Recently we shared in a mission, presented by Brendan Case from Arizona, who spoke about and prayed for Charismatic Gifts of the Holy Spirit to flourish in the lives of parishioners. Many people attending were “slain in the spirit,” which means as they were being prayed over, they fell backwards, resting on the floor with a certain peace. Still others were given words of a prophetic nature about their life: for example one man was told by Brendan that he and his wife were called to be future leaders in a significant way for Christ’s church, and finally a number of people young and old began “praying in tongues.” This has caused a bit of confusion amongst parishioners. Some felt that Brendan’s message and method were actually harmful and offensive. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify certain things, to the best of my ability.Link.
I believe that Brendan is a very sincere and a deeply spiritual man, who has truly good intentions. I think he is a little rough around the edges at times: for example, he spoke quite loudly at times, he was often “in our face,” if you will, he unnecessarily swore in church to make a point, and confused people with some opinions about Catholic verses Protestant translations of the bible. I do also plan to write him soon and recommend that in future parish missions, he not begin exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until he is done with his speaking (which tends to go forty minutes or more), or that he, like many priests or deacons during forty hours’ devotion, speak from the pulpit (alongside the Blessed Sacrament, not detracting from its’ centrality of focus) for a briefer period of time.
However, all that being said, I am hearing that many parishioners were touched by Brendan in powerful ways. Quite a number of our youth received special Charismatic Gifts, such as the prayer gift of “speaking in tongues,” and are full of joy as a result. One adult woman shared with me that she has had a peace in her life for the last four days that she hasn’t experienced in decades. And another woman who attended the mission in order to pray for her sister who is alcoholic returned home that evening to receive a call from her sister saying that she was entering a counseling program for the first time. Finally, one gentleman who is not Catholic, but attended the mission, decided as a result to go through RCIA and become Catholic this next year. These are some positive fruits of the mission, and hopefully there will be more as we go. A tree, remember, is always judged by its fruit. Does our experience lead us to greater love, faith, obedience, humility, etc.? is the central question. Next week I’ll share with you some quotes about the Charismatic movement from the Magisterium of the Church, with some commentary, which tends to be both affirmative and cautious. Then, I’ll finish with another column on the Charismatic gifts themselves, and what they mean.
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