The Charismatic Renewal
“Wait for the fulfillment of my Father’s promise of which you have heard me
speak. John baptized with water, but within a few days you will be baptized
with the Holy Spirit....You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down
on you; then you are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and
Samaria, yes, even to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:4-5,8). In all four
Gospels, John the Baptist states it is Jesus who will baptize in the Holy Spirit.
Pope Paul VI:
"Nothing is more necessary to this more and more secularized world than the
witness of the 'spiritual renewal' that we see the Holy Spirit evoking in the
most diverse regions and milieu... How then could this 'spiritual renewal' not
be a 'chance' for the Church and for the world? And how,: in this case,
could one not take all the means to insure that it remains so?". 1975
Pope John Paul II:
"...This is my first meeting with you, Catholic charismatics . . . I have always belonged to this renewal in the Holy Spirit. . . . I am convinced that this movement is a sign of his action. The world is much in need of this action of the Holy Spirit, and it needs many instruments for this action. . . . Through this action, the Holy Spirit comes to the human spirit, and from this moment we begin to live again, to find our very selves, to find our identity, our total humanity. Consequently, I am convinced that this movement is a very important component in the total renewal of the church, in this spiritual renewal of the church." 1979
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"The Charismatic Renewal can play a significant role in promoting the much needed defense of Christian life in societies where secularism and materialism have weakened many people's ability to respond to the Spirit and to discern God's loving call. Your contribution to the re-evangelization of society will be made in the First place by personal witness to the indwelling Spirit and by showing forth His presence through works of holiness and solidarity." 1992
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"Thanks to the Charismatic Movement, a multitude of Christians, men and women, young people and adults have rediscovered Pentecost as a living reality in their daily lives. I hope that the spirituality of Pentecost will spread in the Church as a renewed incentive to prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation." 2004
Pope John Paul II - General Audience - March 9, 1994
The Holy Spirit, the giver of every gift and the main principle of the Church's vitality, does not only work through the sacraments. According to St. Paul, he who distributes to each his own gifts as he wills (1 Cor. 12:11), pours out into the People of God a great wealth of graces both for prayer and contemplation and for action.
They are charisms: lay people receive them too, especially in relation to their mission in the Church and society. The Second Vatican Council stated this in connection with St. Paul: "The Holy Spirit also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts he makes them fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church, as it is written (in St. Paul): 'the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit.' (1 Cor. 12.7)
St. Paul highlighted the multiplicity and variety of charisms in the early Church: some are extraordinary, such as healings, the gift of prophecy or that of tongues; others are simpler, given for for the ordinary fulfillment of the tasks assigned in the community.
As a result of Paul's text, charisms are often thought of as extraordinary gifts, which primarily marked the beginning of the life of the Church. Vatican Council II called attention to charisms in their quality as gifts belonging to the ordinary life of the Church and not necessarily having and extraordinary or miraculous nature. In addition, it should be kept in mind that the primary or principle aim of many charisms is not the personal sanctification of those who receive them, but the service of others and the welfare of the Church... in that it concerns the growth of Christ's Mystical Body.
As St. Paul told us and the Council repeated, these charisms result from the free choice and gift of the Holy Spirit. In a special way the Triune God shows his sovereign power in the gifts. This power is not subject to any antecedent rule, to any particular discipline or to a plan of interventions established once and for all. According to St. Paul, he distributes his gifts to each "as he wills" (1 Cor. 12:11) It is an eternal will of love, whose freedom and gratuitousness is revealed in the action carried out by the Holy Spirit--Gift in the economy of salvation. Through this sovereign freedom and gratuitousness, charisms are also give to the laity, as the Church's history shows.
We cannot but admire the great wealth of gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit on lay people as members of the Church in our age as well. Each of them has the necessary ability to carry out the tasks to which he is called for the welfare of the Christian people, and the work's salvation, if he is open, docile, and faithful to the Holy Spirit's action.
Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:
"At the heart of a world imbued with a rationalistic skepticism, a new experience of the Holy Spirit suddenly burst forth. And, since then, that experience has assumed a breadth of a worldwide Renewal movement. What the New Testament tells us about the Charisms - which were seen as visible signs of the coming of the Spirit - is not just ancient history, over and done with, for it is once again becoming extremely topical."
Pope Benedict XVI (Interview with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN in Sept. 2003, then as Cardinal Ratzinger he was head of the Congration of the Faith ).
I am really a friend of movements - "Communion and Liberation," "Focolare," and the Charismatic Renewal. I think this is a sign of the Springtime and the presence of the Holy Spirit, today (with) new charisms... This is for me really a great hope that (this comes) not with organization from authorities, but really it is the force of the Holy Spirit present in the people.
"It is not only through the sacraments and Church ministries that the Holy Spirit sanctifies and leads the people of God. He distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank… 'The manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit' (1Cor.12:7). These charismatic gifts, whether they be the most outstanding or the more simple and widely diffused, are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation, for they are exceedingly suitable and useful for the needs of the Church" (L.G. 12).
The bishops of the United States, in their pastoral letter to the American Church on the Charismatic Renewal, wrote the following in 1984:
"... the Charismatic Renewal is rooted in the witness of the gospel tradition: Jesus is Lord by the power of the Spirit to the glory of the Father."
The Vatican - II Document Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People (Chapter 1, paragraph 3):
“…On all Christians, accordingly rests the noble obligation of working to bring all men throughout the whole world to hear and accept the divine message of salvation. The Holy Spirit sanctifies the People of God through the ministry and the sacraments. However, for the exercise of the apostolate, He gives the faithful special gifts besides (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7) allotting them to each one as he wills (1 Cor. 12:11), so that each and all, putting at the service of the others the grace received, may be “as good stewards of God’s varied gifts,” (1 Peter 4:10) for the building up of the whole body in charity (Ephesians 4:16). From the reception of these charisms, even the most ordinary ones, there arises for each of the faithful the right and duty of exercising them in the Church and in the world for the good of men and the development of the Church. He exercises them in the freedom of the Holy Spirit who “breathes where He wills” (John 3:8), and at the same time in communion with his brothers in Christ and his pastors especially. It is for the pastors to pass judgment on the authenticity and good use of these gifts, not certainly with a view to quenching the Spirit, but to testing everything and keeping what is good (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5/12, 19, 21)