THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: FOSTERING A DEEP CHARISMATIC SPIRITUALITY

May 6, 2020frjohnma

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.

Rev. Fr. John-Mary Benedict Ntol Atep

As Christians we are expected not only to believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but we are to possess the Trinity. We can achieve the aforesaid by integrating all the essentials of our faith into our spiritual life. In the Church and our Christian life, we have essential personages and marks that are also non-negotiable. They are the Liturgy; the way we worship God and it is the primary essence of God creating us. No wonder, the children of Israel were freed from the slavery of the Egyptians in order to move into the wilderness and worship God (Ex. 3:18). In the Liturgy we talk of the Holy Mass, the Holy Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit. We also have the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Sacred Traditions and Sacred Scriptures. The foregoing are central to our faith and we cannot pick and choose from them. Thus, from them we have our spiritualities. Spirituality means our way of living as we wholeheartedly embrace the essential personages and pillars. So, we can talk of liturgical spirituality, the spirituality of the Holy Mass, Eucharistic spirituality, the spirituality of the Holy Spirit, Marian spirituality and Biblical spirituality.

From observation and findings, we pay more attention to one or two Persons of the Blessed Trinity instead of seeing the three Persons in one God and worshipping God as a Godhead and not a fragmentation of persons. For example, with the emergence of the Second Vatican Council and her spirituality of renewal, the need for fresh air through the breath of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement began with a group of American College students in Duquesne University, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in February 1967. Its emergence came with blessings and a great awakening of the powers of baptism, confirmation and the Church. However, with some shortcomings that were fuelled by miscreants, religious fundamentalists, bigots, and poor formation; the Church started experiencing a lot of divisions, intrusion of “pentecostalism”, rejection of authentic doctrines and the sacraments, heretical projections, and constant attacks against her hierarchy.

In view of the foregoing, confusion became so common that it was difficult to distinguish between the initial understanding of the place of the Holy Spirit in the Church, her Charismatic spirituality and the role of the renewal movement in the Church. The height of it all was the case were many faithful, consciously and some unconsciously started arguing that they were not charismatic but Catholic and Christians. Additionally, the privilege of pious groups in the Church at times has been abused because some tend to see one pious group as superior to the other. Let’s watch it! Friends in Christ, we need to clear such aberrations and mentality. Once you are baptized into Christ, you instantly receive the Holy Spirit and you become a charismatic. That is one who is not only blessed with natural gifts but with charisms (supernatural powers). It does not end at that because charismatic spirituality teaches by a statement that says “God always has more to give you.”

Therefore, you and I are expected to grow spiritually and otherwise. It is usually not always easy. Charismatic spirituality stresses elements which are central to Christian life: conversion, transformation and commitment to Christ. This is where we talk of baptism of the Spirit to fan us to flame and personal discovery in God, through Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit. Consciousness of the role of the Holy Spirit in our salvation and cultivating a life of the spirit brings us into our spiritual space the Charismatic spirituality. Note: It is not optional! Whether we belong to the Charismatic renewal movement or not, we must develop the consciousness of the place of the Holy Spirit in our lives. To do so is to embrace and cultivate a charismatic spirituality. It is open to all baptized and confirmed Christians.

HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD, FALL AFRESH ON US!

Reflective Questions

  1. The Holy Spirit is the power of God at work in us. Salvific mysteries like creation, redemption and sanctification are excellent events that display such power. What does it mean to be a charismatic as a Christian?
  2. Have you ever thought of the relevance of the Charismatic spirituality in your spiritual life? If yes, what is the degree of it in your spiritual life? If no, what is hampering your charismatic spirituality formation?
  3. How does your ordinarily daily events in life integrates the Holy Spirit?
Thanks for you participation!  Thanks also for your insightful comments and inputs. Please keep them coming. You are in my prayers and please pray for me.

 

Comments (16)

  • AndyMarie

    May 6, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    For us catholics, this teaching is highly beneficial and exposing. I guess we (myself inclusive) sometimes dwell more on an aspect of our spirituality and claiming to be the best. This most times bring about argument of superiority instead of us using it to serve God better as the spirit leads.
    May God grant us the grace to always put our various spiritual practices to good use for His glory and the edification of man.
    Thanks

    1. Fr John-Mary Atep

      May 6, 2020 at 9:05 pm

      My brother let us be open to realities and the huge gifts of God to us. Every pious society is excellent in the church and from each you can pay attention to all the essential spiritualities for our spiritual life. Let’s denounce the mindset of superior over others. Such world view can becloud our relationship with God and others. Be blessed always

    2. Stanley-Mary Osegbo

      May 6, 2020 at 10:10 pm

      Thanks so much Fr. for this teaching!
      However, I have a question to ask:
      Where is the place of Science of the Saints or Ascetical and Mystical Theology collectively called Spiritual Theology today (which defines Catholic Spirituality- Purgative way-illuminative way&Unitive Way)in the life of the Church today even after the St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter ‘Novo Millennio Ineunte’ Jan 6,2001 where he reemphasized the importance of the teachings of Doctors of Mystical Theology in the Church. I’m asking because the little I have read these teachings they are so beautiful that I can’t compare them with Charismatic teachings of which I have some knowledge of.

