Showing posts with label charisms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charisms. Show all posts

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ah-Ha

Sitting at a group last week I had a spiritual awakening.  To understand it, I have to give a little background.  Throughout my life when I have been in a tough situation, accused or judged or put down, I have had an image of Christ weeping with me.  It provided me with some solace over the years, but sometimes I found myself questioning myself why the Lord let me suffer like that.  I came to see the Lord as uncaring for my plight.  I knew that this couldn't be true, but this is how it felt to me.

Someone in the group spoke about a spiritual awakening they had to recognize that God had been there working in their life and they hadn't seen Him properly.  They had an awakening where they could see the true nature of the loving God.  I had an "Ah-Ha" moment where I recognized that the Lord wasn't weeping with me.  He was weeping for me because I was not using the gifts and talents He had given me to improve my situation.  I got it.

I can't go back and change the past.  I can't predict or alter the future.  But, in this present moment, I am asking for the strength to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been given to me to both imporve my situation and to bring forth the kingdom of God.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In This World There Will Be Troubles

I do a prayer ministry.  Usually I pray with people at conferences like the Catholic Women for Christ Conference this past weekend.  Of course the things I hear in prayer ministry are confidential, but what strikes me is how universal and common are the problems that women come to me for prayer.

There are lots of twenty and thirty somethings who aren't going to church and worrying their mothers because of their lifestyles.  Marriages need a lot of prayers.  Aching shoulders and feet and various tendons and muscles require prayer. Once in a while I pray for a bad back or cancer.  Relationships with friends and family require prayer as do friends and family members with addictions.  Women who feel stressed and overworked and worried come in for prayer.  And that is about it.  Common problems, they come with common problems.

I am privileged to pray for and with these women.  I feel Jesus' healing presence and many of the women say they feel healed.  I know whenever I am prayed for, I feel relief.  I believe in healing prayer and I am glad that I have had training to confidently offer this prayer.

However, due to the common nature of the problems and the numerous women who come for prayer, I have reflected that I wish, hope, pray for the idea that women could perhaps find some friends and prayer for each other.  The problems are common and numerous.  Lay hands on each other (or hold hands), praise and thank Jesus, ask for the need and thank Jesus for hearing and answering our needs.  There are some fancy additions that we do in prayer ministry (not really), but those basics are enough, more readily available than waiting for a conference or Magnificat breakfast.  Ladies, there will be troubles (in every life), let us pray for each other. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Christian Maturity

At the area wide prayer meeting the priest who spoke talked about evangelization.  The key point he emphasized was the need for Christian maturity in preparation to evangelize for Christ.  Christian maturity happens as we fall deeper in knowledge and love with Jesus Christ.  Lack of knowledge of Christ is one of the biggest impediments to evangelization.

I think of the first lesson in the old Baltimore Catechism of my youth.  God made us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him.  The "know" came first.  Many people try to rush into the serving without having a deep and intimate knowledge of Christ. The knowing of Christ, the encounter with Him of course is not a one time thing.  It is an unfolding, and awakening that happens throughout our lives.

But, how to grow in that knowledge?  Reading the Bible and the writings of the saints is a good way to come to know Christ.  Taking classes or attending talks like the Area Wide Prayer Meeting, the Magnificat breakfasts, and other such offerings can grow out love and knowledge of Christ. Prayer, deep meaningful prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, rosaries, listening to God in prayer, and on and on.  Regular prayer grows our understanding and knowledge of Christ.  Paying attention in our lives for God's call and God's movement grows our knowledge of Him.

And when we know Him, how can we keep from loving Him?  Only then are we ready to serve Him by going out and spreading his message throughout the world.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Confessor

I need to find a confessor. A confessor is a priest to whom one regularly goes for the sacrament of Reconciliation.  In a perfect world I suppose that would generally be one's parish priest.  But, as often happens, I suppose, I don't really fit up well with that one for various reasons which does not intend to imply fault on the part of either of us.  It is what it is.

In my parish associates don't last long.  That is just a statement of fact.  I can't remember any of the recent ones who have been here longer than 2 years.  Our current one is coming up on the one year anniversary and I just find myself wondering when he is leaving and being reluctant to form any kind of relationship with him.  It is what it is.

My spiritual director is not a priest.  She has suggested I find a confessor.  She said to pray about it and perhaps to go looking for one.  One way is to try out the local parishes.  She made a suggestion or two.  So, I am praying about this.

