thing as a temporary vocation. I'll say that again. There's no such thing as a temporary vocation. We either have a Religious vocation and that's for life, or you don't have a Religious vocation. There are no temporary vocations. Ok? We speak of temporary vows. And the reason for temporary vows, as you know is, to find out if the person really has a vocation. And secondly, a vocation is not enough. Vocation is a grace. Why does God give us graces? If I recognize a grace and accept it, I've got to use my free will. Two words go together. Vocation and commitment. Vocation is a grace from God. Commitment is a free choice that I make. And let me tell you, Sisters, many people, or at least those who say lead the Religious life, especially after last vows, who will tell you, “I thought I never had a vocation.” I'm telling you that you're wrong. What you gave up was your commitment. Sisters, there's a difference between making the choice to take our vows and continuing to make that choice. Am I making sense?

Sisters:Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon:

That is love. People get married. Oh yes, they’re in love! Oh, they are so deeply in love! Well, give them six weeks, six months. Love is continued choice. You keep choosing that which you love, or in this case, you keep choosing to show your love for God. You keep choosing. Constant choice. Since God already knows our eternal destiny, how can we explain that our free will and our actions can't affect our destiny?

Thanks for the question Sisters. It all depends on who answers that question. Whether it's a Catholic or a Protestant. We believe we have a free will. God foresees all from all eternity before we came into existence whether we would be saved or lost. Now, there is a mystery, there was a mystery. For the mystery is not whether we've got our free will or not. The mystery is why God foresees that some people would abuse their free will and even lose their souls. Am I clear?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon: God will not interfere with our freedom. Am I still clear?

Sisters: Yes.

Fr. Hardon:

That's why I live St. Francis DeSales’ statement. "Every one who wants to, will become a Saint." Who are the Saints? Those that want to be Saints! It's their free will. Now, in Protestantism, just to mention them. John Calvin, who is the genius behind Protestantism. Luther started it. Luther was not so intelligent. Luther had only one problem, I tell people. If you want to know what Luther wrote, what he thought save yourself the time of reading his 54 published volumes. That's a lot of books by Martin Luther. I tell people, don't waste your time reading all those books. There is one reason, in one word, a model syllable, why Martin Luther became a Protestant. And that one word is SEX! Martin Luther did not control his sex passions. He invented a wonderful religion, called Protestantism. Where, no matter how strong your passions are, it doesn't matter - you'll get to Heaven! No matter how many sins you commit, you'll get to Heaven. Why? Because God has predestined you for Heaven. Shall we continue?

Occasionally we hear predictions that the world will experience great tribulations. Some of these are based on the Fatima message. How are we to view these?

Well, the Lord is already sending great tribulations. The 20th century is the most homicidal century in all of human history. More wars, more death casualties have been fought since 1900 than in all the centuries of human history put together. There are more abortions in the world today in one year, than all the centuries in human history before put together. Do you still hear me?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon:

All good provable statistics. And God, believe me, is already visiting the world. AIDS is a widespread epidemic. Millions in the United States, millions have AIDS. Millions. And their children contract that disease.

You said every baptized person has a Guardian Angel. What about the non-baptized, or non-Christians?

We believe that everybody is a child of God. Then why did God not give them also a Guardian Angel?

Well, in theology we have our different degrees of certitude. Different levels of being sure that something is true. The Church does teach, she does teach that every human person from conception has a Guardian Angel. The Church teaches it. But on everything that the Church teaches has been revealed, revealed by God. In other words, whatever the Church teaches we call doctrine. But only revealed doctrines are called dogmas. It is by dogmas that every baptized person has a Guardian Angel. It is however, by the Church’s teaching, that everyone, I repeat, from conception, has a Guardian Angel. In other words, the degree of certitude, is higher regarding Christians having a Guardian Angel, than every human being. I repeat, from conception, has a Guardian spirit.

When we are Catholics and we become, and we - let me change the sentence. When someone who is a Catholic becomes a Protestant, does that person still have the actual graces, or does he lose everything? And drop the we.

