Filipino Mystic Emma Ministers in Utica Healing Service
May 15th 2012 · 1 Comment
A standing-room-only audience packed the church of St. Anthony and St. Agnes two Sundays ago to avail themselves to the ministry and messages of a Catholic mystic. Special Guest Emma de Guzman was invited to pray with the Reverend Father Anthony LaFache and other clergy for the individual needs of some 600 people in attendance.
The Special Healing Service coincided with the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the East side parish, and is also an extension of the ministry’s long-standing identification with the Prayer Healing Movement.
A Filipino by birth, Emma came into national and international recognition as a visionary following her “reported” encounter with the Blessed Mother on December 8th of 2004, on the Feast Day of the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The site of this first Visitation, not far from a Salesian Retreat House in the Philippine barrio of Batulao Batangas, soon evolved into a place of pilgrimage for countless Catholics, and is today known worldwide as “The Mountain of Salvation.”
As devotees ventured to the Philippines for prayer meetings and healing services, Emma continued to have encounters with the Blessed Mother. It is claimed that she was also visited by angels and that she’s conversed with well-know Saints on a number of occasions. According to many pilgrims, supernatural “manifestations” often accompanied Emma’s ministrations at The Mountain of Prayer. As documented on videotapes, healings and miracles, “signs and wonders,” prophesies and visions and “words of knowledge” regularly attended her ministries of prayer and her leadership in worship.
In the Philippines and elsewhere, many first-hand witnesses have accordingly come to believe that Emma is a chosen instrument of the Lord who’s been entrusted with God-given Messages for our times.
Emma is the Foundress of the La Pieta International Prayer House Movement. After relocating to the U.S. several years ago, her Mother of Joy House of Prayer became a prototype for many other prayer retreat centers. Outside of her homeland in the Philippines, she has been instrumental in establishing Prayer Houses in the United States and Canada, France and Portugal, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies. Her leadership in this connection was generally commended to the Catholic faithful by her Archbishop, the Most Reverend Ramon C. Arguelles, D.D.
Prior to her ministry at the afternoon Healing Service, Reverend LaFache read a short letter of introduction from the Archbishop of the Lipa Diocese in the South Pacific, which delineated – or prescribed in very specific terms – particular aspects of “ministry” in which Emma had been an evident blessing to fellow believers. She accordingly stands in accountability to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the Healing Service at St. Anthony’s, Father LaFache invited anyone and everyone present to come forward for individual prayer. He encouraged attendants to believe that healings and miracles are real Events that continue to happen today, even as they did in the days of the Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament Book of Acts.
Some attendants waited for hours for prayer. Whether terminally ill, chronically infirmed, or otherwise afflicted and needy, all who came forward received personal prayer. People were also “anointed with holy oil,” in keeping with the Biblical injunction for elders who pray for the sick. The “results” of these prayers, per se, were then left in the Hands of the Lord.
The ministers also encouraged any of the faithful who were ill – even those who were seriously afflicted – to take heart, as the temporal welfare of Christians and the eternal happiness of the people of God ultimately rests not on our physical well-being here on earth but rather on Higher Ground. We need not despair if our health ails us, or even if we are not healed, as we may like to be. Beyond what we see, Providence is at work.
As Father LaFache also stated, by far the very most important thing is that the Lord Loves us. “To know, that you know, that you know, that you know.” This, he said, is the greatest revelation any one of us can have in this life.
Emma was asked if she had any “Messages” for us. She paused, with dutiful reserve, before offering two brief directives. Her messages were simple. “Pray,” she said. A goodly-long silence followed her one-sentence directive. “And, pray for your priest,” she then said.
She then extended her second prescription with an opinion that was very hard to hear: “For there is no salvation without a priest,” she said. It’s difficult to know what she meant by this statement, as this supplemental instruction wasn’t developed any further in her discourse. A cultural communication breakdown may be at ploy, as Emma is not a native-English-speaker. It is possible that the theological terms “salvation” and “sanctification” are here confused, either misunderstood or perhaps co-mingled in improper usage. For in and of itself, this dictum cannot be supported as a truth-claim by sound, orthodox tenets of mainstream Christian belief.
