07 November 2007

Charismatic Musings

My brother Art mentioned in an email that there are so many wackos out there throwing the term "Charismatic" around. Regardless, "I'll take the advice of someone who believes in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit over someone who relegates Him to centuries past any day!" Thank you bro for the springboard of today's rant...

Many so-called "Charismatics" blame the Holy Spirit for their heresies and shenanigans. Churches leave their denominations to be independent and new movements start when self-proclaimed "prophets" lead their followers into schism.

Now for the irony... when the Charismatic Renewal started in the Catholic Church it brought people closer into communion. We see a deeper devotion to the Eucharist (ordinary bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit) and the Virgin Mary (the "spouse" of the Holy Spirit). A new understanding of the Saints (those sanctified by the Holy Spirit) developed. And a greater love of Scripture (inspired by the Holy Spirit) and Holy Tradition (also inspired by the Holy Spirit).

In her wisdom the Church embraced and encouraged this movement of the Spirit. Thirty years later, the Catholic Church has more Pentecostal/Charismatics than any other church! It makes sense considering her birth on the day of Pentecost and our Lord's promise to preserve the Church by the Holy Spirit.

What does a Church with two millenia of tradition have to offer the Spirit-filled Christian?

* STABILITY.--One is not tossed to and fro by every wind of doctine since the Magisterium helps discern the wheat from the chaff.

* ACCOUNTABLITY--If anyone starts getting whacky, there's someone in authority who can straighten things out.

* HISTORY--Two-thousand years of spiritual writings by Saints who surrendered all to Jesus

* SACRAMENTS--Through Baptism and Confirmation we are joined to Christ through the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Eucharist transforms us and Reconciliation restores us.

I am thankful for my Pentecostal upbringing which taught me to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit. I am also thankful for the 12 years I spent as an Orthodox Christian learning the importance of Sacraments and Saints. And I praise God every day that the Holy Spirit brought me to the Holy Catholic Church where I can pray in Spirit AND in truth.

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