Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Charismatic Conference at Franciscan University

"Let the fire fall!" said Franciscan University Chancellor Father Michael Scanlan, TOR. "The power and the fire of the Holy Spirit is unlimited.
"This time 35 years ago," said Father Scanlan, one of the foremost leaders in the Catholic charismatic movement, "we took the charismatic renewal to the Vatican and the pope, who said, 'This is hope for the Church!' The popes have always been excited about it and enthusiastic about it."

As an individual who came to a personal relationship with Christ in the charismatic movement in the early 1970's, I have a warm place in my heart for the love my charismatic brothers and sisters have for Jesus and their willingness to worship in expressive and highly emotive ways. That being said however, I also experienced some of the unfortunate abuses of this movement during my years in Protestantism. I saw how the charismatic gifts became a "litmus test" for a person's spirituality and the lack of an outward show of those gifts often was a "scarlet letter" that singled out these Christians in their fellowship groups.  "You don't speak in tongues? Well, we can fix that. Huh, nothing happened yet? Well, there may be something blocking the flow of the Spirit in your life..." Conversations like that were not uncommon and I experienced some of these myself. Though I believed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit as outlined in Scripture are for today and not for an earlier dispensation, I never experienced tongues or "felt" the Holy Spirit come upon me falling to the floor as many around me had. The good news for me was that Jesus gave me a gift, that I believe, was the grace of knowing that God exists, and is with me always, regardless of how I feel. I am thankful for that grace that was given to me as an infant in my baptism.

Does the abuse of the gifts of the Holy Spirit make them null and void? No, certainly not.  Saint Paul clearly showed us that in his first correctional letter to the Church in Corinth. The charismatic gifts have always been a part of the Catholic Church, ebbing and flowing over the centuries. The more vocal gifts of tongues and prophecy certainly have their place, but the Church has shown us that the celebration of the Mass, the Divine Liturgy as our eastern-rite brethren call it, is the ultimate form of worship. Praise and worship gatherings are useful and can enhance our experience of God, especially if Jesus is there in the Blessed Sacrament. However, they can never take the place of what every Catholic can experience of God in daily and Sunday Mass. In the mass, we are allowed to participate by offering ourselves in union with Christ during the re-presentation of his sacrifice on the Cross to God the Father. To me, there is nothing more charismatic than Jesus becoming truly present before us on the altar and then allowing us to "take and eat" of Him.

I am happy to see that the charismatic gifts are still flowing and being used by God in the Catholic Church such as what is happening at Franciscan University. I pray this will be a sign to draw others to the Catholic faith and encourage those already in the Church to love Jesus more and more.


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