Pope Francis is a friend and supporter of all of the ecclesial movements
in the Catholic Church. So were his predecessors, Saint John Paul II
and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. One of those movements is the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. On
Sunday, June 1 and Monday, June 2, 2014, at the Olympic Stadium in
Rome, home to massive soccer games, 50,000 people will gather to pray,
praise and worship the Lord. They will ask the Lord for a deeper
outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church. They will participate in
the Holy Eucharist and receive instruction on how to fully live the
Catholic Christian Life.They will be enlisted in the missionary work of
the Church. On the opening evening of this conference, Pope Francis will speak.
ROME, Italy (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis is a friend and supporter of all of the ecclesial movements in the Catholic Church. So were his predecessors, Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
One of those movements is the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
On Sunday, June 1 and Monday, June 2, 2014, at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, home to massive soccer games, 50,000 people will gather to pray, praise and worship the Lord. They will ask the Lord for a deeper outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church. They will participate in the Holy Eucharist and receive instruction on how to fully live the Catholic Christian Life.They will be enlisted in the missionary work of the Church.
On the opening evening of this conference, Pope Francis will speak.
Participants in the Charismatic Renewal are in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. They not only speak of Jesus as someone who lived over two thousand years ago, they speak of Him as someone who is alive today - because He is! They are often enthusiastic in prayer and praise. They understand that the missionary mandate of the Church is the responsibility of every Catholic, no matter what their state in life or vocation.
No wonder they are viewed by this Pope as a great resource for the Church in its internal work of New Evangelization, as well as her global mission.
Salvatore Martinez, the President of the Organization which leads the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in Italy, told the Italian press:"At the stadium, there are so many people that cheer on, and hope that the team of the heart scores. Pope Francis wants to score within the hearts of humanity, and that the person who scores is Jesus Christ, and that we can all take the field with him, to play this match. But it's an important match. We're playing for our lives, and for our our eternal lives."
On May 21, 2013, Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis addressed a massive crowd which included the leaders of ecclesial movements, including the charismatic renewal. He told them:
The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission.
The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone.
As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever" (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the "Comforter", who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission?
Pope Francis moves in the power of the Holy Spirit. He calls every one of us to do the same. He sees the ecclesial movements as a missionary resource.They are. As a pastor, he wants to ensure that the members of the ecclesial movements do not fall prey to the temptation often faced by enthusiastic movements, to turn inward and become, to use one of his favorite words of warning to the whole Church, self-referential.
So, he not only encourages participants - but joins with them and gives them direction.
Over the last few pontificates, the term ecclesial movements has become the term used to refer to these movements. The last three Popes have also used the language of encounter, emphasizing that encountering the Lord is the indispensable beginning of living faith. The term ecclesial movement focuses participants on the Lord and His Church, and not a particular movement.
Enthusiastic Movements come and go, the Church endures.
Though each movement often has unique charisms, emphases and distinctive missions, they share much in common. They are 'evangelical' in the fullest sense of the word. They all call men and women into an encounter with Jesus Christ which awakens the grace of Baptism within them and changes them from the inside out.
They focus on witness and mission, inviting the men and women of this age into a personal relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. They proclaim that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and is alive in our midst in the Church which He founded. Then, they demonstrate the truth of that claim in their lives.
They profess that the Pentecost of the Holy Spirit is still happening here and now. They enlist all Catholics, indeed all Christians, into a mission into the world, to take their place in the ongoing redemptive mission of the Lord.
The last conference for ecclesial movements in Rome exceeded over 120,000 representatives from over 150 ecclesial movements in attendance. Francis hopes to unite them - and the entire Church - in the one mission of the Church in this new missionary age. He is always issuing a call for laborers in the vineyard. Pray for this important meeting. Pray for continued growth in the Charismatic renewal and all of the ecclesial movements in the Catholic Church. Pray for this Pope of the Holy Spirit.
Salvatore Martinez also noted:
The Pope wrote a letter titled the Joy of the Gospel. He talked about the need to spread the Gospel through praise, song and prayer. Not to be ashamed of calling yourself a Christian, to proclaim the Gospel as a living person, Jesus himself. We'll have all that here at the stadium, over two days, but especially with the Pope.Yes, we have an economic crisis, a political and moral crisis. But the answer is not among humanity. The solution is not in peace treaties or parliaments. The answer is within our hearts. Here in the stadium, with Pope Francis, we ask people to rediscover their inner life, an inner principle, a principle of a good spiritual life. Once rediscovered and tested, it can then be communicated and passed on to others.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Tuesday morning, January 28, 2014, in the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta residence chapel. He spoke about prayer. The first reading was drawn from the Second Book of Samuel, where "David danced with all his might before the Lord." He noted that David's prayer of praise, "led him to move beyond all composure" adding, "this was precisely a prayer of praise."
He noted that we often find it easier to understand a prayer of petition, thanksgiving, and adoration. But that, "The Prayer of praise, however, We leave aside - it does not come to us so easily. "'But, Father! This is for the Renewal in the Spirit folks, not for all Christians!' No! The prayer of praise is a Christian prayer, for all of us. In the Mass, every day, when we sing the Holy, Holy, Holy ... This is a prayer of praise: we praise God for his greatness, because He is great. We say beautiful things to Him, because we happy for His greatness'
Well, you're able to shout when your team scores a goal, and you are not able to sing praises to the Lord? To come out of your shell, ever so slightly, to sing His praise? Praising God is completely gratis. In it we do not ask Him to give us anything: we do not express gratitude for anything He has given; we praise Him!"
On June 1, 2014, the Coliseum in Rome will certainly erupt in such prayers of praise. There may even be some exuberant dancing. Francis, the Pope of the Holy Spirit, will certainly prompt such a response. As the hostility toward Jesus Christ and His Church continues to grow in the West, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon the whole Church. Such prayer of praise is a gift and a source of encouragement.
We are increasingly being placed at risk for living our faith - at least when we do so in fidelity to the Gospel and the teaching office of the Church. However, the same Holy Spirit which has protected the Church throughout the ages is at work today. We need more and more of the Holy Spirit to do the work entrusted to us as the disciples of Jesus in this Third Christian Millennium.
Miracles are always occurring. The real question is do we see them? Do we have the eyes of living faith which recognize the hand of the Lord at work? Do we ask for them? Then, if we do see them, are we responding to these great acts of Love? Are we living life differently as a result?
Are we finding the true joy and freedom which comes from repentance and conversion? Are we sharing that living faith with those around us who hunger to meet the Lord Jesus Christ? Do we believe that the same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead is at work now, in the Church which is His Body? Do we pray for miracles?
Citing the biblical references to the multiple miraculous healing in the earthly ministry of Jesus - as well as the healing which continued through the ministry of the Apostles in the early Church - the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that miracles are a sign of the Kingdom of God:
"Jesus accompanies his words with many "mighty works and wonders and signs", which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah. The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him. To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask. So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God."
"But his miracles can also be occasions for "offense"; they are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic. Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons. By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death, Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God's sons and causes all forms of human bondage."
"The coming of God's kingdom means the defeat of Satan's: "If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." Jesus' exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over "the ruler of this world". The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ's cross: "God reigned from the wood." (CCC # 547-550)
Do signs of the Kingdom continue to be manifested in our own day? The answer is YES! Church history has demonstrated that when the Gospel in its fullness is proclaimed, signs and wonders accompany the Church's apostolic and missionary work. We are living in just such a time.
Come, Holy Spirit!
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