by Franka Waters
I love Catholic Charismatic Renewal! I love Jesus! Jesus is alive within Catholic Charismatic Renewal. His Spirit moves amongst its members and within its members — which of course is how it ought to be, as Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a movement of the Holy Spirit. He is its origin and He is its life.
This is what attracted me to Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR), and this is what continues to attract me and I am sure ever will. I am involved because Jesus calls me to be involved with Him and His interests — to share a personal and intimate relationship with Him, and to know Him as God who is personally and intimately involved with me and my interests.
He gently assures and reassures me of His inexhaustible love, His acceptance, His mercy and forgiveness and draws me to a peaceful confidence in my Heavenly Father’s care. He invites me to live my life in the power of His Spirit, not in self-dependence, but in full dependence upon Him, the Source of life. All this, CCR has allowed me to experience, and to grow through nurturing life in the Spirit in fellowship with loving brothers and sisters who likewise respond to Jesus call. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
In responding to God’s love, we recognise His complete commitment to us in Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer. We are drawn irresistibly to commit ourselves to God and His will through continual surrender, knowing that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Unmerited Grace and Unconditional Love
CCR provides a safe, loving and faith-filled environment in prayer groups, communities and fellowships where returning ‘prodigals’ can feel accepted and free to respond to God’s love. Those who begin to respond and yet feel estranged are not condemned, but are encouraged and supported through prayer and faith to pursue the necessary means of reconciliation, trusting in God’s goodness.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17–19)
Each member knows that he or she is the returning ‘prodigal’ who receives God’s unmerited grace and unconditional love.
Such understanding stimulates members to share with others their experience of God’s unmerited grace and unconditional love in Jesus. All have real faith-building and life giving testimonies of God’s personal love. All become evangelists in their own situation of life. Like the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), we want to share our experience of Jesus with others. We rejoice with them when they can say, “We no longer believe just because of what you said. Now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42).
Forgiveness and Restoration
I am involved in CCR because I am the returning ’prodigal’ who, out of my severe need, came back to my Father’s house through the door of CCR only to find that He was eagerly seeking me, and longing to restore me and give me life in all its fullness. This is life in his Spirit through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus.
He gives me the power to unashamedly praise and worship Him. He gives me the power of his charismatic gifts for the edification of faith — my own and that of my brothers and sisters. He empowers me through the cross to be compassionate and to empathise with others in their need. He gives me the power to put to death the acts of the sinful nature.
So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is contrary to the sinful nature (Galatians 5:16).
His grace and empowering produce in my life the fruit of His Spirit that is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in proportion to my dependence on Him.
Life in the Spirit
Life in the Spirit brings a deepening awareness that “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life, that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Such awareness incites desire to be right with God, to experience His Presence in His Sacraments, in His Word, and in the members of His Body.
CCR nurtures this life in the Spirit causing us to deeply love the Church, for Jesus “is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). The Sacraments of the Church become for us essential means of grace and thus strong appreciation of our priests and bishops inspires a special love and devotion in prayer for them.
CCR was birthed through prayer, and prayer is its particular charism. Every CCR prayer meeting spontaneously includes charismatic prayer that manifests variously in praise and worship, the gift of prayer tongues, anointed silence, intercession and prayer ministry with laying on of hands for healing of spirit, soul and body.
“The Spirit intercedes with the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:27). St Paul exhorted the Thessalonian Church to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). CCR has helped me to realise through faith, the continual presence of the Holy Spirit within and to be attuned to Jesus who said, “Surely I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Desire for Jesus Presence draws me to the Holy Eucharist, and I hunger for “the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever” (John 6:51). I am also drawn to Eucharistic Adoration, whereupon, fixing my eyes on Jesus “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), I am enveloped in His loving, healing Presence. Many CCR meetings include times of exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and sometimes before or after special ‘Healing’ Masses.
CCR has intensified my desire for the Scriptures, and Jesus opens my mind to understand His Word with a little more insight, each time I seek Him there. Every meeting will have Scripture readings as prompted by the Holy Spirit, which speaks to the corporate gathering and simultaneously to many individuals in their personal situations. We can agree with Simon Peter when he said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6.68).
Unity in the Spirit
Another wonderful reason why I am involved in CCR is that here I find brothers and sisters who love Jesus passionately. They are committed to Him and to each other, and to everyone He places in their lives. Luke writes of the new Church born at Pentecost: “The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32). I have found this to be true of Catholic Charismatic Renewal wherever it may be. Life in the Spirit maintains unity of the Spirit. Life in the Spirit overcomes the barriers of ecclesial and ecumenical differences and seeks unity in diversity. “Now you are the body of Christ and each of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
I feel a real bond and connection with those who experience life in God’s Spirit. They are my family in God. I love this family of God. I love Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I love Jesus. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Are you seeking this life? Seek Jesus. Then come visit one of the CCR prayer meetings, events or the CCR Centre. You are always welcome.