We Are At War
By RICHARD DUNSTAN
Christians are at war. With a real enemy. And we had better take it seriously, because we’ll be running into that enemy in our spiritual lives. But there’s no need for fear—as long as we don’t try to fight the battle by ourselves.
“We battle the forces of darkness through the power of Christ,” Bishop Sam Jacobs told Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna Aug. 9-15. “We never do it outside the power of Christ, because if we do, we will lose. Let Jesus fight the battles.”
Bishop Jacobs, a former chair of the U.S. National Service Committee for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, stepped in as speaker for the institute when the scheduled speaker, Fr. Bernie Black, stepped down in April. By that time the theme for the institute, spiritual warfare, had already been chosen. It wasn’t one Bishop Jacobs would have chosen himself.
“I really run away from spiritual warfare,” he told the 40 people attending the event. “I don’t want to deal with that guy. But I felt God saying ‘do it.’”
“That guy”—Satan—is no mere folk tale or symbol of evil, Bishop Jacobs said. He’s a real spirit, a person, a major figure throughout the Bible, including at least 25 references in the gospels alone. “The Son of God was formed to destroy the works of the devil.”
Quoting Pope Francis, he said Satan’s temptations start out small and grow gradually, to the point where they spread to other people and affect the whole community, all the while justifying themselves in the eyes of the person tempted.
Why does the devil even exist? God didn’t make him evil, but God does allow him to carry on practicing evil. “We won’t know anything about that until we get to heaven,” Bishop Jacobs said. “If I was God, I’d get rid of him quick.” God has a plan, he said, but at the moment that plan is a mystery to us.
There’s nothing mysterious about the outcome, though. Satan is going to lose the spiritual war. “We need to know that and believe it and act on it,” Bishop Jacobs said. “He’s defeated. He has no other future but eternal damnation.”
Meanwhile, Christians have a role to play in the battle, and Bishop Jacobs laid out some rules to follow. Rule 1 is to remember that we aren’t Jesus. We don’t fight Satan directly; we don’t go looking for demons the way Jesus did in his time on earth. We deal with them only as God leads us to, and then only through Jesus. “You never directly confront them. Jesus confronts them.
Next, be a prayer warrior. Cover yourself in prayer. “No matter what’s happening in your life, be in prayer.”
Always remember who you are—a son or daughter of God. That’s no small matter, because Satan will try to convince you otherwise, reminding you of your sin and your failures. “The devil can’t give us anything good. He goes after who we are.”
Remember also what you can’t see. The invisible world is as real as the visible world. We are in an invisible war, eternal and cosmic, with a powerful enemy whose goal is to destroy us.
But while we need to take the enemy seriously, we shouldn’t fear him, or be preoccupied with him either. Fear is the devil’s second favourite tool (after pride), Bishop Jacobs said.
“He wants us to be afraid, and we have to say no. We don’t have to be afraid.”
Don’t get complacent. Once we’re freed from the devil’s influence, we need to fill the space with Jesus. We need to tell Jesus we love Him, Bishop Jacobs said—mainly just so we hear it ourselves. Satan will only be cast out forever when Jesus returns, so if we don’t fill the space, Satan will find a way back in to defile us again. “He’s always looking for an opportunity to come back.”
The devil comes against our sin and weakness, Bishop Jacobs said, so we must always be on our guard. We won’t be perfect, but we must repent of our sins and trust in God’s mercy. “We still sin, but sin is not in control of our lives. We aren’t steeped in sin—we are steeped in Christ.”
The devil has many ways of getting at us, Bishop Jacobs said. The ordinary ways are the temptations of the world and the flesh. The world was created good, he said, but it has fallen, and it normalizes sinful behaviour. “As long as the world remains unredeemed, Christians may not live as belonging to the world.” He described the flesh as “the traitor within us.” “Flesh” doesn’t mean sexuality, he said; it means ego in place of discipleship—anything that isn’t from Jesus.
God knows what you’re going through
By RICHARD DUNSTAN
Jesus gets it.
Whatever problems, hardships or obstacles you may be facing in life, Jesus understands, Fr. Gerald Sekanga told Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute in Kelowna in August. He was a human being, too, and He went through it all.
“There is no god who understands pain and separation like the Christian God,” Father Sekanga told the crowd of 40. ”On the cross, He was separated [from God the Father]. He’s the Son of God who says ‘I get it.’
“If you have those experiences, hold them tight, because God knows what you’re going through.”