And I am wondering, if any of the ten of you who might read this have a confessor and if so, how did you find him and if not, how would you go about finding one?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Love

Do the most loving thing....  That was the message I got while I sat in Adoration pouring out all my anguish and fears and hopes to the Lord.  The answer to my prayer was--be love.  It doesn't matter what others are doing...be love.  If I know that I am His child, then the only sane response, the only thing I can choose is to be loving, act loving, to do the most loving thing.

As I left the Adoration Chapel it seemed so simple and easy.  Be Love.  But, I have found since then that knowing the most loving thing to do can be difficult at times.  I have found that controlling my own wild rebellious nature can be difficult too.  But, whenever I can get back a hold of myself and act in the way I am called, then I try to be loving, to do the most loving thing.  Because what he told me was--Mary, be love.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Charisms--Teaching

One of my charisms (gifts from the Holy Spirit) is teaching.  I have been happy to serve the Lord in the teaching capacity during ACTS retreat formation, as part of Light Way, in prayer group and other odds ans ends of times I am called on to teach something to build up the kingdom of God. A couple of years ago I was very busy using the teaching charism.  I was so busy that I was really stressed at times and I wished for a break from all of that stuff I was doing.

The break came.  I am still doing prayer group.  From time to time I prepare a teaching for the group, but often I just don't know what to teach or I don't really have time or a leading to prepare it.  I have also become lazy. But, lately prayer group is it for teaching.

As I reflected upon this in prayer the other day, it occurred to me that I learn and grow more when I am using my teaching charism than when I am not using it.  Our charisms not only build up the kingdowm of God, they build us up as well.  Being lazy in using this charism makes me lazy in using other charisms as well.  I am not growing much in the Lord.  Not preparing for Heaven as I should.  So I am praying these days for some opportunities to present themselves to use my teaching gifts, not only as part of my day to day working life, but also to bring others closer to Christ, to know Him better.

Or perhaps I am being called to develop my other charisms. I just know that I am not called to be lazy and coast, because I still have a long way to go on the journey.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beatitudes

Last night at prayer group we were beginning a study of the beatitudes.  Among the ideas that brought much discussion was the notion that God does not see evil.  Gen 1:21 says that God is all good.  And Hab 1:13 says that God is too pure to see evil.  And Ps 1:6 says that God does not know the way of the wicked.  The author of the book I am using and several people he cites argue that God sees only good and less good.  God is always working to bring good.  And often that good comes out of evil.  The cross was given as an example.

We had various discussions including the notion that nothing good can come from evil, which some believed, to examples of good out of evil or sin such as a grandchild born to an unwed daughter.  The summary of this session had to do with being humble of heart and crediting God for all. At our best our human nature leads us to do both good and evil.  It is only through Christ that we are saved.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hope Echoes--Fear of the Lord

I am supposed to be writing about the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit using Mitch Finley's book of that title.  Instead for this last gift, I intend to share my thoughts on it with you.

After I lost the last baby I would ever conceive I spent a lot of time questioning God.  I guess I knew it was wrong to question God, but I couldn't help it.  I was devastated and I couldn't find a way back to peace.  I prayed and couldn't find God in my prayers.  I attended Masses and it seemed like going through the motions.  I talked to people who told me a confusing array of opinions trying to explain or excuse or negate God within that situation.

But, for me the thing was that God was in the situation and no explanation gave me peace.  I couldn't excuse the loss and so I asked God--why, why, why?  I turned to Sacred Scripture as was my way.  And once I found something that spoke to my heart.  And the interesting thing is, although I read the Bible a lot, I have never found what I thought I found that time again.  It was old testament is all I remember.

This is what I read about--God is not a merchant.  Prayer is not a marketplace.  We don't make deals with God.  It wouldn't be fair.  God is so high above us, so far beyond our understanding that there could never be a fair deal with God.  He doesn't make deals.

There was not some prayer I didn't pray or some thing I did wrong that led to losing that baby.  God doesn't make deals. God is God.  He made the universe.  He is over all.  And the most surprising thing is, despite all of that, He loves us and wants what is best for us.  But He doesn't deal.  To me, that explains Fear of the Lord.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hope Echoes--Piety

Using Mitch Finley's book The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, I am attempting to give a little view into the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.  This week I am up to Piety.

