Part A

Part A: The Pharisaical Spirit in the World


God the Father,

Our Lord Jesus Christ & Our Lady of Emmitsburg

The Saints, the Popes & Theologians

Speak on:


The Pharisaical Spirit


A “spirit” not of the Holy Spirit

(Compiled by Michael T. Sullivan, MD)


“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,

but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?...You hypocrite!

Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;

then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

(Mt 7:3-5)


A.     The Pharisaical Spirit in the World

B.     The Pharisaical Spirit in the Church


The Catholic Encyclopedia (Catholic Reference) defines the “Pharisees” as an active, vociferous religious Jewish sect in the centuries before and after Christ appeared on earth.  They represented by and large the intellectual sector of their people, because they were avid, contentious students and teachers of Jewish religious law.  Their intensity and single-mindedness resulted in a harsh and uncharitable emphasis on the legal aspects of religion at the expense of charity and loving concern.  Jesus represented a threat to their intellectual security and leadership.  They baited Him at every opportunity, they tried to trap him into wrong answers. (Mt: 22:15-22)  They proposed questions, hoping to prove contradictions. (Mt 23:34-40)  They deplored the company He kept.  They objected to his Sabbath activities. (Mk 2:15-17, 23-26) They even plotted against His life. (Jn 11:45-54)  Indeed they worked together with the priests and Sadducees until their plotting culminated in His arrest and crucifixion.  (Jn 18:3)  Their hostility, of course, was aggravated by the accusations that Jesus leveled at the Pharisees.  He called them “hypocrites.” (Mt 15:7)  He deplored their legalisms as rendering God’s Word null and void. (Mk 7:13)  Their self-righteousness He exposed in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. (Lk 18:9-14)  The entire Chapter 23 of Matthew is a lengthy, detailed indictment of the Pharisee mentality.  Needless to say, all Pharisees were not fanatics.  Gamaliel and Nicodemus were men who kept a sense of balance and were open to the development of Judaism (Jn 3:1-21, Acts 5:34-39).  It is likely that many Pharisees became Christians. (Modern Catholic Encyclopedia, Fr. John A Hardon, S.J.)


Part A.  The Pharisaical Spirit in the World


“Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith

and heirs of the Kingdom that He promised to those who love Him?”

(James 2:5)


In her Messages to the world through Gianna Sullivan, Our Lady of Emmitsburg expresses the concerns of a loving Mother as she observes some of the effects of the secularization of the world on her children:

“There are many difficulties in life, especially today, as the world has become more secular than ever before in a way where God is not a part of life’s equation.  Therefore, very few truly are enthralled by the Love of God and His Grace, and very few in obedience simply desire what He wills.”  (Private OLOE, Aug. 14, 2008)

“A mother has the responsibility to teach her children about authentic love, true freedom, honest practices and just human values, thus securing the respect for the moral order.  A grave injustice is done on the human society as a whole when individuals, such as government authorities, do not respect true human values.”  (Public OLOE, Aug. 19, 1999)  “Now in your own government there are acts of manipulation and control.  Your own population, your own people in this country, have no clue as to the power and actions, the restraints and controls, that will be placed upon them.”  (Private OLOE, Feb. 16, 2009)  “A time is coming when the government will mandate and rule; and you will not have a choice, regardless of race or creed, poverty or wealth.  You will not have a choice!  You will only have to obey.  Your voice will not count.  Your actions will not move anyone.  Your visible pleas to them will not be accepted, almost as if you are repugnant, and your life an annoyance and even appalled by their beings.”  (Private OLOE, Oct 16, 2009)


“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!

You lock the Kingdom of Heaven before men.

You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter….

You traverse the sea and land to make one convert; and when that happens,

you make him a child of Gehenna, twice as much as yourselves….

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,

but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’

Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred?...”

(Mt. 23:13-16)


It seems that there is an evil attitude, an evil intellectual arrogance, an evil philosophy of untruth and half-truth, an evil spirit that has both infected and infested humanity’s “culture of death.”  It appears to have penetrated into almost every aspect of our human life:


Our government and political infrastructure,

most of the institutions and industries of modern society,

(science, law, business, finance, education, labor, communications, media & entertainment)

the politics of the workplace,

many modern ideologies, philosophies and religions,

the dynamics of our family life,

and even Mother Church.


