Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Holy Spirit's Smack Upside the Head!

Last night I was with my good buddy Greg, as in Fr Greg Cizcek, a staple of the Italian community in Montreal being the Polish guy able to speak impeccabe Italian.  This of course in dears him to little old 'Nonnas' seeking to gain favour with younger priests by feeding them.  So we went for supper, and then we decided to pray Vespers as the time had come for prayer.  Fr Greg, suggests we go to my home parish and see if my Pastor, Father Gerry wanted to join us.  Long story short, he was at the rectory, but the Church was open.  Monday nights, the Charismatic prayer group meets, and they were only too happy to see us.  First off we prayed Vespers before the Blessed Sacrament, and then, well,..then he suggested that we ask for prayers with the Charismatic group.  Myself, I was too shy, (actually I was too proud) to want to join in,...

The Charismatic Catholic Renewal started in 1967 when a group of priests and laity in Pittsburgh asked for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The fruits of the Spirit, would descend upon them and they (like the Pentecostals ) would find themselves in a very emotional Christianity which admittedly I was none too comfortable with.  So,..reluctanlty I joined in, and well, let just say 'uncomfortable' was the initial feeling.  The fruits sometimes manifest themselves as speaking 'in tongues' or 'discerning of spirits' or whatever.  For myself at that moment, I just couldn't let go....They would pray and be insprired to look up Scripture verses abd read aloud.  The thought that was crossing my mind, was 'I gave up Adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament for this?!?'  So here is Fr Greg, a whole bunch of ladies singing away, while I'm trying as best not to stare because I'm seriously freaked out!  (I felt like that scene from Forrest Gump when he's singing in the choir, while Fr Greg, who can at times make Pope Pius X look like a modernist is SINGIN' away, with a big smile, while the others are praying spontaneously, tongues,..you name it!)   We left and asked these women to pray for us.

So, Greg asks me what I thought, and well I answered.  'Dude, (Yes, he's a priest but I knew him before ordination sooo blah! ;)) I'm not sure I'm too comfortable with this type of Spirituality.'  At that point, he asked me to open my heart and check my ego and the door!  WOW!  Did I need that!  He answered that Charismatic practise wasn't his type either, but nevertheless the Holy Spirit would give him a sense of peace, joy, and freedom.  The Holy Spirit has many gifts for many people, St Paul never had the gift of tongues, so I guess I won't either.  Later that night, I was reflecting upon my experience with these sincere women of Faith.  Lying in bed, it came to me!  Written on my heart was St Matthew's Gospel, 18; 3...Unless you become like little children, you will not see the Kingdom of God.

The point through all of this is simple!  The Holy Spirit was reminding me that despite all my theological acumen, degrees, metaphysical knowledge, it all means jack sh%t especially when compared to the sincere trust in the Lord found in these women.  They won't be commenting on Aquinas's undertanding of Act and Potential because that is not their charism!  (Aha moment!)  Different strokes for different folks, all within the beautiful mosaic of Christ's Bride the Church!  So while I didn't experience the fruit of the Spirit while in the prayer group, it was simply because I was too proud to let the Holy Spirit in,..I didn't want to!  I thought it was weird..creepy,..not my culture etc....  Then the Holy Spirit later that night smacked me upside the head and reminded me of the real reason,..PRIDE!  So now today as I write this, I am thanking God for these charismatic women.  Their faith is pure.  Does that mean they don't need to deepen their theology?  Of course not!  Yet in their own way, their hearts from what I could tell and from what was revealed to me were more in line with God's than mine ever was! 

Thank you Holy Spirit for allowing me to see through different lenses, the beauty and majesty of all your gifts.  I may not be speaking in tongues anytime soon, but last night, when I received that peace, joy and freedom, I wouldn't trade it for anything! (Slept like a baby too!)

Come Holy Spirit!,.....................Fill our hearts!


Left-footer said...

Very interesting post, and I'm sure you are right about the ladies.

My own experience was with a group of rather unprincipled life-assurance salesmen who read the Bible, played guitars, and spoke with tongues before their sales meetings.

I was not impressed with the prophesies of one young man who denounced a colleague for "cheating on his wife", claiming the Holy Spirit had revealed this adultery to him.

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

God bless!

Patrick Button said...

I have no doubt that Charismatics and all devout Christians are in fact filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised us as much. That being said, I am rather skeptical about the whole speaking in tongues thing.

At the conclusion of public revelation, not too many people were speaking in tongues until the 20th Century, when certain Protestants "rediscovered" it. In the Scriptures, and in a modern case that I consider credible, speaking in tongues was unconscious on the part of the speaker and served some useful purpose. I think its great that the Charismatic folks are trying to develop a relationship with God in their own way and working on openness to the Holy Spirit, but I think it might be best if they stuck to the singing.

Anyway, great post!

Patrick Button said...

After some more study of the topic, I have to say that my previous assessment of speaking in tounges is too limited and utilitarian. Nevertheless, I'm still rather skeptical about the whole thing. What do you think?

Marco said...

'Tongues' is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. For me, my spirituality is more contemplative and less emotive. If the people receiving 'tongues' experience an interior peace, joy and freedom,..then it is from God. If not, then perhaps time for a psychologist,..or..