What is the Charismatic Renewal?
It is a personal and communal experience of the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.
It’s a Community at work through the Charisms – Gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12: 4-11) to build up the body of Christ. We gather together to become sanctified and to minister life.
Why do we need this?
The four gospels, Acts, and the letters of Paul all take for granted that Charisms are among the ordinary manifestations of Christian LIFE. We need them to spread the gospel and grow in holiness.
How did it start?
At Pentecost the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit. Their fear was removed and they received supernatural gifts to boldly spread the gospel (Acts 2).
Throughout history the Charisms were at work (Monastic communities, etc.).
At Vatican II, the Pope and Bishops laid the foundation for the most recent renewal. Pope John XXIII prayed “Renew your wonders in our time as though for a new Pentecost, and grant that the Holy Church preserving unanimous and continuous prayer together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, and also under the guidance of St. Peter, may increase the reign of the Divine Savior, the Reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen.”
The renewal began spontaneously in most denominations throughout the world in the 1950’s. It can’t be traced to a founder or organization. The movement was the Holy Spirit.
In 1967, the renewal entered Catholic territory when a group of college students at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. Some Pentecostal friends had shared their charismatic experience with them. Through scripture and the laying on of hands in prayer, the Catholic students were baptized by the Holy Spirit, experiencing an abundance of joy and praise. They remained in prayer under the power of the Holy Spirit for many hours. One of the girl’s friends said, “you’re acting as if you are drunk” – the same accusation laid on the disciples at Pentecost.
The charismatic experience of the Duquesne University students in 1967 spread to campuses across the United States, and then like a blowing wind swept into parishes, religious orders, and other Catholic institutions. Loose organizations and networks were formed. Catholic charismatic conferences began to be held, drawing massive crowds. One conference held at Notre Dame campus in South Bend Indiana drew over 30,000 people. An ecumenical conference in Kansas City drew almost 100,000. It soon caught the attention of the church.
Leon Joseph Suenens, the Cardinal of Malines-Brussels and one of the four moderators of the Second Vatican Council, was one of the first champions of the Charismatic renewal in the Catholic Church. After visiting some of the principal centers he understood "that pentecostal grace was at work, and that it was not a question of a movement - there was no founder, no rule, no precise structure - but the breath of the Spirit, which was vital for many aspects of life and indeed for all movements".
After presenting his findings to Pope Paul VI, he recommended that the Pope invite the Catholic leaders of this Renewal on a pilgrimage to Rome with a view of witnessing to their faith and their faithfulness to the Church. In the summer of 1975, some 10,000 Catholic charismatics gathered in St. Peter's Basilica. Also present were prominent Protestants who were invited to take part as well, thus giving the movement a moving ecumenical dimension. In his homily, Pope Paul VI called the Charismatic Renewal "the good fortune for the Church and the World" and thereby gave his formal seal of approval to the movement.
Cardinal Suenens was asked to oversee the integration of the Catholic Renewal into the heart of the Church. He accepted the mission. From 1974-1986, he also drafted a series of six articles, the "Malines Documents," which detailed the personalities and ideas he wanted fostered in the Charismatic movement, among them being ecumenism, social action, and the phenomenon of "slaying in the spirit." Encouraged by the leadership of Pope Paul VI and later by John Paul II, many Catholic bishops of throughout the world wrote pastoral statements supporting and encouraging the Renewal.
It has been estimated that over 100 million Catholics have been active in the movement since 1967. The renewal is presently taking place in over 226 countries. Pope John Paul II and his successor, Pope Benedict, have continuously recognized the importance of the Charismatic Renewal. In 1979, Pope John Paul II spoke to the council of international Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service meeting in Rome: “I am convinced that this movement is a sign of the Spirit’s action, a very important component in the total renewal of the Church.”
What is a Charismatic Prayer Group or Gathering?
A Charismatic Prayer Meeting is a weekly gathering of Christians to give praise, thanks, honor, and love to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It’s where we gather in community, to praise God as the Holy Spirit moves us.
It’s purpose is to praise, worship and honor God, and to build up the Body of Christ.
What can be expected at a Catholic Charismatic Gathering?
A gathering song; opening prayer; time of praise and worship; singing; experiencing the Charisms and ministering the Gifts of the Spirit to the people gathered (see 1 Cor. 12): scripture reading; teaching; testimony; sharing. (see 1 Cor. 14: 26-33). It can be seen as a step ladder of praise that begins with a spiritual Joy, progresses to Thanksgiving, then enters into praise, and finally emerges into the realm of worship – adoration of God.
Do I have to raise my hands or pray like others do?
Only if you feel inclined to do so. If you don’t, then do not worry, simply pray as you feel comfortable – as if you were alone with Jesus. Respect the way others feel led to pray as well.
What are the Spiritual Gifts we pray for?
See 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14, and 14:1; Romans 12: 3-8, and Acts 2:4 to aid in your understanding.
Here is an explanation of Charisms by Ron Ryan from the Prayer Group Leadership Development Program: The Charisms are “special graces” - movements of the Spirit not limited to the sacraments and ministrations of the Church; rather, they are special ways in which God works through the individual.