Piety means dutiful.  That sounds counter-cultural doesn't it?  Piety is essential to mature Christian life. Piety helps to build community.  Through piety we can see ourselves as adopted sons and daughters of God and recognize that we are not alone in that distinction.  Authentic community happens gradually when people spend time together in prayerful communion with God.

I think of the 6:30 Mass crowd.  When I first began going to daily Mass in the summer several years ago it seemed like a very singular thing to do.  I did not see myself as part of a community.  If you are Catholic and you go to daily Mass in a big church like mine is, you probably will recognize the description of the scattered out attendees like particles dispersed in a liquid.  Nobody sits together at an early morning Mass.  And yet after several years, I know most of those people and smile at them, talk to many of them.  I have received cards when my uncle died from a couple I only know through 6:30 Mass.  The crowd at 6:30 Mass practices piety.

Piety helps us to carry out our lives in the world respecting God's creation.  Through piety we neither romantize and make natural things above people, nor do we down play our role as caretakers of the earth.

Piety encourages devotion and intimacy with God.  As we mature as Christians our love of God grows.  I think that is why there are so many older people at the daily Masses and devotions.  It isn't because they are older and suddenly afraid of death, it is that they have grown more mature and closer to God and find they need Him more in their lives.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hope Echoes--Knowledge

Using Mitch Finley's book The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit I am attempting to give a summary of the gifts.

Knowledge is the gift that helps us to know that our intellect can only go so far in understanding and believing in God.  Knowledge gives us insight and inside information about God that we can not prove to the satisfaction of scientists.  Through knowledge we have a perspective that can see things through the eyes of faith.

Through our gift of knowledge we can find God all around us, reaching out to us.  I think of knowledge in those coincidences that seem to happen as God speaking to me.  A person with knowledge is on the look out for God revealing Himself in their life.

As a charismatic Catholic, the gift of knowledge is perhaps the charism that I think is understood by me in a different way than in some people who are believers but are not as open to the Holy Spirit perhaps.  I have a knowledge that God is with me.  I can nearly always picture Jesus in the room with me, loving me, helping me, encouraging me.  I don't really feel qualified to speak about somebody else's experiences in depth because we all walk our own pathway, but among the gals I study  and pray with I find that this knowledge of Jesus presence in our lives is one that I share with my Catholic sisters in a way that is different.  God strengthens me in the knowing He is there.

I feel that I haven't explained this well.  Apologies to Mr. Finley but I didn't find his explanation to do knowledge justice.  What do you think the gift of knowledge is?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hope Echoes--Gift of Fortitude

This is a part of a continuing series where I briefly examine the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.  This week's focus is fortitude.

Fortitude is the courage to live out our lives employing the values of the Gospel.  There are so many pressures in the world not to live in love, not to have hope, to give in to self-centeredness, and self-righteousness.  Although perhaps fortitude might give one the impression that the courage would help us to fight, more likely fortitude gives us the courage to be meek and mild in the face of adversity.

Fortitude is a gift that we can use every day of our lives.  It helps us to overcome our fears and to trust God.  In our jobs, in our lives among people who do not know Jesus, fortitude gives us the courage to do what is right even when everyone does not.

The courage to live our lives out and to remain faithful is the simple and yet complex call that we all receive at Baptism.  Perhaps the greatest call to fortitude would be not to be self-righteous or judgemental of others who do not appear to be living Gospel values. 

It is the gift of fortitude that keeps you going through the adversities and challenges of life.  There are just so many examples of how we live lives of simple courage.  One that occurs to me is valuing healthy marriages and children.  It seems to me the world does a poor job of supporting marriages and encouraging the loving creation and nurturing of children.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hope Echoes--The Gift of Counsel

This is part of a series using The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Mitch Finley.

The gift of counsel is the third gift of the Holy Spirit. Counsel is the gift that helps us to be open to the leadings of the Holy Spirit.  Employing the gift of counsel requires us to reflect, discern, consult and advise when teaching or taking actions with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Counsel helps us to discern how to live out our lives in relationship to the Gospel.

Counsel helps us to apply things that we already know through wisdom and understanding to our lives.  Through the gift of counsel we allow God to lead us into the correct choices for our lives.  Tuning into the Holy Spirit for the choices of our lives is an example of the gift of counsel in action.  Through the gift of counsel we can live our lives fearlessly, trusting in the mercy and love of God.