This secular spirit can affect any person who is not vigilant in prayer and very easily aligns with that pharisaical spirit which was so prevalent in the time of Jesus.  It leads to bullying, pride, greed, dishonesty and deception, slander, character assassination, un-forgiveness, retaliation, the “blame” game and gridlock.  It leaves little room for authentic charity, humility and God’s Love.


Warnings in regards to evil spirits have also been a part of Our Lady of Emmitsburg’s teachings, and she warns of the deceptions that can occur because of the lack of prayer:


“Evil has struck the earth, and spirits of darkness are everywhere leading people astray.  Many are abandoning the faith.  Even priests are breaking away from the True Word of God.”  (Public OLOE, Mar. 18, 1999)  “What now unfolds depends on the Will of God, before which we humbly bow.  I have told you that prayer is so important because of the evil workings in the spirits of those who would rather not have this unfold.  Be prepared for those who seem overly friendly, trying to persuade and manipulate you to think and move in other directions.”  (Private OLOE, Oct. 9, 2003)  “Do not doubt that there is turmoil caused by both other spirits and by human beings themselves who have desired not to respond to the Will of God.” (Private OLOE, Mar. 8, 2004)  “There are many people out there.  They were not initially evil.  They were holy, but they allowed enticements and anger into their hearts and their weaknesses to be exposed to the evil one.  So what you have seen are the repercussions of this, people trying to destroy your works here. But this cannot be possible, as much as they try….The only thing possible is that the weaknesses in their spirits are relinquished to evil spirits.  Those who are entrapped solidly in prayer and discernment and who remain focused cannot be influenced.”  (Private OLOE, Oct. 31, 2005)


“If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age,

let him become a fool, so as to become wise.

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God…”  (1Cor 3:19-20)


In His Lessons to the world, as early as 1989 Our Lord spoke of the vanity which was overwhelming humanity as well as the way to deal with it and with all the evil in the world:


“My people are vain.  There is no humility or self-denial!  My people do not renounce themselves and ask for My Spirit to purify and sanctify themselves—vanity!  Woe to those who seek My knowledge out of curiosity instead of seeking My knowledge with humility and with lack of pride….Woe to those who discredit these, My words of Truth—My priests, My nuns, My theologians, My lay people!  I tell you who have received the gift of My intellect: ‘Beware that your pride in My humility does not deceive you or distract you. Pray for humility and self-denial.’  Before you judge My servants, look internally and judge your own pompous actions!...Take heed of My words.  Your vanity is killing your soul.” (JOM, Vol 1, #74, Aug. 8, 1989)


“There is much evil today.  The battle in the heavens continues.  Spirits of evil are trying to confuse and distract My beloved ones.  All people can be subject unless they pray fervently, center on Me, and utilize prudence and discernment.  Test all spirits.  Desire only that which is Divine.  Remain humble, simple and meek of heart.  Any confusion will dissipate with patient endurance and fervent prayer.  You will not stray nor will any forces of evil ever conquer you if you do as I have said.”  (JOM, Vol V, #20, Sept. 13, 1995) 


Those who find themselves in positions of authority, whether that be legitimate or usurped authority, whether they be in the secular world or spiritual endeavors, will be held by God accountable for those whom God has placed in their hands, not unlike the sheep in the care of a shepherd.  In the Book of Ezekiel, this responsibility is affirmed by the Lord God:


Thus says the Lord God:  “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves!  Should not the shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?  You have fed off their milk, worn their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings, but the sheep you have not pastured.  You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured.  You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally.  So they were scattered for lack of shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts.  My sheep were scattered and wandered over all the mountains and hills; my sheep were scattered over the whole earth, with no one to look after them or to search for them.”

Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:  “As I live,” says the Lord God, “because my sheep have been given over to pillage, and because my sheep have become food for every wild beast, for lack of a shepherd; because my shepherds did not look after my sheep, but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep.” Because of this, shepherds, “Hear the word of the Lord.”  Thus says the Lord God:  “I swear I am coming against these shepherds.  I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture themselves.  I will save my sheep that they may no longer be food for their (the shepherds) mouths.”  For thus says the Lord God:  “I myself will look after and tend my sheep.”  (Ez 34: 1-11)

In the second letter of Peter, the apostle warns those in positions of authority to tend the flock willingly and eagerly, without constraint or for profit; and then only should they expect a shepherd’s reward from the Chief Shepherd:


“So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ, and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.  Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit, but eagerly.  Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock; and when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  (1Pet 5:1-4)


In the New Testament, Our Lord Himself emphasizes some of the characteristics of this pharisaical spirit as He chastises the Pharisees and scribes for their apparent superficiality:  


“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!

