Church teaching on locutions

Question from butterflygirl on 4/16/2008:

Dear Fr Robert,

There is a girl in my parish (a friend of mine) who says that she is getting inner locutions from Jesus. She is humble, devoted to Our Lady, and down to earth. For a while, I believed that her locutions were real, but now I have reason to doubt... for several reasons: 1) She got a locution (supposedly) telling me not to marry someone. I asked around and several people (including Alice von Hildebrand!) told me that I am under no obligation to obey what she said. 2) She goes to a prayer group in my area (Rochester, NY) that is kind of sketchy, and is associated with John Leary, who supposedly gets messages from God about the end times.

So, I'm 99% certain that this locution business is a psychological thing - she certainly has good and sincere intentions, but I believe she is mislead and I'm fairly certain she has not submitted herself to the judgment of a good confessor.

My question for you is twofold: 1) Where would you suggest I read up on the Church's teachings on these matters? I'd like to get a better understanding of this topic from the doctrinal and historical perspectives. I feel very unfamiliar with it. 2) How would you suggest I help her? She is a friend of mine (a new one, admittedly) and I would like to help her... but I would like to do so in the most delicate, respectful way possible.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated!


Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 4/18/2008:
Butterflygirl, The best treatiment of locutions is done by St. John of the Cross and can be found in his "Ascent to Mt. Carmel" Bk. 2;chp. 19 and following. Even if from God Himself, his advice = don't follow or believe them. Fr. Bob Levis

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