The Same Power

There is a song , popular on Christian radio, Same Power by Jeremy Camp, that I first heard as I left the SC Charismatic Conference in October, 2015. It was the very first song I heard after I got into my car and it struck me as confirmation of the conference and the Charismatic Renewal.
The chorus reads like this; “The same power that rose Jesus from the grave, the same power that commands the dead to wake lives in us, lives in us. The same power that moves mountains when He speaks, the same powers that can calm a raging sea, lives in us, lives in us. He lives in us, lives in us”.
How true. We have the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit given to the disciples at Pentecost. We been given awesome gifts and we live in a world desperately in need of those gifts. So many around us are wounded in one way or another, whether spiritually, emotionally or physically. It is impossible for our priests and deacons to meet the needs of all those who need someone to pray with them.
We have been given these gifts for a reason. Take a good look at the world around us. Outside of our technological advances are we really any different from Pagan Rome? The Roman Empire was converted because the first Christians weren’t afraid to use the charismatic gifts God had given them. Why are we afraid to use these gifts? Why do we keep them secret as if we are ashamed of them? Why do we worry about what people will think?
Aren’t we called to step out in faith? Didn’t St Francis challenge us to be fools for Christ? Didn’t Jesus promise that we would do greater things than He? Is it a coincidence that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal began as our country was turning pagan?
We’ve been given the power to change the world, to turn this country back to God and to bring people back to the Church. We need to use this power. It is the only way we can change our country and the world for the better. Politics is not the answer, God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are.
Pray with people; use the charismatic gifts God has given you. Reach out to those around you. Don’t be afraid or ashamed. The Holy Spirit is calling us to action. He will provide us all we need.

You Can Start Over With God!

Have you ever watched an adult being baptized and wished that could be you? Think about that. Their souls are completely clean. All of their sins were washed away by the waters of Baptism. They get to start completely over with God, a fresh start, their past completely erased. Wouldn’t you want your past sins completely erased and forgotten, no punishment, just start over, all the years away from the Church, all your sins wiped out and a totally clean slate?
The good news is that it is possible. It is what Jesus wants for you. He wants to wipe out all your sins and punishment. In the 1930’s He appeared to St. Faustina and requested the establishment of the Feast of Divine Mercy to be held the first Sunday after Easter, this year on April 12, 2015 Instead of reading my words let’s look at the words of Jesus to Faustina.

“My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy.”
“Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful Soul…be willing to talk openly with your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish His graces on you. How dear your soul is to Me! I have inscribed your name upon my hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.”

”My Child, Do you fear the God of Mercy? My holiness does not prevent Me from being merciful….You can come to me at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and grant you grace. My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart.”

No soul will be justified until it turns with confidence to My mercy, and this is why the first Sunday after Easter is to be the Feast of Mercy. On that day, priests are to tell everyone about My great and unfathomable mercy. ”

Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy, and I demand the worship of My mercy through the solemn celebration of the Feast and through the veneration of the image which is painted. By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works.

I desire that My mercy be worshiped, and I am giving mankind the last hope of salvation; that is, recourse to My mercy. My Heart rejoices in this feast.

I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy

Say, My daughter, that the Feast of My Mercy has issued forth from My very depths for the consolation of the whole world.

To sum up the feast, in order to receive the graces being poured out on that day one should: sincerely repent of all our sins; place our complete trust in Jesus; go to confession, preferably before that Sunday; receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast; venerate the Image of The Divine Mercy; and be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf.
Don’t worry about confession. Priests are used to hearing the confessions of fallen away Catholics before the feast. For most it is a delight and privilege to help people come back to the Church. It is why many became priests. Hearing your confession after many years is a joy to them. Don’t let fear keep you away.

Are Our Hearts On Fire?

One question we need to ask ourselves is are our hearts on fire or are we only lukewarm. Jesus warned us in Revelation not to be lukewarm, that He would spit us out. So is your heart on fire?
Does your heart ache for all those who are lost? Do you look at all the empty seats in church and ache for those who are missing out? Do you burn with the desire to bring people closer to God? Do you long to reach out to people and bring them to Jesus? Do you even notice those who are lost?
Do you feel the pain of those who are hurting, those suffering physically from illness or emotionally? Do you look at hurting people and see those Jesus longs to touch? Do you long to reach out and touch them with the love of Jesus? Do we weep for those who suffer?
We are told by Paul to put on the mind of Jesus? Jesus wept for the people of Jerusalem, those who would not respond to His love. We need to reach out to those who are lost, those who are hurting. We need to be filled with zeal, always reaching out and never satisfied. Too many people are lost. Too many people are suffering. Too many people need to be touched by Jesus. We are His hands. We are His feet.

