What Happened to Those Pentecostal Catholics? We Need a new Pentecost!
the heart of the Catholic Church which stretches back to the earthly ministry of Jesus and forward to His return. In fact, it was an encounter with the Holy Spirit so many years ago which led me back home to the Catholic Church into which I had been baptized as a child.
Sometimes, people ask me all these years later when they hear of my earlier identification with that movement, "What Happened to those Pentecostal/Charismatic Catholics?" I guess my life is one of many answers to that question. I give them the following answer.
The Spirit continued to lead me into the heart of the Catholic Church. My hunger for more of God and my passionate love for the Word of God, led me to continued theological studies and to ordination as a member of the clergy, a deacon. My heart for evangelization led me to assist in the myriad of ministries, apostolates and works in which I have involved for decades.
Do I still believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for ordinary Christians? You bet I do! I also hope that they assist us all in growing in the fruits of the Spirit and manifesting the character of Jesus Christ through living lives of real holiness.
I do not identify with any "movement". Rather, I identify with the Jesus Christ who has been raised from the dead and still pours out His graces through the Church which is His Body. My experience all those years ago was not about a specific movement - but about a new way of living in the Lord by the Holy Spirit.
Over the years, the term "ecclesial movements' has become the term used to refer to the many movements within the Catholic Church which demonstrate that the Spirit of Pentecost is alive and well. Though each has a unique charism and mission, they all invite Christians to have a "personal" relationship, an encounter, with the Lord Jesus Christ. They proclaim that He has been raised from the dead and is alive in our midst in the Church. They call men and women to the encounter, to experience the Pentecost of the Holy Spirit He promised, right now.
Pentecost is not about a onetime experience but about a way of living in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are led by the Spirit to live in the Heart of the Church, for the sake of that world. The Church is meant to become the home of the whole human race. Within the communion of the Church we become leaven and seed in the loaf of human culture, in order to lead the world into the "new world", which is the Church.
We are called to live a unity of life, where Christian faith is not compartmentalized but rather informs and permeates our daily life. We are called to love the Church, recognizing that she is "Some - One" not something - the Body of Christ continuing His redemptive mission on the earth until He returns. The missionary mandate extends to every state in life and every Christian vocation. They demonstrate that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are real and still available for all Christians.
The purpose of Pentecost is the birth - and continued rebirth - of the Church. The Church is "Plan A" and there is no "Plan B". The notion of a Christian group being "para" Church is far from the purpose of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was not poured out on the disciples so that they could form movements outside of the Church, or compete with one another in movements within her. Rather, so that they could become full members of Christ's Church living His life within her bosom for the sake of the world.
Jesus told the disciples that He must ascend, to "my Father and your father, my God and your God" (John 20:17) because, in His own words "If I do not go I cannot send the comforter. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned."
And in the same Gospel "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming." (John 16: 7-15)
The Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit to live differently in the midst of a world awaiting the fullness of redemption; to lead the world back to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. Can we live this kind of transformed Christian life in the stuff of our own daily lives? Yes, by living them in the heart of the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is a lot of "bad news" in our contemporary culture. However, this culture is not all that different than the cultures into which the early Christians were sent on mission; cultures such as the one which the Christians in Ephesus confronted. They needed the Holy Spirit to do their work and so do we.
The answer for the malady of this age is the same as the answer of those early disciples, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like them we are called to present the new culture revealed in the heart of the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit to our own age. This is a new missionary age and we are called into the whole world to preach the Gospel in both word and deed.
The Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church began with a prayer for a "New Pentecost." The Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost and continues to be poured out on, in and through the Church, for the sake of her mission in the world. Pentecost was and is the birthday of the Church. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church and the source of her power for mission.
We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the work of the New Evangelization of the Church. We need to be Baptized afresh in the Spirit in order to take our role as a member of the Body of Christ in this new missionary age. The Church needs to rise up in this hour with the same power with which she transformed the world of the first centuries. She can...by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Whatever Happened to those Pentecostal/Charismatic Catholics? We are everywhere these days continuing to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit by offering ourselves to the Lord in His Church and, through her, continuing the redemptive mission of the Lord until He returns. Amen, Come Lord Jesus!
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Pentecost, Charismatic, Pentecostal, evengelical, Holy Spirit, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, ecclesial movements, Missionary, Deacon Keith Fournier
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