Father Sekanga is pastor of Holy Child parish in Summerland. Originally from Uganda, he is trained as a canon lawyer. He spoke on the final full day of the week-long summer institute.
The doctrine of the Incarnation—that Jesus was both fully God and fully human—should be at the heart of our relationship to Him, Father Sekanga said. And His entire human life is important. Our relationship is not only with the resurrected Jesus. “The baby and the boy Jesus speak to us, and so does the preacher on the mount and the sufferer on the cross.”
The theme of the institute, titled In the Name of Jesus, was spiritual warfare, and Father Sekanga said our relationship with Jesus is the key to that warfare. As Messiah, Jesus’ role is to trample the enemies of God’s people, but the trampling isn’t for Jesus alone—it’s to be done by the Messiah with God’s people.
Father Sekanga made a number of other points about our relationship with Jesus:
“Believing” in Jesus means trusting Jesus. “You’re not saying ‘I’m of the opinion that Jesus exists,’” he said. Jesus’ name is powerful. Using Jesus’ name isn’t the same as praying, Father Sekanga said; it has power all its own. In Acts 3, Peter and John meet a crippled man, and rather than ask God to heal him, Peter commands the man in Jesus’ name to walk—which he does. “He got up, not because Peter prayed, but just by invoking the name of Jesus. How many of us have the trust like Peter did?”
Father Sekanga said there is nothing in the Bible that tells us to pray and then leave it to God to say “yes” or “no.” With God the answer is always “yes,” but the heart of the person prayed for must be in sync with God. If we pray in Jesus’ name, “it passes out of our hands into Jesus’ hands. When you pray in Jesus’ name, it is Jesus who does the praying, not you.”
As Catholics, our relationship to Jesus is more than one-on-one. “You’re born 2,000 years old.” Father Sekanga said. “And you don’t go to heaven alone. When we pray in sync together we are walking to heaven together.”
Our commitment to Jesus must be complete. We need to write Him a blank cheque. Going to Mass on Sunday doesn’t cover it; we need to give Him our whole lives.
Only Jesus can bring actual joy to our lives. “Joy is a transcendental quality. It can only come from Him. You don’t expect somebody else to give it to us. You cannot expect from someone that which only God can give.”
We have to be honest with Jesus. We need to be on intimate terms with Him, and if we try to justify our sins, we will destroy that intimacy.
“The Christian understanding of intimacy is self-revelation: revealing to God who you are, not who you think you are.
“We must tell Him, ‘I have sinned. I need your mercy.’ Then God says, ‘I get it. Go and sin no more.’”
BISHOP SAM JACOBS
Direct action by the devil or his demons is extraordinary, he said, but it can happen—ranging all the way from infestation, in which the devil basically makes a nuisance of himself, all the way up to diabolical possession, when a demon resides in someone’s body and can operate the person’s faculties as his own. Possession is extremely rare, he said, and exorcism of a possessed person requires a specially trained exorcist and permission of the local bishop. (By canon law every diocese is supposed to have a priest trained as an exorcist, but don’t bother asking who the exorcist is in your diocese—the bishop said the names aren’t make public, because if they were, the exorcist would be swamped with frivolous cases.
Bishop Jacobs said we shouldn’t be quick to diagnose possession or even lesser satanic actions; the Church tells us not to give supernatural explanations for problems that probably have natural causes.
Unless a problem is obviously demonic, he said, “you always begin with ‘could this be other than demonic.’ Start with the lesser cause.”
Bishop Jacobs said the Holy Spirit plays a key role in spiritual warfare. Even Jesus needed the Holy Spirit, as we can see from chapter 4 of Luke, which comes right after the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus at His baptism (3:22). Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Spirit (4:1) to be tempted by the devil, and successfully resists; then He return to Galilee filled with the power of the Spirit to begin His ministry (4:14). “One of the first things Jesus shows us is that He needs the power of the Holy Spirit in His humanity.”
We too need a personal encounter with the Spirit, just as we need a personal encounter with Jesus, and it should happen every day, Bishop Jacobs said. The devil won’t like what we’re up to, and we need the Spirit’s protection.
“Only if the Holy Spirit is within you are you equipped to do battle,” he said. “You can’t fight the evil one with a pistol. You need the atomic bomb. If we have the Holy Spirit, brutal as that attack will be, the Holy Spirit—God—will be there to defend us.”
For prophecies from Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute, see below
National leader steps down
Fr. Peter Coughlin leaves national service committee chair for health reasons
Rev. Dr. Peter Coughlin, long-time leader of the Catholic charismatic renewal in Canada, has stepped down as chair of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada, the national service committee.
He has also retired as pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Oakville, Ont., effective this past January. He remains editor-in-chief of The Bread of Life, the national charismatic magazine he founded.
He has been named chaplain for the Sisters of St. Joseph at their motherhouse in Hamilton. Gerard MacDonald of Prince Edward Island is now chair of the national committee. Fr. Coughlin continues to advise the committee.
Born in Hamilton in 1941, Fr. Coughlin was ordained in 1967 for the Hamilton diocese, but has said his priesthood didn’t really take off until he was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a prayer meeting in 1971. He was called to a healing ministry in 1972 while on a visit to a missionary friend in Peru: asked for pray for a young man who had hurt his knee, he saw the main healed immediately.
He earned a master’s degree in Christian spirituality at Creighton University in Nebraska in 1999, and a doctorate of ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Iowa in 2003. He has spoken widely in Canada and internationally, including many visits to B.C., and is the author of a variety of books on the charismatic renewal.
The glory of God filled the temple
Vancouver celebrates 60th Life in the Spirit Seminar with closing Mass
By IRENE HORSFALL
What a powerful encounter we experienced July 22 at the Mass celebrated in Holy Rosary Cathedral. It was the last of the seven sessions encompassing the Life In the Spirit Seminar, marking the milestone of its 60th round of such Spirit-empowered event which had been provided in the Archdiocese of Vancouver since Jan. 29, 1993.
The glory of the Lord was fully revealed as His people had all joined in one voice, one spirit in praise of His triumphant presence amidst their very upbeat worship. Needless to say, such unity of hearts was the trademark of the Holy Spirit while coupled with the joy, the jubilant worshipping gestures which demonstrated only how fully alive the whole congregation had been as it was totally soaking in such atmosphere of praise.
It was such an appropriate and marvellous honour due our Almighty God who, as our Creator, our Father, had been so tirelessly and generously imbuing us with the power of the Holy Spirit – as He was fondly called, the giver of life. He had lost no time in saturating us with such lively and spontaneous response to the liturgy of the Mass, allowing us to demonstrate the glory of God as befitting as in St. Irenaeus’s saying: “The glory of God is in His people fully alive.”
I was indeed taken by surprise at such demonstration of vigour, vitality and ardour shown by the congregation as I had, in the past, attended numerous charismatic Mass celebrations with similar generous responses, yet something was definitely evident at this event, revealing a genuine awareness of the congregation regarding the whole purpose in giving God His praises and worship – in essence as it was stated in St. John’s Gospel that true worshippers are to worship God in spirit and in truth. (Jn. 4:23) Our congregation had doubtlessly been prompted and led by the Holy Spirit in giving their entire volition, emotion and will in honouring the one true God who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent and is the very essence of love. In other words, I was able to pick up the substance in the core of this worship. It had definitely conveyed something more than just the physical outbursts in tones and gestures; I believe that it had been caused by the quickening action of the Holy Spirit which enabled the worshippers to focus totally on God in His entire being.
I could never have given adequate thanks to the Lord for such an eye-opening witnessing, of course, having stated the fact of how our God Almighty had been so generous in showering us with such grace and blessings plus a whole array of gifts/charisms made available to the candidates, let us not omit to thank the organizers for this event, Fr. Stanley Galvon and his cathedral staff members for their hard work, all our powerful and grace-filled speakers for the seven sessions which included Bishop Ken Nowakowski, Ukrainian Catholic Eparch of New Westminster, who directed the congregation to identifying the real goal in its spiritual pursuit. Finally, we must, of course, give our heart-felt thanks to our very own Archbishop Michael Miller for his very committed and assiduous efforts in making this celebration possible. His prayerful and physical support had made this event such a success.
In closing I would like to share my vision wherein I was given to see this dormant mine having been blasted, producing so many tiny pieces of stones by this dynamite (the Holy Spirit, for He is known in Greek as the dynamis) thereby fulfilling their purpose in edifying the “Church” building for the time to come.
Thanks be to God!
What has God done in your life lately? We’d love to help you thank Him publicly for His blessings.
Please send testimonies of answered prayer to this newsletter for publication (for free!). Email B.C. Charismatic newsletter editor Richard Dunstan, firstname.lastname@example.org .
PROPHETIC WORDS RECEIVED AT
OL PENTECOST SUMMER INSTITUTE
There are ditches that take water, and wherever the water flows in the irrigation ditches life springs up along that water. And so with you, My children: when you take My Spirit, and go out wherever you travel, life comes around you when you bring my Spirit. And so I say to you, come, come to the water, let anyone who thirsts and is thirsty come, let all who are thirsty come. All who that it may have the water of life and have it free. My Spirit is free to those who ask.
Isaiah 14 – The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have resolved, so shall it be; as I have proposed, so shall it stand: I will break the Assyrian in My land and trample him on My mountains: Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden from their shoulder. This is the plan proposed for the whole earth, and this the hand outstretched over all nations. The Lord of hosts has planned; who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out: who can turn it back?
Look! There He stands behind our wall, peering through the window, peering through the lattice. My lover, my lover searched me and fetched me. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with Me. See, the winter is passed, the rains are over and gone, flowers are appearing on the earth and the season of singing has come. The cooing of doves is in the land. The fig tree fans its early fruit. The blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, My darling, My beautiful one, come with Me.
Do you hear My love song? Did you hear it go out to you? And hear Me singing to you, my precious people: you are beautiful in My sight and I love you. And I am calling you in a very special, special way in these days because you are the ones whom I am counting on. You are the ones that I am asking that you will say Yes in a deeper, more surrendering way than you have ever before. For such a season as this, for such a season that we are in, I need you, I need to hear your beautiful voice and I need to see your beautiful face, I need to see you before with my love and with my word in such a season as this. I myself have conquered the world, the flesh and the devil, and now I who am the Almighty God need to face it through you. I need you to reach My people in this season, in this season. This is My invitation and you have everything that you need.
All you who are thirsty, come to the water. You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed Me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to Me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David. As I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of nations, so shall you summon a nation you knew not, and nations that knew you not shall run to you, because of the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.
I have heard many times through this day the Lord’s call his call that says I love you, I love you as you are. Come to Me, come to Me, listen to Me, walk with Me. And as you come here tonight to celebrate this Mass the Lord calls us and says come, come without cost, come and receive what I would give you. Come just as you are and I will bless you and I will hear you.
The Lord says this: I am not doing what I am doing for your sake, O Israel, but for the sake of My holy name which has been profaned among the holy nations. I need to display the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have for Me profaned among them, and the nations will learn that I am the Lord; it is the Lord who speaks. That I display my holiness for your sake before the knaves. Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries and bring you home to your own land. I shall pour clean water over you and you shall be cleansed. I shall cleanse you of all of your defilement, all of your idols and I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances, and you will live in the land that I gave your ancestors and you shall be my people and I will be your God. (Response: Lord Jesus, cleanse my heart pour clean water over me, put a new spirit within me and give me a new heart, a heart of flesh.)
The Lord has given me an image of a mighty medieval warrior, a knight, a knight on a horse fully clothed in his armour and his lance and he is just going for it. And the dust is behind the hooves of the horse, and I sense that there is an army behind him, but this is the knight going ahead. And then I see him on a hill on his horse and he has a flag in his hand a white flag with a huge red cross and the horse stands up and it is such victory, such victory.
Sing to God O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, to Him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heaven; lo, He sends forth His voice, His mighty voice. Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and His power is in the skies. Awesome is God in His sanctuary, the God of Israel; He gives power and strength to His people. Blessed be God!
The flag has been raised, My people, and the battle has been won; this is true, this is trustworthy. This is something that you can stake your life on. The battle is won; it is accomplished. There is no need to fear the small skirmishes that go on because the battle has been won. The battle is won; it is accomplished.
Focus on the human Jesus, the One who suffers, the One who went through excruciating pain and suffering for you. Now focus on what that meant. That meant He freed you, he gave you a life-saving inheritance, an inheritance in Heaven with His father. He wants you to focus on what that means, an inheritance that lasts forever and ever.
I have an image of the risen Jesus. He is happy, He is smiling, and He was walking towards me and He said, I listen, I am alive. My disciples, when they saw Me risen and alive, they were overjoyed and they rejoiced. I call you to rejoice and to be glad. I am alive; I am with you. Don’t be afraid; be filled with My love and rejoice, for I am alive. I am your risen Saviour.