Charisms are given to all members of the Body - 1 Cor. 12:7, not limited to positions, offices or degrees of sanctity. They make the individual “fit and ready” for service, enabling them to effectively participate in the Church’s mission in which every member shares the responsibility. The mission is as follows:
- Evangelization - announcing of the Good News that through the Father’s love, Jesus life, death and resurrection make it possible for all to be reconciled to God and receive the fullness of salvation. (John 3:16)
- Sanctification – living lives which witness to the wholeness and holiness which comes through the power of the Spirit to the children of God
- Renewal of the temporal Order – cooperating with the Spirit’s work of renewing the face of the earth, restoring all things – social, moral, economic, natural – to right order and proper relationship as created by God.
Charisms are given for the purpose of “the renewal and upbuilding of the Church, making the Church capable of accomplishing its mission. It is only by each member using his/her charisms to their full potential that the Church reaches its full potential as the Body of Christ – Eph. 4:15-16.
The Spiritual Gifts described by Saint Paul in his letters to the Corinthians:
- Gifts of Grace (connected with the Holy Spirit)
- Gifts of Service (attributes to the Lord, Son of God)
- Gifts of Works (connected with the Father)
Prophecy, Tongues, Interpretation
Wisdom, Knowledge, Discernment
Faith, Miracles, Healing
Saint Paul connects the various gifts to the Father, Son and the Spirit to imply that the charisms are united just as the Father, Son, and the Spirit are united in the Trinity. Just as the Persons of the Trinity are united as one, so too the gifts, which bring the Church into the unity called for by Christ.
Feel free to ask our leaders for more information and/or help in your studies of the spiritual gifts.
Is the “Baptism in the Spirit” a New Sacrament?
No, it is not new – it is an extension of the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is the release of the Power of the Holy Spirit within for those who have been confirmed. This experience enables us to live the Christian life we want to live but prior to this Baptism we had only been partially successful in doing. As the Holy Spirit works in us, we will begin to experience an new ability to appreciate Jesus, the Bible, our daily prayer life, and our faith.
Do I have to speak at a prayer meeting?
No, you don’t have to speak. If you feel called to speak then by all means lift your voice. We are all here to experience the life and love of Jesus, and as we are listening and praising and continuing to learn, the Holy Spirit will work in us to inspire us to give back some of the love we have received through the Gifts of the Spirit. The people that do speak are learning to let the Spirit lead them in how, when, and what to say in the meeting.
How can I grow spiritually?
Repent, be open to conversion, go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Submit yourself to our Lord Jesus in daily prayer asking Him to be Lord of your life. Then talk to God as your loving Father asking Him to guide and teach you. Take time to listen for God to respond to your prayers.
Make a commitment to know God’s Word to help build your relationship with Him. Take time every day to read the Word of God in the Bible, learning about our Father in Heaven, Jesus – the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit, their love and will for us, and how they expect us to act.
Act on the understanding and inspiration you receive from prayer and reading the Bible--always within the guidelines of The Church and Sacred Scripture. (see Matthew 7: 24-27 and James 1: 22-25).
Remain faithful to your church. For Catholics, attend Mass as often as possible and be faithful to Church teachings.
Come, join us weekly at prayer and praise. Faithful to the teachings, we also have a tradition of free-flowing praise, songs, and use of charismatic gifts not usually available in the local parish, Eucharist, and meetings.
Where can I read something on the Holy Spirit in the Bible?
Starting with Genesis, where the Spirit of God moves over creation, all the way to Revelations, the Bible is riddled with verses about the Holy Spirit. Here are some notable ones to aid in your studies: John 14:16 and 26; John 16: 13 and 17; Acts 1: 4 and 8; Acts 2: 4, 17, and 38; Acts 4: 31; Acts 5: 32; Acts 8: 17; Acts 10: 44-48; Acts 19: 5-6; Romans 5: 3-5, 8: 1-17 and 26-27, 12: 3-8; 1 Cor. 2: 6-16; 1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 12, 13, and 14; Galatians 5: 16-26; Hebrews 2: 1-4; and in time, you will find even more.
Is Satan Real?
Yes. The Bible, Jesus, and our Church have always taught that Satan is real, but Jesus has defeated Satan for the Children of God, and the life of Jesus will keep us safe as we learn to obey the Holy Spirit. (See Job 1: 6-13, 2: 1-8; Zechariah 3: 1-3; Matthew 4: 9-11; Mark 1: 12-14; Luke 11: 14-20; Romans 16: 19-21; 1 Corinthians 7: 4-6; 2 Corinthians 2: 10-12, 11: 13-15, 12: 6-8 for scriptural proof of Satan's existence.)
What is the importance of prayer?
Prayer is prevalent throughout the Bible. The Psalms especially were seen as sung prayers. Some other notable verses are: Matthew 7:7, 21-22; Mark 11: 22-26; Luke 18:1; Luke 11: 1-13; and John 15: 7, 16; Ephesians 6: 18-19; Colossians 2:1; 1 Thes 5: 17-18; James 5:16; Rev 8: 3-4; and numerous others. It is through prayer that we speak with God and share our thoughts and concerns with our loving Creator.
compiled by Amber, edited by the Des Moines Life in the Spirit Community Leaders.