Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: Pentecost and the Ecclesial Movements
Ecclesial movements are the providential response of the Holy Spirit to critical challenges of the new millennium, the divine finger pointing out where these challenges exist and ways in which to meet them. The Church was founded for the very purpose of spreading the kingdom of Christ throughout the earth for the glory of God.
The Holy Spirit 'breathes where He wills' (John 3:8).
In the Old Testament, Pentecost was the feast of the first fruits of the harvest, always held fifty days after the Passover sacrifice. In the New Testament, it was at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the earth, fifty days after the Paschal sacrifice of Christ, through the disciples gathered and waiting in the Upper Room.
It was the Holy Spirit that burst forth upon the earth through wind and fire and carried Christ's disciples to the very ends of the earth. They, and their work, were the first fruits of the Holy Spirit's harvest of souls.
The Church was founded that Pentecost for the very purpose of spreading the kingdom of Christ throughout the earth for the glory of God, to enable all humanity to share in redemption, and to gather the whole world, both the spiritual and temporal orders, into a relationship with Christ. The relationship of everything in and to Christ renews all of creation, initially on earth and completely on the last day. It is the special work of the Holy Spirit.
The Hands and Feet of Christ
All the activities of the Mystical Body directed to this renewal of creation are missionary; they are called the apostolate. The Christian vocation by its very nature is necessarily a vocation to the apostolate, so that no part of the structure of the living Mystical Body can be passive.
Each part has a share in the function as well as life of the body, which, "joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love" (Eph. 4:16).
"Indeed, the organic union in this body and the structure of the members are so compact that the member who fails to make his proper contribution to the development of the Church must be said to be useful neither to the Church nor to himself (Apostolicam Acuositatem, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Pope Paul VI).
For the exercise of ministry, the Holy Spirit sanctifies the people of God through sacrament and apostolate and gives us special gifts (1 Cor. 12:7), "allotting them to everyone according as He wills" (1 Cor. 12:11). Incorporated into Christ's Mystical Body through Baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation, each of us is assigned to the apostolate by the Lord Himself.
There arises for each believer, then, the right and duty to use these special gifts in the Church and in the world for the good of men and the building up of the Church, in the freedom of the Holy Spirit who "breathes where He wills" (John 3:8).
Renewing the Face of the Earth
"With the Second Vatican Council, the Comforter recently gave the Church, which according to the Fathers is the place 'where the Spirit flourishes' (CCC 749), a renewed Pentecost, instilling a new and unforeseen dynamism" (Speech for the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements, John Paul II).
As in the first New Testament Pentecost, there remains an element of surprise in the Holy Spirit's movement, and a diversity of ministry in the oneness of the mission of the Church. It is from this providential rediscovery of the Church's charismatic dimension that, before and after the Council, a remarkable pattern of growth was established for ecclesial movements and new communities.
The Church, herself renewed and refreshed, penetrates and perfects the temporal order through the fresh wind and fire of the Holy Spirit, renewing and refreshing the earth with the Gospel she carries forth.
Having stepped firmly into the third millennium, we can see in hindsight of Vatican II that the Holy Spirit was again "allotting his gifts according as he wills (cf. 1 Cor 12:11), and not just his gifts. "[The Holy Spirit] also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank.... He makes them fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church" (Lumen Gentium, n. 12).
It was and is these special graces, distributed afresh after the breath of the Council, that inspired and empower ecclesial movements and their particular charisms. These movements, under the sanction and direction of the Church, advance the kingdom of God and reform and improve the temporal order in a Christian spirit. They are the providential response of the Holy Spirit to critical challenges of this new millennium, and highlight, in fact, where they exist and ways in which to meet them.
The laity who have followed their vocation and become members of one of the movements ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Vocations News
- Archbishop Josť H. Gomez on Praying for Priests and Promoting Vocations
- COL EXCLUSIVE: Fr. Pontifex - See what this priest does to deliver his powerful message
- Sisters of Bon Secours Host Project Good Help to Assist Underserved in Baltimore
- Benedictine Monks from Oklahoma Move to Ireland's Stamullen Priory
- Benedictine Monks from Oklahoma Become Missionaries to the Irish Church
- Knights of the Holy Eucharist Announce Facebook Page
- Child Casket Fund: Trappist Monks of New Melleray Practice the Corporal Works of Mercy
- Melkite Catholic Church to Ordain Married Men to the Priesthood in the US
- Trappist Monks and Nuns Revive Interest in Monastic Vocations Online
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?