Speaking plainly, neither Orthodox, nor Protestant and Reformed, nor Pentecostal and Charismatic, nor even Roman Catholic doctrines affirm this concept. The New Testament states without equivocation that there is no other mediator between God and humankind besides the Person of Jesus Christ. In the larger scheme of things, priests and pastors and other ministers certainly do have very important, indispensable roles to play in helping Christians to mature in their Faith. Religious leaders may indeed help us; godly people will inspire us to godliness, without question. But salvation, itself, rests entirely upon the Savior, Himself ~ upon Christ – and upon Him, alone.
Scriptures instruct Christian leaders to evaluate things, to be discerning, to “approve those things which are excellent” and, conversely, to not be swept away by “winds of doctrine.”
Speaking specifically about the miraculous, Jesus says to his followers that his disciples will do “even greater things” than He did as they bore witness to the gospel of the Kingdom to come. Jesus also says that “an evil and perverse generation seeks for signs.” He too states that healings and prophesies may indeed accompany the ministries of messengers – to whom He may have to say on the final day of judgement, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.”
This is why it is both presumptuous and even dangerous to endorse a person’s ministry based upon “signs and wonders” and the like. Should they occur, miracles and apparitions might be awesome, other-worldly witnesses to the Realities of “the age to come.” Yet such supernatural manifestations in and of themselves are not infallible “proof” that the Truth of God is actually being commended.
Early Church leaders, in fact, instructed Christians not to trust in such things. In contrast to some trends in our own times, their saintly counsel was neither to seek nor desire such things, as their pastoral experience had shown that believers who opened themselves up to such things could be too easily misled through the subtle deceits of self-delusion and spiritual pride.
As a result, the naive became unwisely enmeshed with supernatural superpowers in the cosmic realm – lured into error and unnecessary problems all because they followed fleshly intrigues rather than holding fast to sound Apostolic doctrine and devotional practices sanctioned by the Church.
In short, itinerant ministers are to be welcomed “in the name of the Lord.” Their words and messages are to be tested and proven. It is the responsibility of church leaders to effect this, as resident “pastors” are charged with “shepherding of the flock of God” under their committal.
The higher fruits of Emma de Guzman’s ministry are best measured in the light of the qualities of character that she possesses. Emma is a simple soul, and as one of the old hymn puts it: “‘tis a gift to be simple.” She’s humble, not egoistic or egotistic; she doesn’t readily gravitate “front-and-center to the spotlight,” like some American evangelists who’ve passed the scene, only too tragically.
She’s generous and self-giving, and has a history of living on little more other than what’s truly necessary. She’s an engaging individual, unpretentious, and compelling in her worship-full persona. She’s a believable “witness” who points people to Someone other-than herself. She moves people, and is evidentially a Catholic “religious.”
Some hold Emma to be a saint. She may be; one day she may be canonized as such. But this is certainly not how she thinks of herself.
In documentaries she repeatedly confesses that she’s a very imperfect person, that she’s weak, very much in need of God’s mercy and constantly dependent on the Lord’s all-sustaining grace. (It should be noted that many of the Saints – most of the Saints in both the East and the West — have been, at once, so aware of the Holiness of God and so ever-conscious of the Beauty and majesty and grandeur of His infinite “perfections” that, as they compared themselves to This, they felt themselves to be – or, they genuinely knew themselves to be – gravely in need of Help from Above. Such knowledge drove the Saints to reach out for Divine enablement ~ from which they accordingly Experienced the Love of God.)
Any talk about sainthood is, in this case, premature. Emma herself wouldn’t want to hear of it. As she was in her pulpit presence, so she would be best commended to us: not so much as a mystic or as a visionary as a person in love with her Lord ~ as a Christian – inciting us to pray.
By Mark Ziobro