You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,

but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.

Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,

so that the outside also maybe clean.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!

You are like white washed tombs,

which appear beautiful on the outside,

but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.

Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,

but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”

(Mt 23: 25-28)


In her Messages to the world, Our Lady of Emmitsburg has often detailed the effects of this pharisaical spirit.  In 2003, just before the Archdiocese of Baltimore took a fallible and unsubstantiated stand doubting the supernaturality of the apparitions of Our Lady of Emmitsburg to Gianna, Our Lady expressed her motherly concern:

“Those who think they the are righteous and all-knowing and that they are always right should know that they may be wrong.  Those who think that they are wrong, perhaps should know that they are right.  Turn in humility to my Son, and in this humility have tremendous hope; and pray, pray and pray, because now you are embarking  on a different era, the era of the unveiling of my Son’s Divine Mercy. This next phase is one in which He will make known in His Way, to the world and to His beloved ones, His words of Truth, His all-embracing Love, His righteousness, and His power as He judges the world.  His Justice is truthful, loving, righteous, and humble.” (Public OLOE, May 13, 2003)


“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;

one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.

The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,

‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the  rest of humanity—

greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this  tax collector’….

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and

would not even raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast and prayed,

‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;

for everyone who exalts himself  will be humbled,

and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

(Lk 18: 10-14)


Our Lady of Emmitsburg continues, supported by Scriptural passages:


“I invite you to pray, my little children.  Pray as you have never prayed before, because this is a world now, just as was the world 2000 years ago, with the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin, and with the humble and those who are true prophets.  Look back and see what happened then, and what is happening now; and see my Son’s Mercy unfold.  If you feel alone, know that you are not.  You walk with my Son.  If you feel you have power behind you, then know that perhaps you truly are alone.”  (Public OLOE, May 13, 2003)


“The scribes and Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.  Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,

but do not follow their example.

For they preach but they do not practice….

They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders….

They love places of honor at banquets and seats of honor in synagogues.” (Mt 23:2-6)

“Your salvation involves cooperation on your part.  It is so necessary for you to be humble and kind.  My Son gave His Life, and He is your salvation.  However, He also invites you to live in Him, and to be Him.  To be Him, you must be humble.  You cannot be filled with pride, be all-knowing and   (self-) righteous; for that was the way of the Pharisees.  They believed they knew the truth, but they did not believe in the Truth. Many have desired to receive what you have received, to hear what you have heard, and to see what you have seen.  Now for what has been given to you, much more is expected of you.   Do not allow another day to go by without you working and cooperating to change interiorly and without your following God’s Divine Will.”   (Public OLOE, Feb. 3, 2008)

Therefore, the Wisdom of God said, “I will send to them prophets and apostles; some they will kill and persecute in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world….

This generation will be charged with their blood.  Woe to you, scholars of the law!  You have taken away the key of knowledge.  You yourselves did not enter,

and you stopped those trying to enter.”

When He left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward Him

and to interrogate Him about many things,

for they were plotting to catch Him at something He might say.”

(Lk 11-49-54)


“Little ones, when you think about what my Son endured and how many people truly in their fury hated Him, you can see and understand much of His reactions.  He had a righteous anger at times when He was indignant because of what they did to God’s Holy Temple.  They made a marketplace out of it.  They also thought He was crazy.  They thought He was ‘of’ the devil.  Yet, in His just righteousness He spoke the Truth.  He told them they were not ‘of” God; because if they were of God, they would love Him and accept Him.


“The people were furious and wanted to kill Him.  They hated Him.  The slander, the gossip, the calumny, the malice, the judgment, and the rejection, most painful indeed!  How many people today do the same to others?  They have done this even to many of the prophets of this time.”  (Private OLOE, Mar. 14, 2008)


“It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better

that one man should die rather than the people.” 

(Jn 18:14)

“He has blasphemed.

What further need have we of witnesses….

He deserves to die.”

(Mt 27: 65-66)


“How serious a sin, especially against one of the commandments: “You shall not kill,” by ruining and hating, gossiping and judging, and even persuading people with your negative speech.  It destroys the person and the character, and you kill!


