It was time for another one of my weekly counseling sessions. I sat in my therapist’s office, a place where I found a lot of comfort and consolation during anxious moments at the beginning of college. Just as I was beginning to rant about my life, I looked over at the desk where she sat, seeing a collection of sage, crystals, and books on spiritual mindfulness. My language was prayer. Her language was meditative practices. And I realized then that we weren’t talking about the same call to spirituality.
Then, it was everywhere.
This trendy new age spirituality wasn’t like the obvious evils of Ouija boards and palm readers I was cautioned about when I was in middle school. The eclectic collections of crystals occupied the decor section in my local HomeGoods store. Friends started asking me about my moon sign the minute I acted out of character. Conversations I overheard on campus entailed being “spiritual, but not religious,” and I was convinced that many young people hopped on the bandwagon of this trend that disguised itself as faith.
Maybe you’ve downloaded the Co-Star app and played with your astrological signs. Maybe you own a crystal just for decoration, and maybe you really don’t know about the spiritual implications behind what look like accessories. Regardless of your exposure to all of these things, it’s important to recognize the places where we give our time and attention, and how our worship in the Lord should hold priority in these places.
New Age spirituality is an umbrella term to define a mysticism that includes, but is not limited to, the use of crystals and varying forms of divination to provide spiritual or natural healing. But, natural healing isn’t about drinking herbal tea or getting lots of rest when we are feeling under the weather. It refers to the removal of negative energy by giving power or control to an individual, which opens doors to other spiritual realms. And while this form of witchcraft is no new news, pop culture’s promotion of it has become a disguise for what is of Satan and not of God.
To understand our role in this era of spiritual healing, we must first recognize that Satan and temptation is real. Satan often masks himself in desirable or attractive things as a way to draw souls away from God. Sure, having spiritual health, mindfulness, and inner peace appears to be good. We can easily convince ourselves that participating in such activities is out of lightheartedness. But, when we start allowing earthly materials to define our souls, we are exposing ourselves to a real evil without actually recognizing it, and there is nothing lighthearted about that.
Needless to say, our culture holds a lot of desperation for healing. Social media attracts people to seek immediate physical or emotional cures through spiritual or natural remedies. These doubts we may have about our spiritual well-being are questions that only God could provide the answers to. Because the Church recognizes healing by divine grace, we can point back to the ministry of Christ and the many physical healings he performed that filled his disciples with faith and commissioned them to carry on His work. And while we are people living in the hope of the Resurrection, we also must acknowledge the suffering that exists in our lives. We are called to recognize that the passion precedes the Resurrection and in order to experience divine grace and healing through Christ, we have to first accept suffering as a natural part of the human and Christian experience.
Selflessness vs. Selfishness
Admittedly, I’m someone who likes control. The beauty of our faith is that Christ calls us to surrender that control to the hands of our God, rather than putting the power of saving souls into our own hands. As Christians, we recognize the Lord as all-powerful and all-knowing, which contradicts spiritual exercises that ask us to channel our inner power and seek spiritual counsel alone. If we are selfishly treating ourselves as more powerful than our almighty God, we are approving of evil to enter into not just our own lives, but into the world as well, which has serious consequences (for more on this, see The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2110-2117).
Our curiosity for trends like this are opportunities for us to direct our attention toward the sacraments, where we can experience Jesus’ love, mercy, and goodness. When we devote so much time — and even an obsession — to makeshift healing exercises or tools that are products of man, we fail to leave space for the Holy Spirit to enter into our lives. But when we invest our time in the Lord through the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion, we dive deeper into an understanding of true spiritual healing that exists solely in the power of God. We experience the real presence of Jesus, the only one who can fulfill the desires we have and provide the healing that we need in our hearts.
Made for Greater
We are not created to be tied down to the world and place our trust in the things of the earth. We are made for so much greater. Knowing that our end goal isn’t earthly spiritual health leaves us with a lasting hope for eternal and divine joy with Christ in Heaven where our souls will be made white as snow. The victory on the cross triumphs over any evil that the devil tries to accessorize as beautiful. Drawing nearer to our faith in God in this way allows us to see the most real beauty we know: the redemptive love of God alone.
When conversations with friends or social media posts about natural healing cloud your days, I highly encourage you to find strength in prayer. The spookiest thing we can do this season is to consent to a trendy lifestyle that leads us further away from the heart of God. Call on the saints and angels in Heaven (let St. Michael and Our Mother Mary be your prayer warriors), and trust in the hope of the Resurrection as our very spiritual healing from sin and death.
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash.