What Does It Mean To Be Charismatic?

This past weekend the S.C. Catholic Charismatic Conference was held in my parish. Near the end of the conference there was a woman dancing in the back during the praise and worship service. I’m sure someone passing by who wasn’t charismatic might have thought there goes those crazymatics again but they couldn’t be further from the truth. The woman had just given a testimony to how the Lord had set her free from anger, hatred and bitterness. She danced because she was full of joy over what the Lord had done for her.
Shouldn’t all of us be more like her? Jesus came so we might have life and have it abundantly. He wants us to be full of joy, full of the spirit. We are a privileged people because of our faith, because of the awesome gifts that God has given us. God has given us His Holy Spirit. How can we not be joyful?
We aren’t crazy or fanatics, just filled with the Holy Spirit. We are trying to live the life God created us to live; to become the people He wants us to be, to serve Him as well as we can and love, worship and praise Him with all of our heart, mind and soul. We are what the Church is called to be, what the early Church was. Read the book of Acts. All of the early Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit or charismatic. It was operating under the power of the Holy Spirit not his own that Peter performed miracles and converted thousands. It was the power of the Holy Spirit that enabled him to overcome the fear that led him to run away in the Garden and deny Jesus that same night. That same Spirit has been poured out on all Catholics who’ve been baptized and confirmed.
We seek to imitate the early Christians and respond to the graces God wants to pour out on us, to allow God to draw us into an intimate relationship with Him, to experience a love and peace that is indescribable. We seek to serve the God who loves us and to use the gifts He poured out on us in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation so that others may know this infinite love. We want to bring people closer to Christ and His Church.
We seek like the Apostles to operate under the power of the Holy Spirit, not our own. It is not about us but about the God who created us to serve Him. It is about the God who sends His Spirit upon us to empower and guide us. It is about the God who longs to bless His people through us.
We live in a world of hurting people. So many people are in pain and Jesus wants to reach out to these people. If our heart aches at the pain people are going through how much more will Jesus’? We are His hands. We are His feet.
We are a people who believe that with God all things are possible. We believe that God’s plan for us is good not woe, that all things work for the good of those who love Him. We believe in a God of infinite love and mercy who yearns ardently to bless people, who passionately desires His people to turn to Him. We believe in Jesus’ promise that we would be clothed with power from on high. We believe that if we are willing to surrender to the Holy Spirit, He will use us in ways beyond our imagination that He will bless people through us, and that healings and wonders will occur. We believe that with the Holy Spirit God always has more to give us, more grace, more love even miracles.
We are a people called by God to be something greater than we’ve ever known. God wants so much more from His Church and people than simply going through the motions and attending mass on Sunday. His desire is to draw all men to Himself in an intimate relationship. He longs for us to know Him and experience His infinite love and mercy. He wants us to worship him with all of our being and to hold nothing back. He wants us to serve Him and glorify Him. He wants all people to be open to His Spirit so that He may bless and direct us. This is the life all Christians not just Charismatics are called to. God has so many blessings He wants to give His people. What are we afraid of? Why do we stay home?

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Make America Great Again!

All over town I see posters for a candidate whose slogan is “Make America Great Again”. Great slogan but how do we do this? What made us great in the first place?
The reality is that America was great, the greatest, most powerful nation on Earth because God has blessed us. No other reason! No political act or election. We became great despite our politicians and some very incompetent presidents.
How do we become great again? We need God’s blessing! We need to become a nation that God can bless. Do we really think that He will bless us if we continually promote abortion, attack his Church or spit in His face by destroying the family?
We need to elect at every level candidates of strong moral character. Will any of the presidential candidates at least turn us in the right direction? Is there any candidate of strong moral character?
Take a good look at those running and their campaigns. Do the negative attacks, smears and outright lies make you feel good about their character? What about the profanity used, their marital record or their treatment of women? Will God bless us if we elect a president who wins by appealing to our lowest nature and prejudices or dares to correct the Pope? Should we support such candidates? Should we elect candidate who consider children disposable, who support abortion up to birth or want to abandon the traditional family? Will God bless us if we elect a candidate who refuses to put the country ahead of his party, who refuses to compromise with others?
Think about who you will vote for?

Is The Pro-life Movement The Reason We Still Exist?

This weekend I finished reading Max Lucado’s Glory Days, a study of the book of Joshua. The epilogue made a really interesting point. God had ordered the complete destruction of the Canaanite people who seems pretty harsh. Lucado pointed out that the Canaanites were steeped in sin and refused to give them up. God gave them 600 years to change their ways and they refused.
What really struck me was the worst sin they were guilty of was the sacrificing of their children to idols. Is abortion really that different? Doesn’t modern America have their own idols of success and certain lifestyles. Are we as a nation really that different from the Canaanites?
I keep thinking of the story from Genesis where God is talking to Abraham about the destruction of Sodom. Abraham gets God to promise not to destroy the city if there are 10 righteous people living there. What if the pro-life movement is the modern-day equivalent of the 10 righteous people?
Wouldn’t it be ironic if we are the reason this country still exists, if we are all that is standing between America and destruction? Ironic because unfortunately too many people want us to give up and shut up. Can America really afford that?

Falling For Satan’s Lies!

Most people know vaguely that Satan is a liar but how often do we fall for Satan’s lies. The biggest lie is the idea that there is no such thing as sin, that it doesn’t matter what we do as long as no one gets hurt. Much immorality has become accepted by society due to this lie.
Maybe you haven’t fallen for this lie. However, there are more subtle lies that far too many Christians fall for. We have to understand that not only does Satan want to steal us from God but if he can’t he wants to steal our joy here on earth and make us miserable.
One of the biggest lies Christians fall for is the idea that God only cares about our salvation, everything else is up to us. The reality is that God cares about every aspect of our lives. Christ came so we might have life and have it abundantly. By His stripes we are healed. This doesn’t sound like a God who wants us to suffer. He wants what is best for us. Our problem is that our concept of what is best for us has been shaped by Satan’s lies. God truly knows what we need, what will make us happy but we listen instead to Satan’s lies.
Another deception plaguing us is the lie that God no longer performs miracles. We really don’t believe in miracles. The early church believed and witnessed many. We don’t believe and as a consequence we fail to expect a miracle or recognize them. We act like the people of Nazareth.
Thirty per cent of Catholics believe that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist. I suspect many of these really don’t believe this. The Eucharist is Jesus present in all of His divinity, love and power. It is not just a memorial, a wafer or a symbol but it is love itself, the living Christ who wants to pour His love and blessings on us.
We lose out on so much by falling for Satan’s lies. We shut ourselves off from the graces, blessings and miracles God wants to give us. How many miracles have we missed out on? How much have we missed because we fell for a lie?