Do you love Me? Do you really love Me? Do you know in the very depths of your being that I died for you, I love you? It’s important to know that I love you. It’s important to Me to know that I love you. It’s important to you to know that I love you. It is important for the days ahead that you know My great love for you, for the ministry and the work I am calling you to. You need to know that I love you that I loved you enough to give my life for you. I died for you, and my blood was shed for you, for you are Mine and I love you. You are very are very precious to Me. Know this in the very depths of your being.
Song: There is a fountain. Who is the king? Victorious warrior and Lord of everything. My Rock, my Shelter, my very own precious Redeemer who reigns upon the throne.
My children, I am a high and holy God, and I live in a high and holy place. Even so it is I who have called you, it is I who have saved you, it is I who have taught you how to walk, and it is I who on this day stoop to you like a father and I lift you close to My cheek. Believe it, My children: I love you, with an everlasting love and I am faithful to you till the end of time.
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; give to Him glorious praise! All the earth worships Thee; they sing praises to Thee; sing praises to Thy name. Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
Then the Lord said go outside and stand up on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by. A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him “Elijah, why are you here? Why are you here?
Be still, My people, be still. Stop striving to do things in your own power. I call you into My rest. My rest is a place where you cease to do and just be; where you can be the instrument of my love; where my love can flow through you because you have stopped getting in the way. All I ask is that you let Me love through you, that you let me speak through you, you let Me be God in you. It is My presence in you that will make you holy. There is nothing you can do, My children; it is Me in you making you holy. Be still, be still and know that I am God who lives in you.
I saw the Lord God seated on a high throne. His train filled the sanctuary. Above Him stood seraphim. Each of them had six wings; with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft. And they cried out to one another in this way: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” His glory filled the whole earth. The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the One who cried out and the temple was filled with smoke. I said, “what a wretched state I am in. I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips. And my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. With this he touched my mouth and said “See, now this has touched your lips. Your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged.“ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying “Whom shall I send? Who will be Our messenger?” I answered, “Here I am. Send me.”
And in this day I am gathering a people. I am forming an army; I am equipping a people – a people who will be equipped with tools they have never seen before, tools that are more powerful than any they have ever used. For this is a new day calling for a new army and new gifts. And I am forming you, My people, I am forming you today, I am giving you the weapons that you will need. And so I call.
Whoever clings to Me I will deliver; whoever know my name I will set on high. All who call upon Me I will answer; I will be with them in distress; I will deliver them and give them honor. With length of days I will satisfy them and show them My saving power.
Rise up, My people, rise up and walk with the dignity of God’s chosen people. Rebuke all fear in your life, for I have not given you a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and boldness to go forth and to serve My people and gather them into the Promised Land. You are My remnant, you are My chosen ones. Rise up, rise up! I have given you everything you need. I have anointed you with My Holy Spirit, to go forth in the power of the name of Jesus and to do all that He did because He is with us, He is in us. Our holiness does not depend on us. It does not depend on us.
So My precious children, My precious body: it is He that you can depend on, so rise, rise and shine out, for your light has come. The Glory of the Lord is rising on you. Though night still covers the earth and night the people, above you, above you the Lord now rises and above you His glory appears. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning lightness. Lift up your eyes and look all around, look all around. Can you not see? All the assembly are coming towards you, your sons from far away and your daughters being tenderly carried. At this sight you will grow radiant. Your heart throbbing in full, radiant, your heart throbbing.
The cost of leadership
By DENISE BERGERON
ICCRS council member, Canada
Leadership, as a charism of service, is first a gift from God. Its foundation is based on Christ, best figure of the one who serves others.
Authority comes from God himself. Every charism is given to us for conforming our whole being to Christ, perfect image of the Father. Christ’s mission is to testify the Father’s love. St Paul proclaims: “Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God, something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Ph 2: 6-8).
In the Scriptures, Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, did not limit himself to the role of Liberator of his people, but he was the Light of the Nations. His service was extended for all humanity. His intimacy with the Father was so deep that he had no other desire than the one to share it.
Leadership comes with cost. The most intense fight for a leader is to ask himself for which purpose to use the charism of service: guided by the flesh or by the Spirit? In accordance with Christ, meaning here for Him, by Him and in Him, or for our personal glory?
We are called to serve the community as a whole, which means to serve the whole Church. Jesus encourages intensely his disciples to respond to this call and today we hear Him insisting again: “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch” (Lc 5: 4). Stop being afraid to look at yourself, but rather fix your eyes on Him.