Here's what the Church teaches. Anyone who has been a Catholic and has even minimal instruction in the Catholic faith, that person cannot give up the Catholic faith without committing a mortal sin. Hear me? In other words, once a Catholic, God always gives sufficient grace to remain a Catholic. Now, the question was, actual graces. Oh, sure, sure, God gives actual graces to those ex-Catholics who become Protestants, so they will do what? So they will convert back to the Catholic faith. And given the millions in Central and South America, I know millions of once professed Catholics who became Protestants. God judges them. Through all that I've said, there remains only one possible, only one possible shall I say, excuse, that they never really, never really knew what a Catholic is. That is why, Sisters, we better understand our Catholic faith. And have other Catholics understand their faith.

How can sin do harm to charity? How can sin do harm to charity?

Well, I have to try to interpret what's behind the question. We've said more than once, every sin always has two effects. Always, always! First effect, grace is lost. The bigger the sin, the more grace is lost. No sin is ever committed without grace being lost. Secondly, every sin incurs a debt of suffering. Every time we sin we incur a higher debt of suffering. The more a person sinned, the more that person has a higher debt of suffering. Now, in terms of charity. Whether the charity is the love of God or the love of others. Charity, as we know, is for persons in the state of grace. It is a virtue. Every sin weakens the virtue of charity. Because it would have to be a sin against charity, just because it's a sin. Every sin weakens the virtue of charity. And every sin earns a debt of suffering. And hear it, and suffering, not just in the body, but suffering in the soul, and suffering from others. Sisters, the most painful suffering is from other people. I hope you believe me. People hurt our feelings, have been unkind, even cruel. Well, I should be patient, and I should use my head! And I'll tell the Lord, "I've got it coming". Am I still making sense? Notice, I keep asking for questions, and Sisters you do not fail. Please continue. But, do you think this makes sense to answer the questions? Because then I'm addressing your minds, not just talking at you. I want to be talking to you. Ok?

Why when we commit a fault, do we lose peace, or we become restless? Oh, gee, thank you.

There are two kinds of peace. First of all, all peace, all peace is the absence of conflict. We define peace as "the tranquility of order". That's the Churches definition of peace. Pax est tranquilitas ordinis. The quiet. Ah, well, things the way they should be. There are two kinds of peace. There's a peace of mind and peace of heart. Peace of mind, of course, is in the intellect, peace of heart is in the will. What is peace of heart? Peace of heart is the experience of doing God's will. That's peace of heart! You want peace of heart? There's a price. Oh, come, look, you want to buy peace of heart. I'll just tell you what it costs. That's peace of heart. What's peace of mind? Peace of mind is experience of knowing the truth. A peaceful mind is a mind that has the truth. That's why in the United States, I'm quoting, "70 million Americans are taking well, medication" - call them tranquilizers. All kinds of drugs they’re taking to have peace of mind. Peace of mind, I repeat, is the experience of possessing the truth. And Sisters, we still have some gifts of the Holy Spirit! But, you're asking the questions!

Please Father, can you explain to us how to teach couples not to divorce?

Are we Religious, we Religious, we divorce our spouse Jesus. But, I like the language, Sisters. That would be of course, well, giving up our Religious commitment. Are we spouses of Christ?

Sisters: Yes.

Fr. Hardon:

And that's the language of the Church. And our spouses are to be for life. Now, is this plain to us how to teach the couples not to divorce? Well, of course, it depends on whether these people are married validly. Am I clear? We first have to ask ourselves - is it a real, genuine, valid, even more, sacramental marriage? But I would say to teach people not to divorce, I repeat, if they are validly married, people who divorce, after a valid marriage, and especially if they try to remarry, are asking for trouble. First of all, Christ's teaching could not be clearer. One man, one woman, until death. But Sisters, as I'm sure you know, in a country like United States, all kinds of annulments! Only God knows how many of those annulments are real annulments. In other words, why should people not divorce? Because Christ said, you may not, I repeat, you many not divorce. And keep

this in mind - people do not divorce just for the sake of divorcing. They divorce to do what? To remarry! Right? This is contrary to Christ's teaching, but secondly, it is devastating to a society. No society that promotes divorce will survive. Sisters, the days of the United States are numbered, unless the United States is converted. I've said this publicly, and I've put it more than once in print.

