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. Thérèse 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 monotony of sacrifice."
"A brilliant investigation into a complex and fascinating subject in which the boundaries of mysticism, psychology and spiritual direction intersect. Probably no one is better prepared to provide such sound guidance on this sensitive topic than Fr. Groeschel." ? Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D., Assoc. Professor of Religious Studies St. Edward's University, Austin, Texas
"Combining insights from mystical theology and modern psychology, Father Groeschel offers much sound advice for sorting through competing claims of divine revelations. His book is a sophisticated discussion of religious experience and the problems of translating this into public discourses in the context of Roman Catholic theology." ? Sandra Zimdars-Swartz, Professor of Religious Studies University of Kansas
"Fr. Groeschel, who is equally competent in theology and psychology, has provided helpful directions in dealing with one of the most serious pastoral problems facing the Church today. A valuable resource for discerning the credibility of these phenomena of miraculous visions and happenings." ? Bishop John Sheets, S.J., Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend
Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR is the director of the Office of Spiritual Development for the New York Archdiocese. He has written numerous books on the spiritual life and pastoral counseling. He is a member of the Franciscans of the Renewal who preach evangelical reform and work with the homeless in the South Bronx.