This choice brings us, at different moments, to fight against:
- our facility to settle comfortably, accepting to be unsettled;
- our tendency to remain in our little daily routine, decentralizing from ourselves and getting rid of old habits;
- the temptation to remain slaves of our fears, our worries of not being loved or accepted to our fair value, fears of what will be asked, daring the risk of faith and learning to trust;
- the requirements of interpersonal relationships and commitment, by living the grace of surpassing oneself in love and charity.
When we accept Christ and his Lordship in our lives, purification is done at all levels of our being. Here are some examples:
- Leadership requires work on oneself. Following the example of Jesus, who let himself be transformed by his Father’s love, the leader agrees to let himself be healed in the parts of his being which have not yet seen the light.
- Leadership is rooted in the Word of God. The leader takes time to learn and let himself be modeled by the image of Jesus. It is by contemplating Him in the Scriptures that he discovers how much he is loved, forgiven and called to the service of his brothers and the Church.
- Leadership operates within a context of relationships. The leader is brought at some occasions to take positions, such as during relational conflicts, by being a peacemaker, through reconciliation and urging people to live forgiveness.
- Leadership is learned through the exercise of discernment in the various charisms that we put at the service of our brothers and sisters. The leader learns to discern his own commitments, what is best for the group they belong to.
- Leadership calls to become detached from one’s ideas and projects. The leader who wants to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, sheds, at times, his projects, as good as they may be, to accommodate the will of God manifested in other projects that are more responsive to the group’s mission.
- The leader ensures that the image he has of his responsibility. “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (Jn 15: 16). The servant’s attitude of humility is an essential quality that allows the inner freedom in ones commitment to the service of our brothers. He remembers constantly that he is not greater than his Master.
- Leadership leads to a continual detachment of one’s function. It is so easy for a leader to make of his affiliated group or even of the mission, his property. This is part of his struggle, such as the fear to delegate thinking that the other will do less well than we imagine, or fear of losing power and its place within the group. It is in prayer and in his devotion to Christ that he finds the strength to live a holy indifference, that is to say, living the inner freedom vis-à-vis the people and situations. This should not prevent him to give himself entirely, while ensuring to prepare someone to take over. He remains attentive to discern and promote the talents and charisms of each. In this way, the group is still alive, developing and open to new ideas.
The leader will win these battles by drawing in prayer, worship, and in the use of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist.
The goal to achieve is to grow as a child of the Father, like Jesus, fully given as a servant of every man. Our struggle is to let ourselves be dressed, inhabited, transformed by the Risen Christ.
Jesus has paid the price by accepting his mission of Servant to us. This price led him to die on a cross. But Jesus did not remain on the cross. He is risen and alive in our midst. The call is today, a call to move at large, get out of our beaten tracks, and die to ourselves and to our comfort. He urges us to come out winners of our battles by hosting the anointing of Holy Spirit on us. Let us become disciples with hearts of fire, joyful in hope, strong in faith, and filled with love and zeal in our commitments.
Leadership, charism of service, is a precious gift from God. With the deep assurance that God walks with us and precedes us on the way, let us welcome that gift with gratefulness. May the Holy Spirit, in this time of preparation leading to the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, renew in the heart of the leaders of the whole world the charism of service.
—condensed from ICCRS Leadership Bulletin
Let’s welcome Jesus in our lives
By LYNNE WILLIAMS
St. Charles Garnier in Kelowna was the site of the Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference on April 25, 2015. John Connelly and Father Jack Michalchuk presented three inspirational talks, themed on the power of welcome, contemplation, and welcoming the word.
John Connelly began his presentation by asking us, what does, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Rom.13:14) mean to you? What would happen if the world looks at a Christian and sees the person of Jesus Christ? In which ways do we welcome Jesus and others into our lives?
In the Greek language, “welcome” means “joy and exaltation.” When we greet a friend, how do we show welcome? Perhaps a hug, a smile, or a friendly word indicates that their arrival gives us pleasure. Jesus is knocking on every human heart and wants to be welcomed as a friend, received with joy, and invited into a personal relationship. “… I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in …” (Rev. 3:20)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 519) states that all Christ’s riches are for every individual and are everybody’s property. Christ did not live his life for himself but for us. As Jesus welcomes us we ought to welcome him and listen to his word, letting him in where we are, not where we wish we were.
