The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 159.

Moreover, to certain chosen souls our Lord has deigned to grant, when the needs of His Church required it, visions of His Saints and of His Blessed Mother—sometimes (but very rarely) even of His Own glorified Humanity. Such visions, when we are assured that they are real and divine, that is, neither the result merely of our own disordered imagination, nor the work of the powers of evil, should be welcomed by men, as coming from God. With regard to such visions there is an attitude of credulity that is much to be deprecated, but I do not think that it is likely in the end to be so injurious to the soul as the opposite extreme of blank, persistent unbelief. St. Paul writes that he would not believe any other Gospel than that which he had received and preached, even though it were delivered to him by one who claimed to be an angel of Heaven, for should any spiritual visitant teach anything against the Faith that has once been delivered, we should know him to be an angel of darkness under the appearance of an angel of light. (Gal. i. 6, 8.) Accordingly we are commanded to test the spirits whether they be of God (1 John iv. i) —under which command may, I think, be included apparitions from the other world. But how can we test them, if there be no spirits to test ? Or, how can we be deceived by an evil angel appearing under the guise of a good angel, if neither evil nor good angels have ever visited mankind ? It is obvious that to reject all such apparitions is not merely to smile at the solemn Theophanies of the Old Testament, but even to reduce the Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary to the unreality of a fairy tale. Such a shocking and blasphemous conclusion has been reached and even publicly avowed by highly placed Anglican clergymen, who still remain of good repute amongst their co-religionists. Catholics should be thankful to know that they are secured against the possibility of any such spiritual shipwreck, so long as they hold fast to the principles of their religion. If any Catholic were to maintain that no apparition of Angel or Saint had taken place since the times recorded in the New Testament—since, for example, our Lord sent His Angel to deliver Peter from prison—he would put himself hopelessly outside of the stream of Catholic tradition, as well as of Catholic thought and feeling; moreover, he would be heaping up unnecessary difficulties for himself, since once admit that apparitions from the unseen world have ceased to take place, and it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that they ever occurred, even though they be recorded in the Bible. On the other hand, once recognise that they may be granted at the present day, and every difficulty presented by the Bible narrative in this matter is reduced to a minimum. Catholics, therefore, are not commonly surprised when they hear of apparitions of the dead (whether of Saints from Heaven or of souls from Purgatory); rather the surprise well may be that such apparitions do not occur more frequently.