In our vow of obedience, are we obliged to obey other people besides the Superiors?

Oh, some of these wonderful questions! Now, I think I know what's behind the questions. First of all, in the community, as you know better than I, there are people who are not Superiors, who tell us what to do!


Fr. Hardon: Does that sometimes happen? Does that sometimes happen?

Sisters: Yes.

Fr. Hardon:

In Latin – eta - yes. So, the only ones that we are obliged to obey are not just the Superiors. Of those, we have a right from God to tell us what to do. Our Superiors can, well, put somebody in charge of something. Are we to obey the one who is in charge? Appointed by the Superior! Yes, however, Sisters, immediately I must add two provisos. Number one. We are never, and we must never, obey anyone who tells us to do what our conscience tells us is a sin. Am I clear?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon: Number one….number two….St. Ignatius, as you know, is a great teacher of obedience. Have any of you ever read the letter of St. Ignatius, on obedience? Have you?

Sisters: No. No.

Fr. Hardon:

It would be very good.- Do you have a copy of St. Ignatius’ letter on obedience? I'll tell you what, would you please remind me to send a copy of St. Ignatius’ letter on obedience back to the Superior here. Ok? It is wonderful! It's a long letter. Among the things that St. Ignatius says that when we find something which we are told from the Superior to do, something, not because we don't like it, but you're not sure it was the right thing for you to be told to do. Then we are to pray and ask our Lord whether we should listen. Enlighten the Superior. Do you hear me? Enlighten the Superior after I've prayed and give reasons, why, before God, I feel it would be wiser for me not to do what I am told to do by the Superior. That's St. Ignatius, am I clear? You are to practice what St. Ignatius calls enlightened obedience. For example, Sisters, in your apostolic work you deal with all kinds of people. And many of the people - let’s make it some of these people – are not living good lives. Can I be given an assignment by a Superior which would be a danger to my chastity? Can I? Before God, I really believe. Am I to make representation to my Superior? Yes! There are no two people that are the same. And therefore, you may make representation. That's what St. Ignatius calls enlightened obedience.

I think I have, gosh - How do we acquire self-knowledge?

Oh, thanks for the question. You acquire self-knowledge, of course, by knowing yourself. Now, Sisters, there's two kinds of self-knowledge. There's a self-knowledge, which is, well, very praiseworthy of us. Oh, how much that is good about ourselves that we know. We could write a book, maybe three books, (Laughter) on how wonderful we are. That's one kind of self-knowledge. The other self-knowledge, is knowing, well, what is not so good about me. About my failures, my weaknesses, my temper, my moods. How do I acquire self-knowledge? First and most importantly, ask God to enlighten you. I quoted St. Augustine before, the famous prayer, well that prayer is Deus, Deus meus, noverim te, noverim me. My God, that I may know thee, and that I may know me. Pray for that self-knowledge, which is, I'd say, the hardest knowledge to acquire. I hope I'm making sense. The knowledge of our weaknesses, our failures, our sinfulness, well, tendencies, urges. First, pray. Secondly, daily examine your conscience. We have an examination of conscience. Great! There are three parts, as we've heard from St. Ignatius, three parts in every examination of conscience. Number one, I thank God for the grace that he gave me, say, for the past day. Secondly, I examine my conscience to see what failures or things I've done wrong that I shouldn't have done during the day.

Tape 9 - Fr. Hardon - Side 2

Fr. Hardon: Then, Sisters, I'm not sure you have this practice in your community. Do you ever have the practice of one of the Sisters or the Sisters saying something by another Sister what she thinks is out of order in her life? Do you have that practice?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon: Please?

Sisters: Yes.

Fr. Hardon:

Yes, in other words, other Sisters, members of the community, will tell other members of the community, what they consider is out of order, or not what it should be. Am I correct?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon: And, this is very important. No two communities are the same here, but it's called in many communities, a chapter of faults. Do you call it that?

Sisters: Yes.

Fr. Hardon:

If you want to know what's wrong with you, Sisters, ask, your fellow Religious. And I tell people the longer you live with the same people, say, in the community, they could go to confession for you and it might be a better confession than you! (Laughter) It wouldn't be valid, but it would be a very open confession. I think I covered all the questions. Sisters, it's twenty-five to six. You say, “Father, if you tell us not to ask any more questions,” but I really believe these questions are important because they answer, what I believe, is really on your minds. And now, what do we have, Sisters? Oh, did I miss this? You said, oh, we were on the Gift of Counsel, right?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon:

We still have two full days, remember? Friday and Saturday and even part of Sunday. Remember the Gift of the Holy Spirit, I'll identify first in the Prophet Isaiah. And the Gift of Counsel is the first gift mentioned in Isaiah. Evidently, an important gift. We're talking about the Gift of Counsel. - Christ had how many of the theological virtues?

Sisters: One.

Fr. Hardon:

Don't forget, one. And our Lord had the Gift of the Holy Spirit. From His graces, that's what St. John tells us, we have all received. We said that wisdom is the highest of the gifts and Fear of the Lord is the lowest, but the most basic. Unless we're talking, we're talking about the Fear of the Lord, but if you have Fear of the Lord, you will not have or practice the other gifts. Now, what is the Gift of Counsel? I keep using the verb, perfects. The Gift of Counsel, perfects the Virtue of Prudence. In other words, we hear that the gift corresponds to a particular virtue. This gift belongs to the Virtue of Prudence. What does it do? The Gift of Counsel enables a person to judge promptly, correctly and, as it were, intuitively. What should be done in a difficult situation? Repeat. The Gift of Counsel perfects, elevates, the Virtue of Prudence. I may be the person to judge the mind, to judge promptly, correctly, and, as it were, intuitively. Because, remember, these are Gifts of the Holy Spirit. How we should act, especially in difficult situations?

Some years ago, I was asked to give a television program. In my hurry to get - I was in a Church, a crowded Church. I spent hours, many hours, writing out what I was to tell the people. I came to the place where the television program was to be given, and I forget my notes. Everybody was ready except me. Oh, God, please, please enlighten me! I believe I have the Gift of Counsel, please, put it to work. I spoke one hour, and I must say, nobody walked out. Oh, how we need the Gift of Counsel. I would like to compare the Virtue of Prudence with the Gift of Counsel. And I have three levels of comparison. For prudence, we reflect, we think, before we act. Remember, the Gift of Counsel does not excuse us from being prudent. Am I clear? But, the Gift of Counsel is more than just prudence. When I'm prudent, I reflect, I think before hand. The Gift of Counsel, instantly, I know what I should do. There are situations in all of our lives, I know in my life, that when we have time to, well, think about it. Although, I think I should tell you this, Sisters. Whenever I receive a telephone call, I always, I always start praying. But of course, never out loud. Well, a distant state, or out of this country. Out of this country, my country. I've never met the person. They call me up and give me their problem, and I've never met the person, may never meet the person this side of eternity. They want me to make a decision. I trust the Holy Spirit will enlighten me. Am I making sense Sisters?

Sisters:Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon:

