What Happened to Those Pentecostal Catholics? We Need a new Pentecost!
The Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit to live differently in the midst of a world awaiting the fullness of redemption
The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church and the source of her power for mission.We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the work of the New Evangelization of the Church. We need to be Baptized afresh in the Spirit in order to take our role as a member of the Body of Christ in this new missionary age.
The Holy Spirit came upon them...and upon us
CHESAPEAKE,VA (Catholic Online) - On that first Pentecost the early followers of Jesus gathered as their Lord commanded them, expecting the fulfillment of the promise he had made. We refer to Pentecost as the "birthday" of the missionary church. Their encounter with the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room changed them. They were filled with the same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead. The Holy Spirit capacitated them to carry forward in time the ongoing mission of Jesus Christ until he returns to complete the work of redemption.
Every year, this celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost is an invitation to us to have the same encounter. It is the Holy Spirit which makes it possible for us to live lives of sacrificial love, holiness and service in a world that God still loves - a world into which He still sends His Son, through the Body of Christ, the Church - of which we are all members.
We are commissioned to carry forward the very same mission of those first disciples who gathered with Mary the Mother of the Lord. Jesus promised his followers, "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12)
In these in words recorded in that same chapter of John's Gospel he promised as well, "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you."
Among the readings read at the Mass on Pentecost day is the account of that first Christian Pentecost: "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." (Acts 2)
There is little doubt from their actions following that event, they were different. They went forward and turned the entire world upside down with their preaching and the witness of their changed lives. However, in many respects, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, seems mysterious to many Christians in our own day. When I consider this reality I am reminded of one of the many missionary stories recounted in the Acts of the Apostles.
Chapter 19 of Acts begins with these words, "While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the country and came (down) to Ephesus where he found some disciples. He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" They answered him, "We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." (Acts 19: 1, 2)
Too often we live our lives like those disciples in Ephesus. We act as though we did not realize there even is a Holy Spirit, still at work, still pouring out gifts and still making it possible for us to bear spiritual fruit. The same Holy Spirit still changing each one of us, individually and collectively, into the Image of Jesus Christ. The same Holy Spirit calling us to make disciples of all the Nations.
An examination of the teaching of Jesus and the New Testament reveals the essential role of the Holy Spirit in the life and mission of the Church - and in the life and mission of every individual believer. A study of the Tradition, the magisterial teachings of the Church and the Catholic Catechism underscores that this reality is meant to continue.It was not a one time event.
The purpose of Pentecost was - and still is - the empowering of the Church with the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead! The Holy Spirit draws us into communion with the Lord and participation in His Divine Life and mission. That communion is lived in the Church. The Catholic Catechism, quoting St Augustine, affirms "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church." (CCC # 797)
I am one of countless thousands whose life was profoundly changed by an experience, an encounter, with the Holy Spirit decades ago. I am old enough to remember when we who had this encounter were called "Pentecostal Catholics". That was before the more refined term "charismatic" took prominence.
Frankly, I do not really care for any adjectival description before the noun "Catholic". I am a Christian, standing by choice in ...
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