Planting Seeds

One of the many blessings I’ve had in my life was to spend several summers as a volunteer at Camp Andrew Jackson, part of the Christian Appalachian Project. Part of every day’s schedule included Bible School and prayer before each meal and at night before bed. I remember one camper from the summer of 89. He was maybe 6 or 7 and the last place he wanted to be was in Bible School. It seemed like he literally climbed the walls for that period.
What we basically did was love him and the other campers and encouraged them with praise. We praise their attempts at prayer and their participation. Most of us never knew if anything we did or said had any effect. Several years later he was part of a group of campers I picked up in the camp van. I was amazed at the questions he asked. What he was most interested in was the Bible School program. I thought we had failed with this child but something we did or said stuck. The seeds we had planted had taken root and the wild child had turned into a fine Christian.
I’ve seen the same thing happen with 3 of my friends. Children for whom they had prayed for many years came back to the church. Often they felt it was hopeless but they kept praying and praying. God answered their prayers. We can’t give up. We may not see the effects of what we do but our job is to plant seeds, love people and pray. God will do the rest in his timing.

Are Our Hearts On Fire?

One question we need to ask ourselves is are our hearts on fire or are we only lukewarm. Jesus warned us in Revelation not to be lukewarm, that He would spit us out. So is your heart on fire?
Does your heart ache for all those who are lost? Do you look at all the empty seats in church and ache for those who are missing out? Do you burn with the desire to bring people closer to God? Do you long to reach out to people and bring them to Jesus? Do you even notice those who are lost?
Do you feel the pain of those who are hurting, those suffering physically from illness or emotionally? Do you look at hurting people and see those Jesus longs to touch? Do you long to reach out and touch them with the love of Jesus? Do we weep for those who suffer?
We are told by Paul to put on the mind of Jesus? Jesus wept for the people of Jerusalem, those who would not respond to His love. We need to reach out to those who are lost, those who are hurting. We need to be filled with zeal, always reaching out and never satisfied. Too many people are lost. Too many people are suffering. Too many people need to be touched by Jesus. We are His hands

Planting Seeds

One of the many blessings I’ve had in my life was to spend several summers as a volunteer at Camp Andrew Jackson, part of the Christian Appalachian Project. Part of every day’s schedule included Bible School and prayer before each meal and at night before bed. I remember one camper from the summer of 89. He was maybe 6 or 7 and the last place he wanted to be was in Bible School. It seemed like he literally climbed the walls for that period.
What we basically did was love him and the other campers and encouraged them with praise. We praise their attempts at prayer and their participation. Most of us never knew if anything we did or said had any effect. Several years later he was part of a group of campers I picked up in the camp van. I was amazed at the questions he asked. What he was most interested in was the Bible School program. I thought we had failed with this child but something we did or said stuck. The seeds we had planted had taken root and the wild child had turned into a fine Christian.
I’ve seen the same thing happen with 3 of my friends. Children for whom they had prayed for many years came back to the church. Often they felt it was hopeless but they kept praying and praying. God answered their prayers. We can’t give up. We may not see the effects of what we do but our job is to plant seeds, love people and pray. God will do the rest in his timing.

We Have the Same Spirit!

It is so easy to look at the world and get discouraged. Our churches are empty. The world as portrayed by the modern media is full of sin. There are stories about Gay Marriage, cohabitation, abortion, violence, crime. We live in an age when anything goes and Christianity is mocked and criticized. We seem to be losing the culture wars. At least that is what Satan wants us to believe.

In reality the world is probably no worse than it was in the First Century when the Church began. Rome was a savage society where people watch gladiators for entertainment. Slavery was common. Murder and theft were always a danger. Morally, Roman society was a cesspool. Extramarital, homosexual and bisexual relationships were common. So were drunken orgies and incest was not unheard of. Instead of abortion, they simply left unwanted often female babies outside to die.

Yet this world was changed by just a few. In the Upper Room there were 120 people at Pentecost. They began the movement that changed the known world. They began the Church. Responsive to the Holy Spirit they went forth and showed people the love and power of God. They allowed the Spirit to use them to touch and heal people, to teach them about God’s love. Miracles happened on a regular basis. The world was not waiting for Christianity but through the power of the Holy Spirit it was converted.

Why are we so discouraged? We have the same spirit and there are millions of us. We do not possess a diluted version of the Holy Spirit but the same spirit that guided the Apostles. If we want to evangelize we simply need to follow the Spirit and be bold. Our churches will not be empty if we took the risk of looking foolish and prayed with people for healing, prayed that they experienced God’s love in a new way.

We can take back this world and defeat Satan if we just respond to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, tell people about God’s love and manifest it in a concrete world by praying with them. God has given us everything we need to evangelize, to convert the world. He has given us the Holy Spirit! That is all we ever needed so open your hearts and let the Spirit guide you. Pray for our priests that they too be open to the Holy Spirit.

This was published in the September issue of Wellsprings,the quarterly of the S.C Charismatic Conference

Lord, set me on fire with your Spirit. Fill me with your love for those who are hurting. Give me the courage to be bold and reach out to them. Use me to bring healing to this sick world. Amen