Having the gift of counsel does not mean that you can hang out your shingle and offer advice.  It is much more likely that someone with the gift of counsel will deliberately and carefully make decisions watching for God's leading. Seeing all things in the light of God's perfect love is using the gift of counsel.

In my own life I reflect that when I am stressed or emotional I find it difficult to use the gift of counsel.  I have to make myself step back and see what the loving choice would be. On the blog when I was whining about a difficult situation in my life, Amanda offered the gift of counsel by gently speaking about those sorts of situations as sandpaper.  The sandpaper analogy spoke to me and helped me to see the situation in a new light.  The ability to hear and use this kind of good advice is also employing the gift of counsel.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hope Echoes--Understanding

This is a continuing series on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Today I will consider the gift of understanding. I am using Mitch Finley's book The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit as a basis for some of my ideas.

Understanding is often listed as the second gift of the Holy Spirit.  The first gift wisdom enables us to see the presence of God.  Understanding is a gift for comprehending the things of life in relation to God and for going deeper into the truths held by the faith.  Through understanding we see with the heart  while listening to the intellect.  Understanding is a gift that is more easily understood experientially.

Understanding helps us embrace the positive uses for technology while rejecting its misuse. The gift of understanding helps one to see the good use of something in the world while holding up a standard of love and Gospel values while evaluating that thing.  For example, medical technology has brought about many wonders, but when the same technology is used to end lives through abortion or euthanasia it must be rejected.

When we recognize God' presence in unlikely people or places then we are using the gift of understanding.  While it is easy to see God in the birth of a baby, understanding helps us to see God when calamity happens as well.  Understanding helps us to recognize that God's ways are not our ways, that God is both distant creator and Master, and the author of pure love.  Through understanding we can recognize that God is both a complete mystery and absolute love.  Some people demonstrate a lack in the gift of understanding when they hold attitudes such as, "A loving God wouldn't allow children to die."  That bad things happen in this world is a mystery of God's creation.  Through understanding we can see that good can come out of events that would only be viewed as bad.

Through understanding we can accept the human and divine nature of Jesus.  Although a mystery, through understanding we can accept that Jesus was a real human being and also divinely conceived by the Holy Spirit.  All the the Gospels bring this out, that Christ was both man and God, not chiefly one or the other.

In our lives in faith, understanding helps us to continue in our churches despite the many flaws within them.  Through understanding we see beyond the mistakes and sins and rather look at the mission, the intent of the church.  Instead of seeing all the sinners there, we can use understanding to see that the church is a training ground for saints, some just haven't arrived yet.  And understanding helps us to live the Gospel of tension created by the challenges given to us in recognizing our obligations to the poor of the world.  Understanding helps us to recognize that our lives every day are living witnesses to the teachings of Christ.

In my own life, understanding helps me to see the bigger picture when I look at such things as the priest abuse scandal or people in my community who make poor choices.  Understanding helps me to focus on the good and holy and pleasing  parts rather than the mistakes.  One example I can think of is, if I only focused on a baby's stinky diapers, then surely I could not enjoy and love the baby.  In life there is good and bad.  It is necessary to change the stinky diaper and deal with the problems, but it is healthy to then focus on worthwhile and pleasing parts.  Through understanding I can see with the heart. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hope Echoes--Charisms Introduction

It is official, this is a feature because I have made a logo.  Hope Echoes on Wednesday are thoughts related to faith.  By an amateur Christian who seeks to grow closer to God.

There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit.  They can also be called charisms.  At Baptism we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  They are given to all of us who are Christian.  I am going to begin by talking about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that are generally recognized and accepted.  These gifts are generally labelled--wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

These gifts are both scripturally based and found in Christian tradition.  The seven gifts are a good jumping off point if you will for understanding, accepting and employing the Holy Spirit in your life.

My intent is to report information found in these sources--The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Mitch Finley, Holy Spirit Make Your Home In Me by George Montague, and probably a few other source which I will list as I use them.  I have way too many books on this subject. (It is the librarian in me.)  So, next Wednesday I will talk a little about wisdom.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hope Echoes--Charismatic Prayer, Part VII, the Conclusion

I told part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6 in the previous weeks.  This is the retelling of a talk I gave in April.  And this is the final installment.

My own experience and that of many other people I know is that charismatic prayer is practiced most fruitfully within a prayerful charismatic community.  This is the reason that charismatics form prayer groups that often continue for years and years.  Meeting to pray with others who are living in the Spirit and striving to know God better throughout our lives builds faith, sustains us through trials, leads us to a richer and fuller faith life.  As someone in our prayer group said a while back, she once had a dry faith, but now has a wet faith.