“That is what my Son endured, far much more than is humanly possible.  Imagine, if today someone spoke to you as my Son did to the Pharisees and the Sadducees, how would you react?  He was literally killed in His Body, and He suffered the tremendous pain of rejection.  Do you not do that also again to my Son when you do it to others?  Be careful what you say and how you say it.”  (Private OLOE, Mar. 14, 2008)


 “If this man were a prophet, he would know who

and what sort of woman this is who  is touching him,

that she is a sinner….So I tell you,

her many sins have been forgiven;

hence, she has shown great love.

But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

(LK 7:39,47)


“You do not realize the tears, the penance and the sacrifices made at a price for your existence!  There are hidden heroes around the world whose love is their life’s mission.  They pray to love; and oftentimes they come between you and God, warding off Divine punishment.  They pray for the spiritual transfusion and for conversion of hearts.  It was the same during the time of my Son.   The Pharisees, the Sadducees and the scribes did not bear fruit through their repeated sins.  They desired to persecute, to conquer, to dominate and to distort the goodness of my Son and the Truth of His Word.  Is it not the same today—with the “Pharisees” living with hardness of heart, desiring to tear down, persecute and dominate?  Is there not lust, gluttony, hatred and selfishness?....I am your Mother, full of grace; and my Merciful Son has allowed me to distribute these graces to you.  I have a duty as a Mother to warn, to challenge, to protect and to draw all people to God.  Please receive these graces while I am still allowed. (For) seals (Rev. 6:1-17) have been broken  one by one, but if all the seals were broken at once, humanity would not be able to survive.”  (Public OLOE, July 13, 2008)

It has not been the practice of including private revelation from other, yet unapproved mystical experiences, along with these compilations of spiritual gifts through Gianna Sullivan.  In doing so it is not the intent of me or the Foundation to endorse or slight these alleged mystical events. However, in this case, in regards to the topic of the pharisaical spirit, it is difficult to resist what has been given to the seer, Maureen Sweeney Kyle, and distributed through the ecumenical Holy Love Ministry in Elyria, Ohio.  These events have continued with consistency and fruitfulness for 25 years, and she has been the victim of extreme persecution from the Church, not unlike that experienced here in Emmitsburg and those who have remained loyal to the mission of Our Lady of Emmitsburg.  In the messages given to the seer, God the Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ as well as St. Thomas Aquinas all speak of this pharisaical spirit.  What has been said could certainly be applicable to both secular as well as Church circumstances in the world:


God the Father—Holy Love

“Even   after I sent My only Begotten Son into the world, the heart of humanity did not change.  My Son was rejected by the very ones He came to save. He was crucified by the pharisaical spirit which remains in the world today.   When I do try to intervene in world events today, I send My Son, His Mother or many saints.  My efforts are still rejected by this same pharisaical spirit.”   (Holy Love, Feb. 23, 2010)


“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in Me to sin,

it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck

and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Woe to the world because of things that cause sin!”

(Mt 18: 6-7)

St. Thomas Aquinas—Holy Love

“I have come to help you better understand the pharisaical spirit, for it is this spirit that is most often embraced by unbelievers. The Pharisees, in Jesus’ day, were spiritually and intellectually smug.  They believed their opinion was the only true opinion; their truth—the only truth.  They placed great value on station and wealth, intellect and power.  It took much arrogance to reach this level of pride….Some trust(ed) their own discernment, which may be just a rash judgment.  Others believe(d) the opinions only of those in authority, without regard for the truth.  This is why I tell you, to be spiritually little is like a safety net as you walk the tightrope of life.  The spiritually little do not fall into the trap of pharisaical pride, but are able to humbly recognize truth from error.” (Holy Love, Apr. 26, 2006)  “Childlikeness is the key to the Kingdom of God.  In the childlike heart, all the virtues come together in love, humility and simplicity….In this childlike trust, one does not see himself as holding all the answers, but trusts in the Wisdom of God.  I can tell you that intellectual pride is in direct opposition to childlikeness.  In fact, intellectual pride is a pharisaical spirit.  Every precaution should be taken against this deadly snare of Satan.”  (Holy Love, May 12, 2007)

“I have come to remind each soul of the great gift of the present moment.  Each moment is, indeed, a gift from God to be used towards the salvation of self and others, as well….Do not be foolish, then, in thought, word or deed in any present moment.  Do not give it willingly over to a nefarious spirit presuming the motives for another’s actions.  Nor should you presume that your intellect holds sway over the spiritual gifts of another; this is a pharisaical spirit.(Holy Love, Apr. 28, 2007)  “I call you to understand that there is in the heart of the world today a strong spirit, which provokes self-righteous error.  It is the same as a pharisaical spirit.  Such a spirit will not accept correction or conviction of conscience, for he is sure in his arrogance, that his thoughts, words and deeds are right.  This spirit has taken over religions, governments and many leadership roles, including secret organizations.  The soul who follows and or embraces such a spirit is very dangerous, for he is convinced he lives in the truth but has, in fact, embraced Satan’s lies.  Souls, such as these, believe themselves on the path of salvation, but follow the road to perdition.”  (Holy Love, Aug. 13, 2007)


“Woe to you, scholars of the law!

