BC prayer groups meeting again, in person and online
The Catholic charismatic renewal is back in action in B.C., even though activities have been limited by COVID-19 protocols.
At least three of the province’s dioceses have ongoing prayer meetings, either online or in a socially distanced in-person setting. In addition, the annual Gathering in the Spirit sponsored by the Nelson diocesan service committee took place online in August, featuring Jim Murphy of Michigan speaking on Zoom (see Page 3.) Here is a partial list of events, based on information available at the time of publication.
In the Nelson diocese, a province-wide prayer meeting is being held Thursdays in six-week blocks, via Zoom. The meeting takes place Thursdays 1:30-3 p.m. Pacific time, with several dozen people attending from across BC. Scheduled dates are Oct. 8-Nov. 12, Jan. 14-Feb. 18, March 11-April 22 and May 13-June 17. The meetings include praise, word gift, intercessory prayer, and a speaker or other activities; the speaker Nov. 5 is John Connelly of Saskatchewan-based SaintPath. In addition, a three-week video Advent session with Father Dave Pivonka will be shown Dec. 3-17. Dates are subject to change. A Zoom invitation and link can be requested via the Nelson committee website, https://www.holyspiritbaptizer.com/ , which will also have up-to-date information.
At least four prayer groups in the Nelson diocese are meeting in person, with full COVID-19 protocols in place. Contact the leader for scheduling details and information on protocols.
Osoyoos: Laurie Martin, 250-495-2964, email@example.com .
West Kelowna: Marcia Lawrence, parish 250-768-4114, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Creston: Yvonne Horne, email@example.com .
Penticton: Bernadette Barry, 250-492-3478, firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, Nelson’s Trinity prayer group meets on line. Contact Loree Renwick, 250-354-7223, email@example.com
In the Vancouver archdiocese, three prayer groups are meeting face to face with COVID-19 protocols, and 15 are meeting on line. To find the group nearest you, contact Lennie David, 604-597-8227, firstname.lastname@example.org .
In the Victoria diocese, the People of Praise from St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria meet online Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. For details contact Lynn Dunstan Weedmark or Richard Dunstan, 250-477-4700, email@example.com.
In addition, many prayer groups have kept in touch with members via phone or email. In Osoyoos, leader Laurie Martin has sent the Consecration to Mary’s Mantle meditations to people who can’t attend, and those people have been saying the prayers and daily rosary.
And, of course, the Lord has kept attending, at church, online, or in individual homes.
“Our Lord has been more than faithful to be strongly present at each meeting,” says Marcia Lawrence in West Kelowna, “and made good on His prophetic words right at the beginning of the church closure and our switching to an email agenda: ‘I will not let anything happen to My “prayer-group of prayer”.’”
“We all have learned a great deal over the past months,” adds Yvonne Horne in Creston. “Mainly that we are not in control, and that we must endeavour to listen more closely to God’s leadership. No human possesses the power to make things better, only God’s unfailing love. He will show us the way once we are ready to accept His power.”
Please join us in prayer
By RICHARD DUNSTAN
chair, CCRS of BC
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NRSV)
For the Catholic Charismatic Renewal here in BC, one season is coming to an end, and it’s time for another to begin.
The great “current of grace” that the Holy Spirit has given the Church through the renewal will continue, by God’s mercy, but it may need to flow in different ways or different places, and the time has come to seek the Lord for direction.
In BC, and in many other places in the Western world, the present generation of leadership has been in place for decades. More than half of our provincial service committee members are over 70. That may be a testimony to our willingness to serve faithfully, but it’s also a testimony to a failure to raise up the new generation of leaders the renewal will need if it is to continue the work the Lord has entrusted to us. We are still doing faithful and worthwhile work for Him, and age is no barrier to that; but the calendar keeps turning for all of us, and we can’t just keep on doing what we’re doing now until we’re all 90 or 100.
Raising up that new generation has become a priority for our BC service committee. We’ve been talking about it and praying about it and reaching out to trusted friends and advisers. In October Peter Herbeck, of Renewal Ministries in Ann Arbor, Michigan, joined us via Zoom to hear our concerns, help in our discernment, and exhort us to a new beginning.
What it comes down to in the end, we all learned, was not just a question of who we are or how old we are. It’s a question of what the Lord wants us to do, and it might well be something different from what we have been doing or planning to do. The anointing of the Spirit is on people, Peter told us, not on structures or activities.
“The Lord knows why you’re still here,” he said. “It’s because you love Him. But the question is, can you name what the Holy Spirit is primarily directing you to do with the time, energy and resources He has given you?
“Your job is not to sustain a structure. Your job is to take the anointing and do the job He’s calling you to do.”
So at the end of the meeting, we agreed to enter into a season of prayer for the next two months, asking the Lord what He would have us do. And we invite all our charismatic friends throughout BC to join us in prayer for this intention.
Fall newsletter: still email only
Once again, as in the spring, this issue of BC Charismatic is going out by email only.
While it is wonderful to see Mass and prayer meetings resume on a limited basis, COVID rules for these events don’t allow newsletter distribution in the usual way.
Please feel encouraged to forward the newsletter to anyone on your contact list who might be interested.
Also as in the spring, the format has also been altered for email transmission. As before, I apologize for glitches and other inconveniences.
Richard Dunstan, editor
Cantalamessa named cardinal
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, one of the most prominent leaders in the Catholic charismatic renewal, has been named a cardinal by Pope Francis. The Pope announced Oct. 25 that Father Cantalamessa will be among new cardinals to take office at a consistory in Rome Nov. 28.
Father Cantalamessa, 86, a Franciscan Capuchin friar, is ecclesiastical assistant to CHARIS, the international service for the renewal founded by the Pope last year. He has been “the Pope’s preacher” since 1980, as preacher of the pontifical household under popes St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and the present Pope. He was a featured speaker at the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Catholic charismatic renewal in Rome in 2017.
Born in central Italy, Father Cantalamessa, was ordained to the priesthood in 1958 and holds doctorates from the University of Fribourg and the Catholic University of Milan. He was formerly professor of the history of ancient Christianity and director of the department of religious sciences in Milan.
He was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1976 and became a full-time preacher of the Gospel in 1979. Over the years he has spoken at numerous charismatic events, among them an appearance in Vancouver in 2002. Due to his age he no longer travels. He is also the author of numerous books.
As preacher to the pontifical household, he preaches sermons to the Pope and other Church officials on Fridays in Advent and Lent.
Jesus gives us all we need
Gathering in the Spirit
Two words. Three letters. The answer to every question and every need.
The holy name God revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:14), the name used used often by Jesus to reveal His own divinity, is also the key to our own life with God, featured speaker Jim Murphy told this year’s Our Lady of Pentecost Gathering in the Spirit.
“What the Lord is saying to us is ‘I Am whatever you need Me to be,’” Murphy told the 80 people who attended the gathering, held on Zoom this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual gathering is sponsored by Nelson Diocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and endorsed by Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of BC. Murphy, who returned as this year’s speaker after headlining last year’s gathering in Kelowna, is a longtime Catholic charismatic leader best-known for carrying a six-foot cross on foot across the United States in 1992. He was the last president of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services before it was superseded by CHARIS last year, and is country co-ordinator for Mexico with Renewal Ministries, a Catholic evangelization ministry based in his home state of Michigan.
I Am… was the theme of this year’s gathering, with supporting text of Isaiah 55:1: “All you who are thirsty, come to the water.” Over five days of talks, Murphy discussed all 13 verses of Isaiah 55, as well as a related New Testament text, Jesus’ promise at Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest…for My yoke is easy, and My burden light.”
Murphy said the invitation to “come to the water” in Isaiah is addressed to everybody, not just people who are “good enough” or qualified in some other way. “Jesus says the same thing in the gospel,” Murphy said. “‘Anybody who wants it, I’m here for you.’”
The Lord is offering us massive blessings, Murphy said. Isaiah promises “wine and milk” and “rich fare,” biblical language for the luxuries available only to royalty, but now offered to everyone. “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard…what God has prepared for those who love Him,” St. Paul writes (1 Corinthians 2:9).
What’s more, this isn’t just a description of what awaits us when we die. Many Christians suffer in this life, Murphy said, and the promises won’t be fufilled competely until heaven, but the blessings are for this life too, as many Christians have experienced through encounters with God in prayer. “You do not have to wait until you are dead to set foot into heaven,” he said. “God, right here, right now, wants to show you the glory of His ‘I Am.’”
The point, Murphy said, isn’t so much the specific gifts the Lord gives us, wonderful as they can be. The point is the Lord Himself. “It’s all about relationships… ‘I Am’ inviting you into My life.
Jesus doesn’t say ‘I will give you resurrection.’ He says ‘I Am the resurrection’ (John 11:25). He won’t do what you need. He is what you need.”
HEED THE LORD
The invitation is for everybody, Murphy said, but that doesn’t mean you can just stay as you are. To “come” to the Lord, you have to leave somewhere else—whatever you are or whatever you’re doing that isn’t compatible with life with God. “Come to Me heedfully,” God says through Isaiah. “Let the scoundrel forsake his way and the wicked man his thoughts.” (55:3,7)
To heed, or listen, to God means four things in biblical thought, Murphy said. First is actually hearing, which isn’t necessarily as simple as it sounds. Having words wash over our ears isn’t enough; we must take genuine note of what God is saying. Murphy noted that when St. Francis of Assisi heard the Gospel message to take up his cross (Luke 9:23), and St. Benedict heard the passage about giving all his goods to the poor to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:21), they were in churches full of people, but nobody else responded. “The problem isn’t God isn’t speaking,” Murphy said. “The problem is, we’re not picking it up.”
Second, we need to understand what God is saying. Not that we’ll ever grasp it completely, but we need to do our best, and God will give us more grace to understand as we respond. “If you wait until you understand everything perfectly, you’re never going to do anything else in your life.” God’s word is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105); “I wish He’d light up the whole runway, but the fact is He gives us enough light to take the next step in the darkness.”
Third, we must assent to what we hear, like the crowd at Pentecost who were “cut to the heart” by Peter’s speech and asked “what are we do do?” (Acts 2:37.) Finally we must act, as St. Francis and St. Benedict did when they heard God’s message.
“Heeding means ‘I get it. It’s changing me,’” Murphy said.
Acting is an essential part of the process, Murphy said. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says those who hear His words but don’t act on them are like those who build a house on sand, only to have it washed away in a storm; those who don’t do His will, no matter how “involved” they may think they are with Him, will end up hearing Him say “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-27).
“The guy (the one Jesus says He doesn’t know) is not doing anything bad,” Murphy said. “He just didn’t act on the word of God. As I get older, I’m getting more and more afraid of standing before God with sins of omission—all the good I could have done.”
It sounds scary, but Murphy says God doesn’t expect us to get it exactly right, as long as we work sincerely at putting God’s will first. “If you’re trying, folks, that’s good enough. Try to hear the Lord, try to undertand what He’s saying to you, try to agree with it, try to act on it. Take one step toward being obedient to God.”
SEEK THE LORD
“Seek the Lord while He may be found,” Isaiah says in the same chapter (55:6). Isaiah is by no means the only biblical writer giving that advice. Murphy said he did a word search through the Bible and found “seek” to be one of the most common words in the Old Testament, and with plenty of equivalents in the New Testament. “When you seek Me with all your heart, I will let you find Me,” says Jeremiah (29:13). Devote your heart and soul to seeking God, says 2 Chronicles 22:19; God looks down to see if anyone is wise, anyone is seeking the Lord (Psalm 14:2). And “seeking” doesn’t mean looking around casually; we’re to have a “rabid longing” for the Kingdom of God.
Murphy said he got a whole new understanding of Psalm 42 (“as the deer longs for streams of water”) when his route took him across the desert when he was carrying his cross in 1992 and he ran short of water. That’s how much we should desire God, he said. “Do you want God as much as a person in the desert wants water?” What’s more, he said, our thirst should not be for the gifts or the benefits God can give us, but God Himself—not God’s hand in our lives so much as God’s face.
And now is the time to start, Murphy said. The Lord’s invitation is open to everybody, but it isn’t open forever. Remember, Isaiah said “Seek the Lord while He may be found.” Don’t say “Good old God, I’ll follow Him when I’m ready,” Murphy said. “There’s a window of opportunity that’s open to us now, but we can’t presume that it’s always open.” Grab hold of unexpected moments of grace, like when you end up at a prayer meeting you hadn’t planned to attend; that might be God’s appointment with you. “You don’t know how much time you have. You don’t know whether you will be ready.”
TURN TO THE LORD
After “seek the Lord,” Isaiah says “let the scoundrel forsake his way and the wicked man his thoughts.” In other words, we must repent. But if that sounds like getting overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, you’re on the wrong track. Repenting is not primarily a matter of feeling bad.
Repentance has three parts. First, we must recognize that we are on the wrong path in our relationship with God. That can have an emotional component, because sorrow for sin is appropriate, but the key factor is acknowledging that we are in the wrong. Conviction of sin is a work of the Holy Spirit, Murphy said, and is not to be confused with condemnation, which is the work of an evil spirit. Condemnation is intended to “spiral us down into despair;” conviction is supposed to bring hope.
“If you sincerely seek the Lord, if you’re trying, God is going to show you where you’re off course,” Murphy said. “The trick is, once He shows you something, you need to respond to it. You can’t ignore it.”
That response is the second step: we must turn in a new direction, get rid of any behaviours or attitudes in our life that aren’t in keeping with God’s will. “Anything that needs to be changed, with the help of God, can be changed,” even though Satan will try to tell us otherwise.
Murphy told the story of a bear that had been kept in a four-by-four-footcage for a long time, but was finally taken to a zoo with acres of space to roam in. The bear refused to come out of the cage, and when he was finally forced out, he began pacing back and forth the same four feethe had done in the cage, ignoring all the open land around him. We might be like that bear when we repent, Murphy said, but we must remember that “Jesus Christ has broken the bars of the cage. Satan says ‘you’re still in the cage.’ We have to believe the Lord more than Satan. God wants you to be free.”
Finally, repentance means we keep walking in your new path. Isaiah says “a voice shall sound in your ears, ‘this is the way; walk in it,’ when you would turn to the right or to the left” (30:21). We all know people who walked with the Lord in the past and no longer do, Murphy said, but “it’s not good enough to do something for 20 minutes. We have to keep going for the rest of our lives.”
The task is demanding, but the reward is infinite. “‘Come to repentance’ isn’t a bad thing,” Murphy said. “It’s the greatest day of a person’s life. ‘Turn to the Lord, that you may be radiant with joy.’ (Psalm 34)God’s idea of repentance is a whole new way of life.”
“His desire is to heal you, and not just to stop you from doing bad things. His desire is that you literally take on His nature, and you live like Him, and you live with Him, and you live in Him.
“Lord, here I am. Take out what You need to take out. Put in what You need to put in. Do whatever you have to, because living with You is a much better way than living with me.
“When we hear the word ‘come,” let’s be willing to walk away from other things, in order to be with the Lord. Whatever price we have to pay, whatever pain we have to endure, whatever hardship we have to experience, it’ll definitely be worth it.”
Join us on our BC Charismatic Facebook page
After several years on the back burner, the BC Charismatic Facebook page has been revived. We’re hoping it will serve as a means of communication, fellowship, and inspiration for charismatic Catholics at a time when the covid pandemic has disrupted our normal activities. We on the BC service committee will be making a serious effort to keep the page updated with worthwhile and edifying material.