I personally expect to continue in a prayer group for the rest of my life.  My prayer group helps me to grow in wisdom, grace, and understanding of the Lord.  I never expect to be finished with that.  At our prayer group we typically begin with praise and thanksgiving.  Our praise and worship leads into singing.  Then we usually have a teaching or sharing Scripture or a witness. At our prayer group everyone is welcome to share, some larger groups have a teacher or leader who does most of the talking.  Our group generally chooses to read the readings for the upcoming Sunday liturgy of the Word.  We share insights on those.  Then we pray intercessory prayer for needs. Then we close with a little song.  We welcome anyone who is Christian and feels a call to join us, but our group is Catholic.  The size of our group ranges from maybe a low of 5 to up to a dozen or so people. 

Usually at a prayer group meeting we find that the Holy Spirit is leading us and directing us in particular messages or leadings.  Throughout the prayer group, especially during the beginning part of praise and worship and the closing intercessory prayer you might hear glossolalia. Not everyone in the group prays in tongues.  Charismatic prayer has more to do with being open to the Holy Spirit than in one particualr prayer style. Sometimes someone is inspired to prophesy, which I will cover on some other Wednesday.

If you are interested or feel a calling by the Holy Spirit to open that gift you received at Baptism and see what charisms are for you, then I suggest that you attend a Life in the Spirit Seminar. If you can find a prayer group, then they can probably direct you to the next Seminar.  I would encourage anyone, everyone, to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit in your heart and ask for the grace to know God in a more intimate and personal way through the leadings of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hope Echoes--Charismatic Prayer, Part VI

Read Part 1, part 2 part 3, part 4, and part 5.

This is the retelling of a talk I gave in April. I have previously given a Scriptural background to charismatic prayer, given my own witness, and described two elements of charismatic prayer that differ in some ways from traditional Catholic prayer. 

Often those observing the charismatic community who have not experienced the release or stirring up of the Holy Spirit, would imagine that the total of charismatic prayer would have only to do with the particular prayer form that is called glossolalia, a synonym for the gift of tongues.  In Romans 5:26-27 Paul says, "the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groaning.  And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will."

There are two variations of glossolalia.  Praying in tongues is best described as a series of unintelligible utterances.  These utterances are defined by charismatics as the human soul crying out in joy as it encounters God.  These utterances are jubilation.  Prayer in tongues is unintelligible to all but God.  I call it my prayer language.  The second variation is called speaking in tongues.  It can be defined as prophecy, whereby, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the person speaks in a foreign language or tongue which is unknown by the speaker, but can be understood or interpreted by another member of the congregation or prayer community.

Both forms of tongues are referred to in Scripture and were practiced by the early church.  Throughout the New Testament there are references to tongues and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Of all the charisms, the gift of tongues is the only one that is for the edification and personal growth of the individual.  St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:5 "Now I should like all of you to speak in tongues."  Throughout 1 Corinthians Paul urges believers to strive for the spiritual gifts to build up the church.  The other charisms are largely for the use of the whole community of believers to build up the kingdom of God.  Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we are drawn closer to Christ and through the charisms we are given, we draw others to salvation in Christ also.

Thus ends part 6. (Only one more part of my April talk.) Next Wednesday I finish this background on charismatic prayer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ordinary Time

It is ordinary time again.  Time for the green.  I look at my yard and it reflects the season, ordinary time.  Today is my first day of summer vacation.  I have plans, but they are mine, not the plans of the work-a-day world.  I will have to go back to work a few days this summer.  I have a few loose ends.  But, I will do it on my own schedule, on ordinary time.

Ordinary time seems short in comparison to the Lent/ Easter/ Advent seasons that we have been through.  Ordinary time calls us to extraordinary graces.  To use those things we learned, to employ those gifts we have received.  We need the practice of ordinary time.

Today I rejoice in the ordinary time I have been given to practice the graces, the charisms, the gifts I have received from the endless bounty of the Lord.  Ordinary time again.  Green.  Time to grow.  Ordinary time.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hope Echoes--Charismatic Prayer, Part V

This has become quite a series.  If you want to review part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 can be viewed by clicking on them.