You have taken away the key of knowledge.

You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”

When He left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward Him

and to interrogate him about many things,

for they were plotting to catch him at something hem might say.

(Lk 11: 52-54)


Our Lord—Holy Love

“True discernment does not come through the intellect.  It is a gift I place in the heart.  Just as with any virtue, there can be a false imitator of the true virtue.  In discernment this is recognized as pharisaical interpretation of the Truth.  False discernment is easily accepted by a person who depends on his own intellect for answers instead of the Holy Spirit.  Such a one may pride himself on his intellect and or his virtue.”  (Holy Love, Jan. 2, 2001)  “Do not be surprised that the ones who set themselves up as judge and jury against Me refuse to be touched.  This is a pharisaical spirit—a spirit prevalent in My own day. Disbelief by some does not alter the Truth.”  (Holy Love, Aug. 16, 2004)

The Pharisees saw this and said to Him,

“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”... “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do….

I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

(Mt 9: 11-13)

“I invite each soul to assume this role as defender of true Church Tradition….You should not follow a pharisaical spirit that believes the heart of the faith can be negotiated through superior intellect.  I invite the Church hierarchy to a renewal of faith in Church Tradition.  Within this call to renewal is the call to the realization that My Immaculate Mother is calling souls to Me through her Heart, which is Holy Love.  Do not be afraid of this revelation of Our United Hearts, for in and through it you will gain strength.  Then, renewed in the Tradition of faith, you will be able to lead with Love instead of compromise and control.  You will lead your flock by righteousness—not fear of retaliation.  I have commended the Tradition of the Faith to the care and protection of My Mother’s Immaculate Heart.  Seek her out!”  (Holy Love, Apr. 21, 2003) 

In the Words of God the Father to the world through Gianna in 2007, the Eternal I Am said:

“Through the great blessings and joy given to you by such a pure Virgin, Immaculate in all ways, I come blessing you in Peace.  When all the world seems to be going in another direction, those who follow My Words given to you from My Throne will not be left behind without Truth being fulfilled….It is far better for you to live today as if it is your last.  It is far better for you to give of yourself as if it is your only opportunity….Words I have said throughout the generations; and each time they are said, it seems there is less attention paid to them.  If you cannot heed My Words of Truth now, then how will you heed the words in the human world, coming from governments—from counties, states and nations?  How will you heed their words? 


(GTF, Jan. 8, 2007)

And it was in such a state of worldwide chaos in 1917—at the onset of World War I (April, 1917), at the beginnings of Lenin’s Communist Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (launching the worldwide spread of atheistic Communism), and at the onset of a worldwide influenza pandemic (killing 50-100 million worldwide), and in a world where the dignity of both children and women was often trivialized—that God the Father sent His beloved daughter Mary, the Mother of His only begotten Son, and the Spouse of His Holy Spirit, to three children in Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917.


“Let the children come to Me and do not prevent them;

for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept

the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

(Lk 18:16-17)

On May 13, 2000, in his homily at the beatification of two of those three children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the shepherd children of Fatima,   Pope John Paul II said:


Father, …to you I offer praise;

for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever,

you have revealed to the merest children.” 

(Mt 11:25)

“With these words, dear brothers and sisters, Jesus praises the heavenly Father for His designs; He knows that no one can come to Him unless he is drawn by the Father (Jn 6:44); therefore He praises Him for His plan and embraces it as a Son:  ‘Yes, Father, for such was your will.’  (Mt 11:26)  You were pleased to reveal the Kingdom to the merest children….”

“…According to the Divine plan, “a woman clothed with the sun” (Rev 12:1) came down from heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father.  She speaks to them with a Mother’s voice and heart….It is a Mother’s sorrow that compels her to speak; the destiny of her children is at stake.”  (JPII, homily, May 13, 2000)

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you;

and I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” 

(Jn 15:16)