This Gift of Counsel is real! Secondly, with the Virtue of Prudence, I analyze. In other words, I, well, I look into the situation. I study one side, I study the other side. And the more important the action, the more, analysis or reflection I should give before I act, in the case of the Gift of Counsel, I follow Christ's teaching, and this is very important. Our Lord says, "They will deliver you up". Remember? When they are questioning you, putting you on trial. Testing you. Well, let’s say persecuting you. Then, Christ says "Take no thought on what you are to say, it shall be given to you what you are to say". Am I clear? In other words, there are emergencies in all of our lives, and I cannot tell you how important this is to live, and I will even go on to say, survive! Because, you know, you've got to make a decision. But I'm not ready. Well, trust the Holy Spirit, but watch it! You must, you must be willing to do God's will. That is why the Gift of Counsel is priceless! And on one condition - that my - my disposition of soul, I want always to do God's will. I'm faced with an emergency. And let me tell you, our Lord, you know told many stories. There are 72 parables in the Gospels. When I was teaching at the State University, when I was hired, I was the first Catholic priest, hired by a State University to teach, to teach Catholic theology at a State University. After five years, when I finished, my State University, I was the last Catholic priest, who has taught the Catholic faith in a State University. Well, the third semester, the second year of my teaching, of my teaching of the faculty. There were seven faculty members, who informed me that there was a special meeting of the faculty that night. So, whatever appointments I had, I canceled and went to the meeting. So I got there at the meeting and at first, nobody was saying anything. So I asked the Dean, the Head of the department. "What's this meeting about?" He told me "The meeting is all about you"! Well! What's wrong? I'll never forget his answer. Hardon, you are so blankety, blank, sure of yourself! You know what blankety, blank means - he used a curse word. "Sure of yourself - what's wrong with being sure of yourself?" (Laughter) The real problem was this, Sisters - There were seven full time faculty members. All fully paid. And I had, more students in my classes, than all of the other six professors put together! They didn't like it! Those students mostly were not Catholic. They wanted to come to the classes that I was teaching! There's a man who is sure of himself, and why not! You've got the truth! Well, what is there to question? I wrote a book after I finished. And I called the book "The Hungry Generation". Got a copy Sisters? Read it! People are hungry for the truth, they're starving for the truth and they have no one to teach them.

The Apostles, especially St. Peter, remember, where there were questions immediately, they didn't consult each other - oh, "John, what do you think I should say"? Oh no - they knew immediately. Remember? On the spot. Now the experience. I've got just two Saints that are identified. St. Catherine of Sienna, and St. Joan of Arc. Who are, by the way, very uneducated women. And Catherine of Sienna, is now, as you know, a Doctor of the Church! Did you know that just shortly before her death, she could not - did you know this? She could not read or write. Did you know that? Well, the Holy Spirit enlightened her mind. The secret, of course, is to always be open, open to doing God's will, and He will tell us what to do. Let's go on - this Gift of Counsel, is not only counseling myself, it is also the Gift of Counsel for others. But listen - this Gift of Counsel that is given to us, as we believe, by the Holy Spirit, is meant that we might know how we are to act. And that, as I said, immediately, the Holy Spirit will provide. It is also how to counsel others. And how precious this is, Sisters, that we, we ourselves knew, were able to give counsel to others. As not really advise, this word counsel, is not really advise. This word is a Gift of the Holy Spirit. However, I'm not finished, because, this Gift of Counsel, is indeed meant, both or ourselves, and for others. But listen. This Gift would be only as valuable and useful for counseling others as we counsel ourselves first! This Gift of the Holy Spirit is first, then, for us. What should I do in a given situation? And I want to add - and we only as good counselors - to use a very human language, you're only as effective in using this gift for others as we are faithful in following this gift in our own lives.

This therefore, is the Gift of the “How”. In other words, counsel is a definite, specific, particular, directive. The Holy Spirit is non-vague. And the spiritual life, Sisters, is not lived in vague generalities. Specifically, concretely, and trust the Holy Spirit. And the more closely we are united with Him, the more we can go through life and do the most humanly impossible things, wisely and correctly, because we are being guided by the Spirit of God. You know, just a word about the necessity. The Gift of Counsel is especially necessary for - for what? For giving others direction and giving ourselves discrimination. In other words, we are only as discriminating as we use the Gift of Counsel, as God has given to us. Who needs the Gift of Counsel? You might say everybody. But my notes say, especially, bishops, priests, and superiors. Without this Gift, there is no assurance of doing what God wants. In other words, without the Gift of Counsel, there would be nothing but confusion. In the few minutes left, I can give you a few recommendations on how to grow in this Gift of Counsel. First, deep personal humility. The more humble a person is, the more active and effective will be the Gift of Counsel. I've said this before. I'll repeat it. It must be thirty years ago. I read this book by St. Vincent Ferrer. F-E-R-R-E-R. Vincent Ferrer, a Dominican Saint. On Christian perfection. St. Vincent wrote, a little book, and he wanted to grow in humility. Never, never, for one moment, cherish a self-admiring thought. Never admire yourself in your own eyes. As I've told so many Missionaries of Charity, Sisters, you don't need mirrors, you've got a mind! And the mind is the most dangerous mirror. In other words, think about yourself, admiring you. Oh, I watched a woman on a plane. And I timed her - one hour and a half! She used rouge, lipstick, a comb (laughter) but, Sisters, the most dangerous pride, is not the pride of how we look in the mirror. The most dangerous pride is how we look into ourselves. I admire myself, oh, how smart I must be! (laughter) "Who would publish so many books? Oh, Fr. Hardon must be an intelligent man". Sisters, I say this, and I know who I'm talking to. (laughter). I have books on my shelf, back in Detroit, that I published. Sometimes I take the book off the shelf and look at something in the book. But, I must have a good reason. If I don't have a good reason, I mean this! I confess it as a sin. Am I clear Sisters?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon:

