Charismatic! Part VII

 

THE point of this entire series on the charismatic gifts and movement is to encourage the reader to not be afraid of the extraordinary in God! To not be afraid to “open wide your hearts” to the gift of the Holy Spirit whom the Lord wishes to pour out in a special and powerful way in our times. As I read the letters sent to me, it is clear that the Charismatic Renewal has not been without its sorrows and failures, its human deficiencies and weaknesses. And yet, this is precisely what occurred in the early Church after Pentecost. Saints Peter and Paul devoted much space to correcting the various churches, moderating the charisms, and refocusing the budding communities over and over again upon the oral and written tradition that was being handed on to them. What the Apostles did not do is deny the often dramatic experiences of believers, try to stifle the charisms, or silence the zeal of thriving communities. Rather, they said:

Do not quench the Spirit… pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy… above all, let your love for one another be intense… (1 Thess 5:19; 1 Cor 14:1; 1 Pet 4:8)

I want to devote the last part of this series to sharing my own experiences and reflections since I first experienced the charismatic movement in 1975. Rather than give my entire testimony here, I will restrict it to those experiences one might call “charismatic.”

 

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Charismatic? Part VI

pentecost3_FotorPentecost, Artist Unknown

  

PENTECOST is not only a single event, but a grace that the Church can experience again and again. However, in this past century, the popes have been praying not only for a renewal in the Holy Spirit, but for a “new Pentecost”. When one considers all the signs of the times that have accompanied this prayer—key among them the continued presence of the Blessed Mother gathering with her children on earth through ongoing apparitions, as though she were once again in the “upper room” with the Apostles… the words of the Catechism take on a new sense of immediacy:

…at the “end time” the Lord’s Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 715

This time when the Spirit comes to “renew the face of the earth” is the period, after the death of Antichrist, during what the Church Father’s pointed to in St. John’s Apocalypse as the “thousand year” era when Satan is chained in the abyss.Continue reading

Charismatic? Part V

 

 

AS we look at the Charismatic Renewal today, we see a great decline in its numbers, and those who remain are mostly grey and white-haired. What, then, was the Charismatic Renewal all about if it appears on the surface to be fizzling? As one reader wrote in response to this series:

At some point the Charismatic movement vanished like fireworks that light up the night sky and then fall back into the darkenss. I was somewhat puzzled that a move of Almighty God would wane and finally fade away.

The answer to this question is perhaps the most important aspect of this series, for it helps us to understand not only where we’ve come from, but what the future holds for the Church…

 

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Charismatic? Part IV

 

 

I have been asked before if I am a “Charismatic.” And my answer is, “I am Catholic!” That is, I want to be fully Catholic, to live in the center of the deposit of faith, the heart of our mother, the Church. And so, I strive to be “charismatic”, “marian,” “contemplative,” “active,” “sacramental,” and “apostolic.” That is because all of the above belong not to this or that group, or this or that movement, but to the entire body of Christ. While apostolates may vary in the focus of their particular charism, in order to be fully alive, fully “healthy,” one’s heart, one’s apostolate, should be open to the entire treasury of grace that the Father has bestowed upon the Church.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens… (Eph 1:3)

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The Verdict

 

AS my recent ministry tour progressed, I felt a new weight in my soul, a heaviness of heart unlike previous missions the Lord has sent me on. After preaching about His love and mercy, I asked the Father one night why the world… why anyone would not want to open their hearts to Jesus who has given so much, who has never hurt a soul, and who has burst open the gates of Heaven and gained every spiritual blessing for us through His death upon the Cross?

The answer came swiftly, a word from the Scriptures themselves:

And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. (John 3:19)

The growing sense, as I’ve meditated on this word, is that it is a definitive word for our times, indeed a verdict for a world now upon the threshold of extraordinary change….

 

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The Prophetic Mountain

 

WE are parked at the base of the Canadian Rocky Mountains this evening, as my daughter and I prepare to grab some shut eye before the day’s journey to the Pacific Ocean tomorrow.

I am only a few miles from the mountain where, seven years ago, the Lord spoke powerful prophetic words to Fr. Kyle Dave and I. He is a priest from Louisiana who fled Hurricane Katrina when it ravaged the southern states, including his parish. Fr. Kyle came to stay with me in the aftermath, as a veritable tsunami of water (a 35 foot storm surge!) tore through his church, leaving nothing but a few statues behind.

While here, we prayed, read the Scriptures, celebrated the Mass, and prayed some more as the Lord made the Word come alive. It was as though a window was opened, and we were allowed to peer into the fog of the future for a short time. Everything that was spoken in seed form then (see The Petals and Trumpets of Warning) is now unfolding before our eyes. Since then, I have expounded on  those prophetic days in some 700 writings here and in a book, as the Spirit has led me on this unexpected journey…

 

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Esperanza


Maria Esperanza, 1928 – 2004

 

The cause for canonization of Maria Esperanza was opened January 31, 2010. This writing was first published on September 15th, 2008, on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. As with the writing Trajectory, which I recommend you read, this writing also contains many “now words” that we need to hear again.

And again.

 

THIS past year, when I would pray in the Spirit, a word would often and suddenly rise to my lips: “esperanza.” I just learned that this is a Hispanic word meaning “hope.”

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Merciless!

 

IF the Illumination is to occur, an event comparable to the "awakening" of the Prodigal Son, then not only will humanity encounter the depravity of that lost son, the consequent mercy of the Father, but also the mercilessness of the elder brother.

It is interesting that in Christ’s parable, He does not tell us whether the elder son comes to accept the return of His little brother. In fact, the brother is angry.

Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. (Luke 15:25-28)

The remarkable truth is, not everyone in the world will accept the graces of the Illumination; some will refuse "to enter the house." Is this not the case every day in our own lives? We are granted many moments for conversion, and yet, so often we choose our own misguided will over God’s, and harden our hearts a little bit more, at least in certain areas of our lives. Hell itself is full of people who willfully resisted saving grace in this life, and are thus without grace in the next. Human free will is at once an incredible gift while at the same time a serious responsibility, since it is the one thing that renders the omnipotent God helpless: He forces salvation upon no one even though He wills that all would be saved. [1]cf. 1 Tim 2:4

One of the dimensions of free will that restrains God’s ability to act within us is mercilessness…

 

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1. cf. 1 Tim 2:4

The Coming Revelation of the Father

 

ONE of the great graces of the Illumination is going to be the revelation of the Father’s love. For the great crisis of our time—the destruction of the family unit—is the loss of our identity as sons and daughters of God:

The crisis of fatherhood we are living today is an element, perhaps the most important, threatening man in his humanity. The dissolution of fatherhood and motherhood is linked to the dissolution of our being sons and daughters.  —POPE BENEDICT XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger), Palermo, March 15th, 2000 

At Paray-le-Monial, France, during the Sacred Heart Congress, I sensed the Lord saying that this moment of the prodigal son, the moment of the Father of Mercies is coming. Even though mystics speak of the Illumination as a moment of seeing the crucified Lamb or an illuminated cross, [1]cf. Revelation Illumination Jesus will reveal to us the Father’s love:

He who sees me sees the Father. (John 14:9)

It is “God, who is rich in mercy” whom Jesus Christ has revealed to us as Father: it is His very Son who, in Himself, has manifested Him and made Him known to us… It is especially for[sinners] that the Messiah becomes a particularly clear sign of God who is love, a sign of the Father. In this visible sign the people of our own time, just like the people then, can see the Father. —BLESSED JOHN PAUL II, Dives in misercordia, n. 1

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