What is charismatic prayer?  Charismatic prayer differs from traditional Catholic prayer in two ways.  The first way is that charismatic prayer is spontaneous.  By this I mean that charismatic prayer can take many forms.  It can be words, song, Scripture, spiritual reading, or silence.  Charismatic prayer begins with and is centered in praise and thanksgiving to God.  The very rocks and stones themselves would raise up praise to God, but we are so fortunate, so loved, so blessed to be able to praise and worship our God.

The second way that charismatic prayer differs from traditional Catholic prayer is that the prayer is seen as relationship to God.  Charismatic prayer unites the community of pray-ers forming a deep spiritual bond through the uniting face of the Holy Spirit.  Through the Holy Spirit, charismatic prayer causes one to experience Christ as real and present in one's life.  Typically a charismatic prayer community will create a bond through which the Holy Spirit manifests in the gifts or charisms.  The deep outpouring of the Spirit creates love of Scripture, spiritual readings and the desire for an ever closer relationship with God.  Through prayer, the charismatic community forms a deeper unity and bond with God.

This ends part 5.  (Some of the thoughts in this section on charismatic prayer are borrowed from Jane Guenther, of the Catholic Renewal Center for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Give credit where credit is due.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hope Echoes--Charismatic Prayer, Part III

This is a retelling of a presentation I made for some people at my church one Sunday morning in April.  I am retelling this in parts on Wednesdays.  Part I is here.  Part II is here.  So on to part III.

All we who call ourselves Christian and follow Christ have received the gift of the Holy Spirit at our Baptisms.  Have you been to a Baptism lately? I am the Godmother of my five year old niece, Hannah.  When Hannah was Baptized, although still a baby, she received the Holy Spirit, just as you and I did at our Baptisms.  The Holy Spirit is a gift we receive at Baptism along with the removal of original sin.  I have a friend who likens the gift of the Holy Spirit at Baptism to metaphoically receiving a gift in a beautiful box that we put up on a shelf in the closet because most of us are babies when we are Baptised and we aren't yet ready to open that gift.  It isn't until later in our lives that we are ready to take down that gift box, open it up and see the gift of the Holy Spirit that are meant for us.

Whether we were Baptised as babies or perhaps received Baptism at an older age, at some point in our lives we need to open up those gifts of the Holy Spirit that were given to us.  We need to let the Spirit within us awaken.  For me, the awakening, the opening of the box, came at Confirmation.  I cannot speak for the Confirmations of others, but perhaps because of the timing of my Confirmation which was near the conclusion the the Second Vatican Council, my preparation was all about the Holy Spirit.  When I was Confirmed I had an expectant faith that the Holy Spirit would come to effect a change in me.  I expected to be stirred in the Holy Spirit.

A few years later, I found myself in a circumstance whereby I desired a new way to pray.  I had prayed all the prayers in my little Catholic prayer book.  I said all the words on my own that I could think of, but I wasn't satisfied.  I asked God for a new way, a better way to pray and I received a prayer language.  I prayed that way and felt peaceful and calm in in the presence of God.  I knew that it was what is described as "tongues" in the Bible.  I felt a deep sense of joy and love for God when I prayed this way.  I didn't cease prayer in other ways.  Alone in my room at night I would pray in tongues. I kept my prayer language private.

Thus end part three of charismatic prayer.  Tune in next week for the continuation of this series.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Theophany--The Way

Dawn sponsors 101 Wednesdays to encourage sharing thoughts about faith.

Christians, I have been told, were at one time called followers of the Way.  The Way of life of Christians was so different than the rest of society, that Christians were a people set apart.  They were different.  Once upon a time I might have argued that living in a largely Christian society, we Christians are the same as everybody else so there is no difference in The Way. 

Today, either I am older and wiser, or society has changed or a combination of both, but we don't live in a largely Christian culture these days.  If we are living our call as Christians, then our lives should differ from the culture as a whole.  We should be a people set apart.

The things that come to my mind right away are that as Christians we choose love, we choose forgiveness, we choose life, we choose to detach ourselves from the competition and need to acquire things and honor.  Or we should do those things.  We strive to do those things.  We need to support each other in this Way.  We need to encourage each other to do good and avoid evil. 

If we are truly followers of Christ then our lives should point others toward Him.  We should be centered in love through the grace that we received through the Holy Spirit at Baptism.  Our Way should be centered in Christ.  I ponder this Way and examine ways that I can use the grace I have received to follow this Way better.