How to culminate or grow in this Gift of Counsel. Develop the sense of, well, of my own weakness, my own weakness and ignorance. Sisters, you've got to grow. What a statement! You've got to grow. In learning, realizing how stupid and weak we are! And it takes time. How do we grow in this Gift of Counsel? We keep telling our Lord. "Show me O Lord, your ways and teach me your paths". "Show me O Lord, your ways and teach me your paths". In other words, keep asking our Lord. "Lord, tell me what to do next. What to think next". Because the most important part of our lives, Sisters, is our thoughts. Remember the line that we had - Every thought, unless we control it, becomes a desire. Every desire, unless we control it, becomes an action. Every action, unless we control it, becomes a habit. And, it's also six o'clock. Shall we say the Angelus? Do we have a bell?

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

Sisters: And She conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Hardon: Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Sisters: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Fr. Hardon: Behold the Handmaid of the Lord.

Sisters: Be it done unto me according to thy word.

Fr. Hardon: Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Sisters: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Fr. Hardon: And the Word was made flesh.

Sisters: And dwelt among us.

Fr. Hardon: Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Sisters: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Fr. Hardon: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

Sisters: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

All: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sisters: Thank you Father.

Fr. Hardon: And Sister's, again, the box is empty. Is it empty? (laughter)

Fr. Hardon:

If there is one dominant theme throughout the Lenten season, it is that Christ had his enemies during his public ministry, during his public ministry, Jesus is nothing but good! He healed the sick, the lame. He restored sight to the blind. He even restored life to the dead. He preached nothing but the truth. And he practiced nothing but charity. Why? The hardest question to answer, and only God really knows the answer. Why? Why was Jesus, opposed, persecuted, and finally put to death? Was it because He practiced too much charity or was it because He worked miracles? No. Because he preached the truth. The world does not want to hear the truth. Christ was the Son of the Living God. And he told the people as much. The Father and I are One. He told the people they were to be converted. To practice humility, chastity, patience. You would think that His contemporaries would have repented and humbly follow Jesus. Some did! A small handful. The majority, I repeat, one Lenten Gospel after another reminds us of the opposition that Jesus faced until finally He was betrayed by one of His own disciples and crucified. That's one side. The other side is it's now 2000 years since Christ came into the world. And the story is the same. You tell people the truth. You tell them to practice, I repeat, humility, patience, chastity. You tell married people, only two in one flesh. You tell men, if you even look at a woman lustfully, you've already committed adultery with her in your heart. You tell people to love their enemies. Pray for those who hate you. You tell people, if they strike you on one cheek, turn the other, and you've got a whole science now developed. Psychiatry. Sigmund Freud, the Founder of Psychiatry, in one book after another says, "Those who believe that our life here on earth is only a pre-condition for a life in eternity". Oh, psychotics. Sometimes I begin to lecture by addressing the people "My dear fellow psychotics". We believe, the unborn life in the mother’s womb is a human being. We believe that's murder. We now have a murderer as President of the United States. Needless to say, what happened to Christ we should expect in our day. We are not to expect to be accepted by the world, because, no less than in Christ's time, the world does not want the truth. Here, Sisters, are Missionaries of Charity. Well, you'll be only asked to be authentic Missionaries of Charity as you're Missionaries of the Truth. And by now, so many, including those in the Church, how well I know, anything to please the people. To be accepted by the world. Anything! Even compromise on the truth. Lord Jesus, you told us, "If he had persecuted me, he will also persecute you". And this now this needs to be said. This is the mark of being an authentic follower of Christ. Proclaiming what Christ taught and paying the consequences. Not being accepted by the world. “Lord Jesus, give us, we beg you, the grace to know the truth, to live the truth, and to proclaim the truth. And if, like You, the world, well, takes our life because we testified to the truth, that, Jesus, would be the greatest joy of our life. To die for the truth. But you know us. You know how weak we are! What compromises we are! What conformist we are! How terrified we are not to be accepted by others! Give us we beg you, the grace to follow Your example and live the truth, proclaim the truth, and if it is Your will to die for the truth, Amen. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Fr. Hardon:

Does St. Paul say that we fill up with our own flesh what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ? Is there anything that was lacking? Here we must say, yes, there was something lacking. In other words, as we've said before, we use the word objectively and subjectively. Objectively, we were relieved by Christ’s suffering and death. What do we mean? We mean, that by His death on the Cross, Our Lord gained, merited, won - all past tense. He won all the graces that a thousand worlds need to be saved. But we shall not be saved, unless we cooperate with those graces. Christ did His part. God became man as we've said many times. God became man mainly to have a human will, so that with His human will He would, and I repeat, win, gain, earn, all the graces that the human race needs to be saved. But if God uses a human will - so he could freely offer Himself on the Cross – we must use our free will and use our free will in two ways. Use our free will in obtaining the graces that Christ won. And how do we obtain those graces? In three ways: by prayer, by the sacraments and by doing good works. Three basic ways in which we obtain grace from God as the first part of our responsibility, the second is not just getting the graces, not just obtaining the graces - we must put those graces to use. In other words, we must cooperate with the graces. And that the expression sounds strange, that's what St. Paul means when he says that we are to make up what is lacking. What's lacking? Our cooperation! Perhaps the tenth time, we are repeating. We are Catholics. And for fifteen centuries, until the Protestant Churches, as they call themselves, broke with the Catholic faith. (Rooster crows)

Fr. Hardon: Could you help that? Is that an animal?

Audience: Yes, it's a rooster, Father.

Fr. Hardon: Put him into custody - put him into custody. (laughter)

What is lacking is our obtaining the grace and then using the grace that Christ won for us by His death on Calvary. And that means we must use our free will. Two free wills redeem the world. The free will of

Christ who became man to have a free will and our free will.

Where are the children not baptized if their parents have not received the sacrament of marriage?

The Church’s law is very simple. The Church does not encourage the Baptism of children for parents, watch it, who will not raise their children in the Catholic faith. However, and here, and don't forget. It is a mistake. It is contrary to the teachings of the Church, to not baptize children whose parents who are not living, say, in a valid marriage, or their parents are not practicing their faith. Provided somebody, somebody, raises those children in the faith. It does not have to be the parents. Am I clear? Even though parents have not been reared in the faith or are not living in a valid marriage. Normally, of course, parents are the first and primary teaching their children. But not only, that's what sponsors are for. And sponsors are not really symbolic persons. They have a grave responsibility. A sponsor has a grave responsibility to see the child or the children for whom that person has been a sponsor at Baptism. Am I clear? You need not be the parents. Obviously, and normally, it should be the parents. But it need not be the parents. Provided someone will raise those children in the Catholic faith. The Church herself encourages those children to be raised as Catholics, even though their parents are not living or practicing their faith. Thank you.

And now, I think we've almost finished the Gift of Knowledge. Have we begun the Gift of Counsel?

Sisters: Yes, Father.

