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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Falling after being prayed over

by Catherine Frakas 22 May 2001

Falling after being prayed over QUESTION from Mary Frances August 14, 2001 Dear Brother,
My mother recently attended a mass where a visiting priest offered to pray over people after the mass. He was supposedly in a car accident or something and his hand is permanently held in a peace sign. He said that he knew he came to her church in answer to their prayers, and I guess this was a healing mass? Some of these people that the priest prayed over fell. My mother was one of these people. I noticed in my bulletin that we are going to have a healing mass at my church soon. Is this normal? My mom says that she was holding my dad's hand and the hand of the person next to her, and that she remembers holding on tight because she was NOT going to fall (like all those other wierd people). My dad says that the priest said Jesus is here and then my mom fell. He says she had a smile on her face the whole time. He said she laid there for a few minutes, and then opened her eyes and stood up. She says that she remembers the priest saying that if you feel like you are being carried away, just go with it, and don't worry about getting hurt, and that she felt like she was in Jesus's arms. The next thing she knew, she was on the floor looking up and my dad was asking her if she was alright. She wasn't hurt at all. I don't know what to think of this. I have never even heard of anything like this happening in a Catholic church. She said the priest didn't push her, that she just fell and she KNOWS that she was being held by God. I have felt an angel holding me before, so I can relate, but what was the falling bit about? Did they poison her kool-aid or what? Seriously, if this is from God, what is the point? Do you know anything about this?
Thank you, and God Bless
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 15, 2001 Dear Mrs. Frances:
No, the kool-aid was not poisoned. :-) What you are describing is called being Slain in the Spirit. The experience is suppose to be one in which the Holy Spirit comes upon you in a powerful way that overwhelmes you and you fall (are slain) into a pseudo-esctasy.
I think that 95% of this is caused by the pyschology of suggestion and not from any spiritual source. But we cannot discount that for some the experience is a Holy Spirit experience.
By the way, the person who experiences this will ALWAYS say that it was the Holy Spirit. But they are not qualifed to say that. This is such an emotional and subjective experience that it is not possible for the person themselves to evaluate it objectively.
This being slain in the spirit was popularized by Pentecostal Charismatics. That alone begs for at least some suspecion.
Extreme forms of this phenomen have cropped up like the so-called Toronto Experience in which people are so overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit that they bark like dogs and other such stupidities.
I do know from personal exprience that one does tend to want to kneel or prostrate oneself when the power of the Most High is powerfully in one's presence. Thus I can see that one might uncontrolably fall perhaps.
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