Did You See Him? Ron Did! Kat Did!

Can you imagine the buzz after Jesus rose from the dead? Word spread from person to person like wildfire. And questions came just as fast. Did he look the same? Could he eat? Did you touch him? What did he say? And today is no different. News of seeing Jesus is meant to spread from person to person, like wildfire, the all-consuming wildfire of the Holy Spirit. Here are some examples of people who experienced Jesus from our latest booklet.

  • Ronald was a Presbyterian who rejected God because of a lack of support, ugly pastoral scandals, and professors who questioned God’s existence. He married a Catholic involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, but faith still eluded him. Then came September 11, 2001, when he watched out his office window as smoke billowed from the Pentagon. He cried out to Jesus in prayer. He experienced a deep desire for Jesus’s presence and the new life the Savior offers. Shortly after that tragic day, Ronald decided to join the Catholic Church and also a charismatic prayer group. “Now,” he writes, “I have a solid formation and have become a fervent… believer.”
  • Kat, from Ireland, often prayed the rosary and attended parish missions, but she did not have a very close relationship with God. She was just going through the motions. Then one day she hit rock bottom as a result of abuse. Kat was putting clothes on the line when she stopped and cried out to God, “Are you there? Do you care about what is happening to me?” It was a cry for God’s love and for a SAVIOR.

    Kat writes that three weeks later, as she was “sitting by the fireplace and thinking about Jesus, all of a sudden a tremendous peace came over me. I knew without a doubt that God loved me. As a simple confirmation of this grace, I noticed a nearby spider, and for the first time in my life, I was not afraid, and I have not been afraid of spiders since. The next morning, I went to Mass and asked Jesus to use me to help others. Then a lady sat down behind me who had an awful wheeze, so I started to pray for her. What a change! Here I was praying for someone else!

  • For more stories about people meeting Jesus in lots of different ways read our new “An Introduction to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.” This book is also a user-friendly guide for a post Resurrection meeting between you and Jesus.
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Choose One: Holy Cow! Holy Moly! Holy Week!

Great beginning! The crowds go wild as Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and then, on Holy Thursday, the disciples have a delicious meal in a room with an astounding view. (Apparently it was so good that it took four days to cook it.) But the story goes downhill from there, way down! Jesus experiences a “Rock bottom” CRISIS! He sweats blood and then dies as a criminal on the smelly, raucous outskirts of Jerusalem on Good Friday. But WAIT! Here comes the SURPRISE ending, not the “let’s pretend, fairy tale” kind of a surprise. But a dazzling SHOCKER that unfolds on Holy Saturday, a surprise akin to seeing Uncle Henry in a casket one afternoon and meeting him as you jog down the street the next day! And the whole plot, the climax and the punch line is that LOVE WINS! Jesus saves every one of us from the clutches of our own deaths, even if yours is the worst “science fiction, horrible, concentration camp, torture” kind of death. Because Jesus came to usher us into ETERNAL HAPPINESS! (Which by the way, most of us barely understand except for rare sneak previews).

 

So now you have heard our quasi-Hollywood version of what happens during Holy Week. There are many other explanations. But the important thing is that all of these celebrations, taken together, offer us a recap, or a front-row instant replay of the Good News about God made flesh in Jesus, the Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Please consider this blog as a PERSONAL INVITATION to your nearby church and come see for yourself. If you already plan on participating, invite a friend (by sharing this blog); or just bring a friend who might not come otherwise; and top off your time together with a coffee and a conversation at a restaurant. If you are not sure what Catholic Churches are nearby, visit masstimes.org/ and bring a friend for moral support.

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Holy Spirit – Source of Renewal and Evangelizing Strength

God cares! On the heels of the Second Vatican Council, the charismatic movement arose to take on a significant role in the Church’s mission. It began in 1967, a time of civil unrest in the United States, particularly on college campuses and in inner city ghettoes. Vietnam demonstrations, civil rights protests, and racial riots were regular features on the evening news. Then there was the unspeakable demoralization that followed the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.

God Intervenes

One part of God’s merciful response to the world’s woes at this time was to touch a small group of college students at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In February 1967, these students, some of whom had already embraced the underpinnings of the Gospel message through the Cursillo movement, gathered for a weekend retreat on the Holy Spirit… They emerged with the goals of inspiring faith, praying with others, sharing the Gospel message, and highlighting the role of the Spirit. Just six years later, in 1973, thirty-five thousand Catholics of all ages gathered for a national conference at Notre Dame University—both to celebrate the Spirit and to seek his strength and empowerment as Jesus’s followers. And so began a new openness to baptism in the Spirit and to the charismatic renewal among Catholics, mostly through prayer groups.

Marks of Renewal

The spread of prayer groups in the first decades of the renewal brought forth several spiritual phenomena. The first was spontaneous group prayer, which became the context for praying in tongues and for gestures like raising one’s arms to God. The second was meditation on Scripture passages and their prophetic meaning, a form of lectio divina, Latin for “sacred reading.” The third was individual prayer for healing and other needs, through the laying on of hands and group intercessory prayer. The fourth was inspired teaching, to advance the faith formation of those present. Even now, we see these phenomena filtering into faith-sharing groups plus parish and regional ministries, thus bringing the best of the Renewal and its spiritual riches into the whole Church.

Golden Jubilee Challenge

This year we celebrate fifty years of charismatic renewal, or what Pope Francis refers to as a “current of grace…a renewing breath of the Holy Spirit for all the members of the Church.” This ongoing blessing and challenge is meant to raise questions in us.

  • Have I accepted the proclamation of salvation in Jesus? Have I been transformed by the Good News? Has this transformation filtered into every fiber of my being, every thought and action?
  • Am I ready to share my faith and let God’s love spill out on those around me, through the charisms and fruits of the Holy Spirit that I am being given?”
  • Am I open to evangelizing, to giving flesh to the message of Jesus in word and deed, knowing that the Holy Spirit will change hearts and minds? Will I move from accidental kindnesses and invisible beliefs toward intentional acts of faith that enable others to experience Jesus in new ways?

excerpted from our newly revised and expanded booklet: An Introduction to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

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