Fr. Hardon:

Ok, ok. Now, I think, Sisters, we have pretty well covered the Gift of Counsel. And we were talking, I believe, before we closed, about the necessity of the Gift of Counsel. Especially, in the more important decisions of life. There is need for discrimination. And the problem, as you know, now-a-days, is that what even 30, 40, years ago - pick up any book with an imprimatur and you were safe. Go to a priest, almost any priest, and you were sure you were getting good advice. But, that is no longer true! And that is why we must depend, and I mean this, we must depend more than ever before on the Gift of the Holy Spirit to counsel us. To tell us what we should do in a given situation. This includes the assurance, the confidence that we need that what we are doing is pleasing to God. And over the years the people say how they want a spiritual director. "Father, will you be my spiritual director"? I never say in so many words "no". I don't want to disappoint her. But, there is no way that any priest, a priest who is faithful to his own priestly commitment could possibly call the number of people who would want his advice. In my office in Detroit - this is about three years ago - I had an answering system. And each person who called, there was a number - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. They would leave a message and of course expect me to call them back. One day I told the secretary at 9:00 in the morning. "There's so much work to do today, let's turn off the answering machine, so that people can't call, give their name, and whatever they are calling about". And then, I promised to call them back. This is not unusual. But that day, from 9:00 in the morning, till 5:00 in the evening, when I turned the machine back on, there were 47 telephone calls. And some very serious situations. I have a woman who believes she's possessed. And I have not talked to her since I've come from Haiti, but she attempted suicide about 10 days ago and wants to be exorcised. But I'm not sure she's possessed. Though I have dealt with possessed people. But any one person like that, that can be hours, a day even, one or two days a week. I have all kinds of unfinished business. Now, I had to consult the Holy Spirit and ask Him to give me the Counsel. "Should I go to Haiti"? And your Superiors asked me if I would come to Haiti for two weeks. This week and all next week. After prayer, I called up your Superior and said, "Thanks, I can come for only one week". You follow me? - Each one of us, there are so many things to be done and not just quantity, but delicate situations. Sisters, I cannot share here with you anything more important than to depend on the Holy Spirit. Consult Him, ask Him, "What should I do?" And then trust Him! Now you have your Superiors and thank God, your Superiors are still, well, Superiors. In many Communities, where they used to call Superiors are no longer Superiors. They never tell the Religious what to do. They consult you. "Do you want to do this? Do you want to do that?" But our lives, all of our lives, are too delicate and especially they are too interior. I think I should say this too. The deepest decisions of our lives, Sisters, are not external decisions. "What do I do, say at ll:00 o'clock? What kind of work do I do? Or how should I do it?" The deepest decisions are deep down inside of our souls. And these decisions, in most cases, no human being can tell you what to do. Am I still making sense, Sisters? There must be an intimacy with God. A closeness of the Holy Spirit. And living as much as we can in His presence, so that the decisions we make interiorly are not to be made on the, what a cheap word, “advice” of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not give just advice. The Holy Spirit gives directives. And that is what we call the Gift of Counsel and in women's communities. I mean the good ones that want to live an authentically Religious life. For example, I've been hearing confessions on well, what is it, 5:30 to 6:30, and there are, shall we say 35. We have two days left. I would like to, well, be available for each one of you. But, my conscience tells me if someone has a question to discuss, I will talk it over in the fashion of confession. Which means, someone else does not have the time. Am I clear? Some priests just are not that available. What I may do, I'll consult with your Superior. What I may do, is add, even today, at least a half an hour or maybe one hour for confessions, if you want to talk something over. Ok? But, as a last analysis, our first principle and primary Spiritual Director, is the Holy Spirit. Ok?. And that finishes the four Gifts of the Holy Spirit pertaining to the mind. And now we start the three Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which belong to the will. And what are they? Who remembers?

Sisters: Piety, Fortitude,

Fr. Hardon: So, whatever sequence you use. But, I've found it useful, for Thursday, it is the Gift of….

Sisters: Fortitude.

Fr. Hardon: And Friday?

Sisters: Piety.

Fr. Hardon: And Saturday?

Fr. Hardon:

So, we will now talk about the Gift of Fortitude. (Pause) All the Gifts are here, but they're not in sequence. So the first of the Gifts belonging to the will is the Gift of Fortitude. First of all, by way of introduction,


Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

search tips advanced search

What's New    Site Index

Home | Directory | Eucharist | Divine Training | Testimonials | Visit Chapel | Hardon Archives

Adorers Society | PEA Manual | Essentials of Faith | Dictionary | Thesaurus | Catalog | Newsletters

Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association
718 Liberty Lane
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 815-254-4420
Contact Us

Copyright © 2000 by
All rights reserved worldwide.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of