To see the page: If you are already a Facebook member (or if you join Facebook), you can find the page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bccharismatic A search for “BC Charismatic” on the Facebook site will also find it. The page is visible to any Facebook member, so you will be able to read whatever is posted on the page.
To join the page: If you would like to join the group so that you can take an active role on the page, you can make a request to join via the button on the page, and we will accept your request as soon as we see it.
We welcome posts of edifying or inspiring material that is consistent with Catholic teaching, with Christian charity, and with godly prudence. This includes information on charismatic or other Church events, and inspiring teachings. (No politics, please!)
The Holy Spirit shows up online, too!
By CYRIL JOHN
The global pandemic – COVID 19 – has impacted us as a world community, nation, family and as individuals. The pandemic has also brought about innumerable sufferings to all of us without exception. However, I am convinced that the virus going viral is a sign of the time (Lk 12: 54-56). The world is not going to be the same any more. During prayer, the Lord gave me this Word from Hab.1:15: “Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told.” The Lord is doing something new and incredible. It is in this context that I want to share with you something new and amazing that I have experienced during this lockdown.
I live in New Delhi, the capital of India. The Catholic charismatic renewal in the city has a retreat centre of its own, functioning under the guidance of the archbishop of Delhi. The retreat centre is in itself a testimony of the power of intercession. On July 8, 1996, during my personal prayer, I had the image of a huge building. I was filled with awe and asked the Lord what this vision meant. I received a strong confirmation in prayer that it was a renewal centre that the Lord wanted to be established in Delhi. With no money in hand, the only thing we could do was to start praying for it and asked our intercession ministry to pray specially for the project. As a confirmation from the Church hierarchy, the then archbishop, during a meeting with the diocesan service of communion in 1999, suggested for us to look for a place to have a centre of our own because we had a number of events being organized in rented premises. By 2001, Jeevan Jyoti Ashram (a centre of the Light of Life) was established in five hectares of land in the outskirts of the city. Today, it can receive about 150 people for retreats and training courses. “Only ask me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession” (Ps 2:8).
Prophetic intercession is a special charism of the retreat centre and we use it to organize training courses on this topic for participants in the city and at national level. With requests coming initially from the members of Indian communities abroad, we started organizing JERICHO – a residential training program on prophetic intercession – for overseas participants since 2018.
With the lockdown, it was no longer possible to organize physical gathering at the centre. A suggestion was received to organize the prophetic intercession training online. From a human point of view, this was something impossible, as the training has workshops for the participants to receive charisms, followed by group workshops on prophetic intercession using the gifts of the Holy Spirit: like word of knowledge, word of wisdom, gift of discernment, gift of prophecy, gift of tongues, etc. Charisms online? Receiving and using charisms through social media platform is something that we could not visualize. Impossible, it will not work, we said! However, after much prayer, trusting the retreat to the Lord, the retreat centre launched a virtual 15-day training program on prophetic intercession in July 2020. Bishop Francis Kalist and I are the main consulting persons. People from different continents registered for the event.
We had many apprehensions as we started the program. The participants were coming together for workshops on charisms and prophetic intercession on Zoom. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of surprises and indeed surprised us with amazing testimonies of people receiving and using charisms on the online platform. It proved that virtual gathering on social media is not an impediment to the operation of the power of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes all things possible!
The training program is now being organized in English from the 1st to the 15th of every month. We also organize a virtual adoration for healing and baptism in the Holy Spirit. A number of participants have testified healing of mind, body, and spirit. Some participants have received charisms for the first time during the workshop and BHS service. They also use the charisms during the workshops on prophetic intercession. Charisms on Zoom is something new and amazing that the Lord is doing now. Let us thank and praise the Lord that during this time of pandemic we have been able to sanctify the social media through retreats, training programs, celebration of the Holy Eucharist, adoration, prayer meetings, and intercession. I sense this is a new opening that the Lord is giving to us: to use social media in every way possible for evangelization and praying for the world. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (Ps 37:5)!
