Many great writers already quoted on this blog, including Garrigou-Lagrange, believe this is not a call only for those special mystics who are obviously given such graces, but for all Catholics. I say Catholics, as one cannot pursue holiness and the type of purity extended by God unless one is grounded in sound doctrine.
This is a huge misunderstanding of our times. Most Catholics I have met in recent years do not understand that assent to the Teachings of the Catholic Church is the essential ground for the flower of holiness to grow. One who holds heretical ideas, even though the person may not realize his or her errors, cannot move into the life of the virtues and the life of perfection.
In this age of false ecumenism, people, even priests, do not want to accept the fact that heresy, that is the protestant position on anything, means that a person is in need of purgation, of purification in the mind and the imagination, as well as the soul.
If one believes, for example. that one can be absolved from sin merely by talking to Jesus in a room by one's self, there is a serious misunderstanding of the need for the Sacrament of Confession and the role of the Church, through St. Peter, in the forgiveness of sins.
Two ladies in Ireland asked me to help them critique a seer who claims to be seeing Jesus and Mary. I found in a very short period of time, less than an hour, twenty errors of doctrine in the supposed words of Jesus and Mary. The seer repeats doctrines condemned by the Church in the Council of Trent and even before that seminal Council. The seer contradicts some of the encyclicals against Modernist heresies. And yet, even after I shared these errors with four people, the seer was accepted by them as a holy person worthy to be read.
This is Gnosticism, one of the greatest heresies to attack the Church from the earliest days. Gnostics are especially found in Ireland and England, a country where so many Catholics seem to need private revelation instead of a solid course on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I have written earlier on this blog on the dangers of false seers. I warn all who read this blog that one can lose one's soul by following false prophets. We only need to look at history to see the damage done by those who claimed to have revelation from the Holy Ghost outside the Church. Luther, Zwingli, Knox, Mary Baker Eddy, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Leonardo Boff, Jeremiah Wright, Christina Gallagher, Veronica Leuken and others. Gnosticism is a temptation for those who do not want to study their own faith, the doctrines of the Church and want either a quick way to truth and mystical experiences, or who want to believe they have private knowledge, not given to all.
St. John of the Cross understood that his experience of Christ as All-Consuming Love was and is available to all, not merely to a chosen few. He knew and taught that the way to Truth and Love was through honesty, humility, complete obedience to the Church, suffering and the denial of self.
The denial of self involves being obedient at all times.
Those good Catholics who follow either those seers already condemned by the Church, or those who are not teaching Church doctrine need to be aware that their own souls are in danger of perdition.
For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Matthew 14:24, D-R.
There are excellent Catholic people, even those who attend daily Mass and go to weekly Adoration, and frequent Confession, who are wrapped up in false prophecy. My advice is and always will be, compare all things with the Teaching of the Catholic Church and when in doubt, chose the Church's teachings, which are from God, from Christ, and protected by the Holy Spirit. Some of my good Catholic friends are tempted into feeling safe in their salvation and the anxieties of daily life by following these false seers.
Gnostic tendencies in a soul are based on pride and ignorance. We do not have to feel or be special to enter Heaven. We only need to be obedient, humble members of the One, True, Holy and Apostolic Church.
The Gnostic psychology involves following a person who seems to have special knowledge from God. There is such a Person and He is Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who instituted His Church on earth in order to carry on His Truth and Mandate to teach all nations. Only in Christ, through Peter and the successors of Peter, can we be saved. No other special, arcane knowledge will save us, but instead, do the opposite and take us away from the Truth.
Any visionary which adds to Revelation is in error. Revelation ended with the Book of Revelations. An visionary who undermines the Sacraments or the Priesthood is in error. Any visionary who claims private knowledge outside of the teachings of the Catholic Church is in error. Any visionary who takes money or makes money from his or her followers is a false prophet. Any visionary who contradicts a bishop or a priest, or even the Pope, is in error. And, suffering is not an automatic sign of holiness. It can be rooted in pride.
St. John of the Cross was persecuted by his own order, by his own fellow religious. He never left the Church. He stayed close to the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Catholic Church. He is our example to follow to the experiences of Love. He leads us back to Christ. He is firmly within the Church. Such are the saints....
There are reasons for the canonization process and the process of reading the works of those who seem holy. There are reasons why we must obey a bishop or a tribunal, even if we may disagree with the findings. Disagreement should cause the lay person to pray and study, especially study the Scriptures and the Teachings of the Church. Too many Catholics, both liberal and Gnostic claim they do not have to believe either "trad" bishops or "liberal bishops". Obedience is the key to all other virtues. Without obedience, one cannot even start the long road to holiness. Anything less than understanding and accepting Church doctrine is willful disobedience. Read, study, pray....