When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
With Pentecost coming this weekend, the First Reading always reminds me of my time as a Charismatic. It was my mother and father that took me to my first Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting, but I continued on with the group long after my parents made the unlikely transition to Third Order Carmelites. Every year, as I'm sharply reminded of the gymnasium prayer meetings, I struggle to understand exactly what I was involved in.
Apparently, even though the term "slain in the Spirit" post-dated my time in the movement, these experiences happened without the formal definition, along with speaking in tongues, intercessory prayer, laying on of hands, interpretation of tongues, etc. While I certainly believe the Holy Spirit can give His gifts to whomever He chooses, I still question why more people aren't slain at Mass or why the Charismatics seem to be the only ones speaking/praying in tongues?
Over the years, I've asked a few priests about the things I experienced while I was a Charismatic and have yet to receive a good answer. One priest did tell me something along the lines of the addage, "holiness attracts." In this case, things that are holy shouldn't confuse or make one feel uneasy. Considering the confusion and discomfort I have about these events so many years later, does that imply they were brought about by group dynamics, my own zeal, desire to be part of the group or something else? It's not usual advice from a priest to suggest you "trust your gut."
Back then, trusting my gut told me that I was part of a group who "got it." We had special insight. We were alive in the Spirit, especially compared to more traditional Catholics. But, just because it had a Catholic label didn't mean it was a good place to be. Several close friends, members of the "youth group" to which I belonged, became pregnant while in high school. Adult leaders dated youth members. We got together to watch "left behind" style movies that clashed with Church teaching. Few kids held on to their faith.
It was during this time that my father asked me if I wanted to attend one of the Charismatic group functions because of my desire "to be with Jesus" or to be with my friends. I didn't lie; I told him to be with friends. There's no doubt in my mind that my friends were there for the same reason. As my kids get older, I think I will be cautious about them getting involved in similar Catholic social groups. While I want my kids to incorporate religion into all aspects of their lives and to share it with their friends, my experience is that some of these groups tend to be heavy on the social and very light, superficial, or even plain wrong, on Catholic teaching.
I left the Charismatics, just as my parents had done, for the Carmelites. If it is at all possible that Catholicism can be thought of as linear, I moved from one end of the spectrum to the other. Something about being quiet and still made more sense to me. Ironically, I learned I really didn't know much about my faith, God or myself. However, I still haven't figured out if my time as a Charismatic was part of the path or a tangent.
To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.
~Cardinal John Henry Newman
2010 Cannonball Award
Father Solanus Casey
"Even suffering is part of the truth of our life. Thus, trying to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk creating, despite our good intentions, fragile persons of little generosity: The capacity to love, in fact, corresponds to the capacity to suffer, and to suffer together." ~Benedict XVI
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Fides et Ratio Encyclical
Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.
Thank you everyone that voted for the Kneeler at the Cannonball awards!!
Words of Father Corapi, for all my politician friends and relatives and those who vote for them
"Catholic office holders, whether presidents, senators, congress men or women, or judges at any level must adhere to Catholic teaching or run the risk of separating themselves from the Body of Christ. In such egregious and chronic cases of gross moral evil such as instituting and perpetuating abortion and the structures of sin that surround it, it is quite probable that such Catholic officials are excommunicated in virtue of the acts themselves. A latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication is likely triggered when they vote for laws, funding, and structures that enable and perpetuate such obvious and egregious evil (Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canons 1364,1398; Canon 1329, par. #2). They are in turn forbidden from approaching the sacraments as the result (Cf. Catechism of Catholic Church #1463)."
"It is not morally possible for any Catholic to support abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, or same-sex marriage. There are no ways around this, no justifications whatever. Why? For the simple reason that the Church holds these things to be intrinsically evil. They are evil in themselves, and no circumstances or subjective conditions can ever change that."