Get international charismatic news from CHARIS Magazine
CHARIS Magazine, a publication of the newly-created CHARIS international service of communion for the Catholic charismatic renewal, is now published monthly and is now available free on the CHARIS website, http://www.charis.international/ , along with a great deal of other material. Articles from the latest edition are at the lower right of the home page, and previous issues are available under “magazine” at the top of the home page.
A ‘firecracker for the Lord’ in Edmonton
By LYNNE WILLIAMS
On October 2-4, Catholic charismatics from BC, Alberta and beyond attended an online conference sponsored by Catholic Renewal Services of the Archdiocese of
Edmonton, titled The Fullness of the Love of Christ. (see Ephesians 3:19)
Maria Vadia, the guest speaker, is an international speaker who has written 10 books on the spiritual life. Conference organizers say “she has a fire and a zeal for the Lord that is not only contagious but can be life-changing if you are open to the Holy Spirit. Patti Mansfield has said of Maria, ‘Every time I have heard her proclaim the Word of God, I have been deeply convicted, moved and motivated to give myself to Jesus anew.’”
After hearing Maria speak, I agree that she is indeed a “firecracker” for the Lord! Here is a sampling from the second of three two-hour talks:
We are in the most amazing time for the Church and we need to wake up! As we work together with Him,we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.For He says “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (2 Cor. 6:1-2 NRSV)
All are called into partnership with the Holy Spirit. Say to the Lord, “I want to fulfill your plan, and to co-operate with you to be in my life.” What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him”— 1 Cor. 2:9NRSV
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. – Jer. 29:11
My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfull My intention. – Is. 46:10
In this time of great upheaval, we are not to be afraid, for the stronghold of fear and slavery has been broken.
…for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” – 2 Tim.1:7-10
Take authority; use your weapons: The Name of Jesus, the Blood, the Word, the Holy Spirit, and Praise. Take control of the fear, do battle, resist and be set free. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. – Luke 10:19
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. – Eph. 2:4-6
Take action. Write down every time the Lord has rescued you; if you journal, go through your journals; pray and give thanksgiving for the memories. Remember, the Lord is never late; He always comes on time. When you see your history, and are reminded of every time He has come to your rescue, raise a mighty shout, HALLELUIAH! Create a legacy for your children, HALLELUIAH!
I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to Him, and be radiant;
so yourfaces shall never be ashamed. Ps. 34:4-5
Every point that Maria makes is supported with one or more scriptural references. She is indeed an inspirational woman of God. To find out more about Maria Vadia and her powerful ministry, talks and outreach, simply Google Maria Vadia. To listen to the conference talks, click on the links.
In this interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (John 4:24-26) we find hope and encouragement:
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am He, the one who is speaking to you.”
Take courage, saying, “God created me to be a champion, a world changer, a dragon slayer! HALLELLUIAH!
Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C.
Richard Dunstan (Victoria diocese), chair
308-225 Belleville St., Victoria BC V8V 4T9
Nitz Baylon, Vancouver archdiocese,604-202-2998
Lennie David, Vancouver archdiocese, 604-597-8227
David MacIntyre, Victoria diocese, 250-383-9955
Loreen Renwick, Nelson diocese, 250-354-7223
Janet Tng, Vancouver archdiocese, 778-998-8098
Frans van der Woning, Kamloops diocese, 250-851-5751
Lynne Williams, Nelson diocese, 250-489-1702
THE POPE’S PENTECOST MESSAGE
[Delivered by Pope Francis to the worldwide Pentecost Vigil celebration held May 30 on Zoom, organized by CHARIS]
“When Pentecost day came around, they had all met together in the same place.”
Thus begins the second chapter of book of Acts that we have just heard. And thanks to technology advances, today too, all of us, believers from various parts of the world are gathered together on Pentecost eve.
The account continues:
“Where suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a violent wind, which filled the entire house in which they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, they separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” Acts 2, 2-4)
The Spirit came to rest on each one of the disciples, on each one of us. The Spirit promised by Jesus comes to renew, to convert, to heal each one of us. He comes to heal our fears – oh, how many fears we have! – to heal our uncertainty, He comes to heal our wounds, also the wounds we cause one another and He comes to make us disciples, missionary disciples, witnesses full of courage, of apostolic parresia, which are necessary for the preaching of the Gospel that, as mentioned in the following verses, happened to the disciples.
