IF you are not praying the Rosary yet, it is time.
Confidently take up the Rosary once again… May this appeal of mine not go unheard! –John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae
AFTER Evening Prayer, Fr. Kyle and I were discussing the necessity of the prophetic gift for the building up of the Church. As we were talking, a storm passed overhead and a bolt of lightning lit up the sky. Immediately, it carried a message for us:
one who prophesies [speaks] to human beings, for their building up, encouragement, and solace.— 1 Cor 14:3
Then it could be said that everything in between–the steps leading up this Blessed Mountain–are the charisms of the Holy Spirit, with “prophecy” being the handrails.
Prophecy “means the foreknowledge of future events, though it may sometimes apply to past events of which there is no memory, and to present hidden things which cannot be known by the natural light of reason.” (Catholic Encyclopedia).
Pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy.(1 Cor 14:1)
For a deeper understanding of the gift of prophecy, click here.
WE PRAY “Come Holy Spirit!” So when the Spirit comes, what does it look like?
The icon of this coming is the Upper Room: an infusion of grace, power, authority, wisdom, prudence, counsel, knowledge, understanding, fortitude and fear of the Lord.
But we see something else as well… something the Church has often failed to recognize: the release of charisms in the Body. The Greek word Paul used for charism means “favor” or “benefit.” These include the gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy, discernment of spirits, administration, mighty deeds, and interpretation of tongues among others.
Let us be clear: these are charismatic gifts–not “the Charismatic’s gifts”. They do not belong to a single group or movement within the Church, but belong in proper to the whole Christian community. Too often, we have sent the gifts into the church basement where they are safely hidden in the confines of the prayer meeting of a few.
What great loss this is to the community! What paralysis this has brought about in the Church! These charisms, Paul tells us, are for the building up of the Body (cf. 1 Cor 12, 14:12). If that is so, tell me, what happens when the human body stops moving on a hospital bed? The person’s muscles become atrophied–limp, weak, and powerless.
So too, our failure to appropriate the charisms of the Holy Spirit has led to a Church which has fallen asleep on its side, unable to turn over and show the face of Christ to a hurting world. Our parishes have atrophied; our youth have lost interest; and those gifts intended to build us up remain hidden beneath the dust of our Baptism.
Indeed, Come Holy Spirit–come and re-enkindle in us your seven-fold gifts and bountiful charisms, for the glory of God, the renewal of the Church, and the conversion of the world.
MANY people say they have a personal relationship with Jesus. Others speak about their relationship with the Father. This is wonderful.
But how many of us have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit?
The Third Person of the Holy Trinity is just that–a divine person. A person whom Jesus has sent to be our Helper, our Advocate. A person who loves us with a burning love–like a tongue of fire. We can even “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Eph 4:30) because of this ineffable love.
But as we enter into the great feast of Pentecost, let us bring great joy to this intimate Friend. Let us begin to speak with the Holy Spirit, heart to Heart, lover to Lover, opening our spirit to Spirit, knowing that because of the Father’s love, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we now live, move, and have our being in this most Holy, Divine, and wonderful person: the Paraclete–who is Love itself.
the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
FEAST OF THE VISITATION
While pregnant with Jesus, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Upon Mary’s greeting, Scripture retells that the child within Elizabeth’s womb–John the Baptist–"leaped for joy".
John sensed Jesus.
How can we read this passage and fail to recognize the life and presence of a human person within the womb? This day, my heart has been weighed with the sorrow of abortion in North America. And the words, "You reap what you sow" have been playing through my mind.
THE flesh is lazy and idolatrous. But half the battle is recognizing this, and the other half then, is not fixating on it.
It is the Spirit who puts to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom 8:13)–not self-centered bemoaning. Fixing our eyes on Jesus in a gaze of trust, especially when we’re weighed down by personal sin, is precisely the means by which the Spirit conquers the flesh.
Humility is a gateway for God.
The image of this is the thief on the cross. He hung by the weight of his sinful flesh. But his eyes were fixed on Christ… And thus, Jesus–whose gaze was fixed on him in extraordinary love and mercy said, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Even though we may hang by the weight of our failures, we need only turn to Jesus in a glance of humility and honesty, and we will be assured to hear the same.
If my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced,(2 Chron 7:14)
humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways,
I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.
IF I were God, watching unfold before My all-seeing eyes the painful headlines of the day, the open rebellion to My plans, the apathy of My Church, the loneliness of the wealthy, the hunger of the poor, and the violence to My little ones…
…I would fill the spring air with the most beautiful fragrance, paint the evening sky in delightful colors, water the ground with cool rains, and send a warm Breeze across the earth to whisper in every ear,
“I love you, I love you, I love you…”
*I took this photo after ministering at a conference in Saskatchewan, Canada.
IT IS essentially understood, based on what Christ himself said, that Judas had chosen his final destiny. Jesus says of Iscariot,
"it would be better for that man if he had not been born." And again in reference to Judas,
"is not one of you a devil?"
However, it wasn’t only Judas who betrayed Christ: all of them fled from the garden. And then Peter denied Christ three times.
But they all repented… and thus Christ’s first words to them after He rose from the dead were,
"Peace be with you." Judas on the other hand did not repent; after betraying Life, he then took his life. Christ would have forgiven him, offering the kiss of peace to absolve the kiss of betrayal. But Judas did not convert, and thus,
"it would have been better if he had not been born."
Could I possibly betray Christ like Judas, and lose my salvation? Yes, this is possible, because like Judas, I too have free will. But if I do not despair–if I turn my heart back to Christ as Peter did–love and mercy will receive me back more quickly than I had sinned.