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Re: Slain in the Spirit / Validity of Charismatic Movement
Question from Anon on 10/9/2004:

Dr Geraghty,

Someone recently asked if any readers of this forum had experienced being "Slain in the Spirit" without receiving a "push" from the person praying over you. I will gladly share my experience: I am very familiar with the charismatic movement, and have seen many many people experience being slain in the spirit, as well as having experienced it myself.(For those who dont know, it resembles fainting; a person is prayed over by the laying on of hands, and sometimes the person falls backwards.)

Essentially what it is is that the person receiving prayer is overcome with a tremendous sense of peace, and finds the freedom to just relax or "rest" in the Spirit of the Lord. No one who falls is ever meant to be forced backwards (as if God has to prove something), and the person who falls is at all moments completely aware that he/she is falling. It is often misunderstood that one falls completely outside of his/her own will to do so.

In my own experience, there have been times when I received a physical push from someone (likely, someone who doesnt understand it, or is trying to force it on someone)... and, in those cases, I resist it, as I know it is not what the Lord intends to do. BUT, most of the time when I've experienced this, it is because I've truly encountered a deep sense of peace, and/or an overwhelming sense of the Lord's presence in my midst, and I am overcome with such freedom and openness that I fall backwards and just rest in it. It's like a great flood of refreshment to the soul if one is open to it, and allows it.

It is often misunderstood and can (understandably) seem contrary to the Catholic Church ... however, if anyone is involved with the charismatic movement and DOES NOT have complete focus, obedience, and devotion to the Church, then it is likely for people to insert their own desires or create their own "encounters" with the Lord. However, those who DO have such focus and obedience are at all times aware of Christ in His Catholic Church, and can encounter the Holy Spirit in very real and powerful ways!!

Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II says, "Thanks to the charismatic movement, many Christians, men and women, youths and adults, have rediscovered Pentecost as a living and present reality in their daily life... I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread in the Church, as a renewed thrust of prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation ...I sincerely desire that this initiative lead many to rediscover the gifts of the Spirit, which have their source in Pentecost. Among us, with raised hands, is praying the Virgin, Mother of Christ and of the Church. Together with her, let us implore and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, light of truth, strength of authentic peace " (VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2004 (

I hope this helps.

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 10/11/2004:

Dear Anon,

Thank you for your informative account. The Charistmatic movement has indeed helped many Catholics.

Dr. Geraghty


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