Today more than ever we need the Father to send us the Holy Spirit. In the first chapter of book of Acts, Jesus says to His disciples: “ … He enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father about which you have heard Me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (v. 4). And, in verse 8, He says, “ When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit leads us to this testimony: today the world suffers, is wounded; we live in a very wounded world, which suffers, especially in the poorest, who are discarded. When all our human certainties have disappeared, the world needs us to give Jesus to it. It needs our witness to the Gospel,the Gospel of Jesus. And that witness we can only give it by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We need the Spirit to give us new eyes, open our minds and hearts to face this moment and the future with the lesson learned. We are only one humanity. We are not saved by ourselves. No one saves himself. No one. St. Paul says in the letter to the Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Jesus Christ,” (Gal. 3:28), cohesive by the power of the Holy Spirit, through this baptism in the Holy Spirit that Jesus announces. We know it, we knew it, but this pandemic we are living through has made us experience it in a much more shocking way.
We have before us the duty to build a new reality. The Lord will do it; we can collaborate… “Behold, I make all things new.” he says (Rev 21:5).
When we come out of this pandemic, we will no longer be able to do what we have been doing, and in the way we have been doing it. No, everything will be different. All the suffering will have been useless if we do not build all together a more just, more equitable, more Christian society, not in name, but in reality, a reality that leads us to a Christian behavior. If we do not work to end the pandemic of poverty in the world, the pandemic of poverty in each of our countries, in each of the cities we live in, this time will have past in vain.
From the great trials of humanity, and among them, the pandemic, one comes out either better or worse. One does not come out the same person.
I ask you: How do you want to come out? Better or worse? And that is why today we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit so that He can change our hearts and help us to come out better.
If we do not live to be judged according to what Jesus tells us: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, in prison and you visited me, a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Mt 25:35-36), we will not come out better.
And this is everybody’s task, a task for all of us. And also for you of CHARIS, who are the communion of all the charismatics.
The third Malines document, written in the 70s by Cardinal Suenens and Bishop Helder Camara, called: Charismatic Renewal and Social Action: A Dialogue, shows the way to this current of grace. Be faithful to this call of the Holy Spirit!
The prophetic words of John XXIII, when he announced the II Vatican Council and which the Charismatic Renewal especially treasures, now come to my mind: “May the divine Spirit deign to answer in a most comforting manner the prayer that everyday rises to Him from every corner of the world: Renew Your wonders in our time, as though in a new Pentecost, and grant that the Holy Church, united in unanimous prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and guided by Peter, may spread the Kingdom of the divine Savior, a Kingdom of Truth, of Justice, of Love, and of Peace.”
To all of you, on this vigil I wish you the consolation of the Holy Spirit. And the strength of the Holy Spirit to come out of this time of pain, sorrow and trial that is the pandemic, to come out improved. May the Lord bless you and the Virgin Mother guard you.
Art book introduces Our Lady to a new generation
Millennials Meet Mary, a beauifully-bound 428-page art book by Joan Foo Mahony, celebrates Our Lady via great works of art, with commentary by members of the Millennial generation who have viewed these images.
The author chosen to reveal the story of the Virgin Mary, the most painted and sculptured woman of all time, through Renaissance and Baroque artworks from great museums all over the world. For commentary on each of the artworks, the author has not attempted to ask art historians, iconologists or theological experts to interpret them. Instead, she has asked 80 Millennials from 42 countries who come from all walks of life – royalty, celebrities, entrepreneurs, professionals, accomplished figures, professionals and students – to “meet” the Mary of 23 BCE. For more on the book, see https://millennialsmeetmary.com/ . A hard copy of the book is available for $33 Cdn from Lennie David, firstname.lastname@example.org .
CCRS of BC newsletter
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editor Richard Dunstan
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