      1. frjohnma

        May 6, 2020 at 10:44 pm

        Thanks for sharing. Now spiritual theology is the soul or inner dimension of theology and the spiritual life. It is indeed the science of the saints and the science of our inner life. However, I sense that the attitude of some uninformed catholic charismatic renewal movement members has really impacted on us negatively that many of us have even stood openly to contend with them. We didn’t know how to separate their excesses from authentic charismatic spirituality. I am sorry about that! The fact is that, there is a very clear place of the Holy Spirit in spiritual theology. For instance, you cannot develop the unitive way of life without the Holy Spirit. You need the Holy Spirit to go the unitive way; where you need deeper prayer gifts, contemplation and mystical union. Once you start working towards this stage knowingly and unknowingly you are in the terrain of charismatic way of life. More so, we need to distinguish pentecostalism from authentic catholic charismatic spirituality that people like Ralph Martin are promoting. I am sorry again, because we have missed this dimension of our spiritual life. This is why I am working hard through my little writings to bring to our consciousness. I hope I sounded clearly that Charismatic spirituality is an essential as other essential spiritualities mentioned in today’s prayer reflection for us but it can be attained also with or without having recourse to the charismatic renewal movement?

  • Isaac-Mary Atagher

    May 6, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you Fr for enlightment i pray that God should give you more strength to do his work

    1. frjohnma

      May 6, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      God bless you Sir Isaac! Amen to you prayers for Christ’s ministry that we represent.

  • Juliana-Mary Ukeje

    May 6, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you very much Father for the reflection and the thought-provoking questions for further reflections. I sure appreciate your making us aware of the spiritual wealth we possess as Christians, ie the Holy Trinity along with all the spiritualities, notably the Liturgy, the Holy Eucharist and the the Blessed Virgin Mary. I believe that the extent to which we employ these spiritual means depends on how much space we give the Holy Spirit to also possess us and enlighten us. For example, if a Legionary understands how much the Holy Spirit follows our Lady everywhere she goes and and the Charismatic Renewal member recognizes her as His chosen & beloved Spouse, they will both feel more united and carry out their respective devotions with greater love for God and for each other. Let’s therefore stop the fragmentations and the “picking & choosing” and allow Him to constantly renew these treasures in us so that we can make the most of each and every aspect of them.

    1. Fr John-Mary Atep

      May 6, 2020 at 9:21 pm

      As usual always perfectly clear and eminently practical. You have crowned up our discussions. We need to know that within every devotion, apostolate or even spiritualities one can apply other spiritualities. Within Mass for instance, just mere thought can help someone to see his/herself attending it with our Lady, praying consciously in the Holy Spirit, listening attentively to the sacred scriptures and receiving Holy Communion worthily. The major challenge is lack of consciousness, biases against certain groups who champion certain spiritualities and we think until we affiliate with them we cannot benefit from such or it is not necessary for us. With the above mentality we have unknowingly lost out a lot in our spiritual life. We need to be careful and open our minds and hearts to learning and enjoy life to the fullest. Blessings and Thanks.

  • Pauline Otu

    May 6, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    May the Blessed Trinity continue to be our strength amen. Thank you Father & stay safe.

    1. Fr John-Mary Atep

      May 6, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks always for your consistency and support. You rarely fail to encourage our ministry especially with your prayers. God bless you always. Amen

  • Sinulo

    May 6, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks Father for this thought provoking piece. However, i feel guilty most times when my prayers of gratitude and petitions are addressed to Jesus Christ more than the God head and the Holy Spirit. I started inculcating “Glory be the Father….” in my prayers. (In fact, it was a sort of revelation in my dream some years ago. It also happened on the morning of the feast of the Holy Trinity without my knowing.) I try to say it about 25 times per day as was instructed in the dream. Though am still not faithful in saying that. Does it matter when i address Jesus more hence they are said to ‘all in one’?

    My other issue is how to sustain this fire of the spirit. For people like me, it’s not so easy to fan the fire of the spirit within my soul. It takes dedication, purity of heart and discipline . When it begins to burn nicely and there is divine consolation, you want it to remain there. The feeling is sweeter than life itself. How can we keep it burning in the midst of trials, distractions and demands?
    Thank you once more father.

    1. frjohnma

      May 6, 2020 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks for these great insights and your questions are excellent. About the first question, the point is that theologically speaking, once you mention one of the Persons of the Trinity, the other two are summoned. However, emphasis must be made to check the aspect of consciously picking and choosing the Persons of the Blessed Trinity to worship and ignore others. Even when one is focused on do not forget that God is a Trinity. In all, even when Jesus Christ is invoked, we should imitate the Church who always begins her prayers with the Trinity by the sign of the Cross and concludes her prayers also in the name of the Trinity. For instance, we make our prayers through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son (this is referring to the Father through the Son) who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit. The key here is to be conscious of the Trinity in mind, heart and soul when praying and engaging in our ordinary activities. Secondly, it is good to also experience consolation but it is never in our power to sustain it. Here comes quickly the counsels of the Saints especially St. Ignatius of Loyola our spiritual mentor that I sense his presence in your spiritual space. He talks about “indifference.” Meaning, an inner freedom that disposes us to accept whatever state the Holy Spirit gives to us. So, whether consolation or desolation, we can still remain with the Lord. God bless you.

  • Francis-Mary

    May 6, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    May God continue to graciously strengthen our humanity so that we can effectively lean on the life giving graces and charism of the Holy Spirit in building up our personal relationship with God and fellow men and women. Through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen. 👍Thank you Fr for the sharing. More grace always🙏

    1. frjohnma

      May 7, 2020 at 8:53 am

      I appreciate your prayerful comment. God bless you

  • Sinulo

    May 7, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Good morning Father. I really appreciate the answers you gave to my questions. We learn every day. Thanks.

    1. Fr. John-Mary Atep

      May 7, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks a million times!

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