God is love and Jesus loves us totally because he is God. The pagan concept of prayer is that God is way out there, but St. Augustine said that God is closer to me than I am to myself. “…we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will live in them and walk among them and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Cor. 6:16) Jesus crucified is the greatest love of all; it is the great welcome of God to all. God sees us through the cross; the cross is the eye through which God sees us and through which we learn to see him.
When we cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus, Christianity becomes a dynamic adventure. By the power of the Holy Spirit, as we welcome Jesus into our hearts, we begin the process of conforming our lives to his. He wants to share our joys and celebrations, pain and suffering. Pain is heroic and redemptive when Jesus is invited into it. Welcoming Jesus and his mercy is the heart of everything: ecumenism, evangelization, unity, renewal, relationships, joy and pain.
Jesus is knocking on the door to your heart. Will you invite him in? John gave us this song refrain, “Jesus with every breath, we welcome you (three times). We welcome you.” We sang the refrain as he recited the song’s verses of welcome.
Finding Our Hidden Treasure was the title of the second talk. “To pray Jesus is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him. (CCC 2666) In the invocation of the holy name, (Jesus), he is present. It is the simplest way of praying and when repeated by a humbly attentive heart, it holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.” (Lk 8:15)
To welcome Jesus by praying his name is an encounter. It is therapy and the best counsellor we will ever get. This simplest form of prayer, contemplation, is for everybody. St. Teresa says, “Contemplative prayer … is … a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” (CCC 2709) “One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials or dryness one may encounter.” (CCC 2710) When the word contemplation is broken down, co means to join with; temple means God in your heart; tion means in a permanent state of union.
Contemplation is to rest in the presence of the great ‘I AM’. It is each person welcoming a new vision of their relationship with Christ. Welcoming Jesus in daily contemplation frees us from our boxes and leaves God’s love free to act in us. The church urgently needs the deep breath of contemplative prayer.
John provided a handout, Contemplation: Welcoming Jesus with every breath. He writes, “JESUS, with every breath I welcome you …every heartbeat, every experience, I offer as a prayer of limitless-love. Live your life in me as a Missionary Disciple today.” The contemplation has four steps:
1.Opening: I welcome your Spirit of Limitless-Love (Jesus) in me now – gratitude, praise, forgiveness.
- Listening: I welcome your Words of Limitless-Love in me now – humility, repentance, surrender.
- Uniting: I welcome your Heart of Limitless Love in me now – contemplation, worship, communion.
- Sharing: I welcome Our Father’s Reign of Limitless-Love and Mercy into my life, family, church and world – evangelization, mission, service.
In the third talk, Father Jack spoke of Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ by welcoming the Word. “… Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) In this familiar passage, Martha was busy with many chores, while Mary was listening to Jesus preaching and not helping Martha. Jesus has clearly stated that listening to the Word of God is the better part. For us, God’s word is in the Bible and it is important to read it.
The ‘Word’ has two Greek meanings. The first, logos, refers to the person of Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Jn. 1:1) Rhema refers to the NOW word for each person. For example, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mat. 4:4) “Then Mary said, “Here I am Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk.1:38) God has a word for us personally. We read it in scripture and hear his voice speaking to us in prayer, just as this word (rhema), was spoken to Mary
When you read scripture, pray, and welcome Jesus into your heart, listen for God’s personal message, his word for you. Ask, what is the Lord saying to me? Every day, spend time in quiet, listen to God’s rhema and allow its power to transform you.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? We all know the power of welcome in our lives. If we broaden our welcoming of friends into a welcoming of Jesus, we invite the Holy Spirit to change us, our families, church and world. Let’s “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” today.
|Sept 25-26||Nelson diocesan leaders’ retreat
The Cost of Discipleship
Contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 email@example.com
|Oct 14-Nov 15
|Life in the Spirit Seminar
Contact Lennie 604-594-7296 or lucy.,firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Francis de Sales parish
|April 29-30||Nelson diocesan conference
Mercy is Falling – Fr. Pierre Ducharme, OFM
Contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 email@example.com
St. Pius X parish
|Aug. 7-12||Our Lady of Pentecost Summer Institute
Details TBA – see spring newsletter
Contact Gladys Miller 250-442-8589 firstname.lastname@example.org
To include your Life in the Spirit Seminar, prayer breakfast, Healing Mass,
or other charismatic event in this listing, email email@example.com
CCRS of BC newsletter
published spring and fall
editor Richard Dunstan
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Victoria BC V8V 4T9
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