This is a summary and reflection on a book I read called “Fanning the Flame”. In it most of you probably won’t find anythign new, but it’s always good to be reminded of old stuff!!
Aim of Document: Explain the role of the Charismatic Renewal in today’s church highlighting the positive effects on evangelization and growth. It is aimed at the bishops and the pastoral leaders of today’s church.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
What is it?
– An awakening of the gifts of the Holy Spirit received at baptism
– It is not a second baptism
– It Includes sanctification and charismatic gifts
Life with the Holy Spirit
The solution to the problems in today’s church lies in a deep personal conversion to Christ, living more fully of the Holy Spirit. We must become docile instruments of the Holy Spirit. It is He that will give new life to the church.
Such conversions lead to faith hope and charity, to a living faith and not just human principles. Gifts bestowed on the church by the Holy Spirit include
– Docility to the spirit, faith in God also helping us in day-to-day affairs.
– Zeal for the gospel
– Respect for the authority of the church
– Increase in use of reconciliation
Leading to people becoming actively involved in the church
– Renewal of the ministry of healing (sacramental and charismatic)
– Families transformed into communities of grace
– Empowerment of the ministry of priests
– Upsurge of committed and effective evangelists
– Increased services to the church, religious, priests and deacons, laity.
And in the parishes to
– Vibrant liturgy
– Vibrant parish members, reaching out to the inactive, to the poor
– Charisms of the Holy Spirit
– Spiritual formation, prayer charisms etc
And also charismatic gifts such as
And also changes our personal prayer life through
– Union with others in a bond of love
– Cry to God as ‘abba, father’ and to Jesus as Lord
– Insight into the mysteries of God and taste for the word of God
– Walking in the joy of the Spirit
– Walking in the power of the Spirit
– Fruits of the Holy Spirit
– Boldness to witness even to death
“Life in the Holy Spirit is not one spirituality among others in the church. It is the unique spirituality of the church.”
Why is it necessary?
For the Holy Spirit to be active in our lives we must co-operate with its motions. Due to our sinful nature sometimes we quench the spirit, choosing to do our own will and so we need to ‘rekindle’ the Spirit continuously.
This can especially be the case when we are baptised as children; quite often the gifts received at baptism are lying dormant, sleeping. The ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ reawakens these gifts bringing them to life.
For who is it?
– For all baptised Christians. It is not refined simply to the charismatic renewal.
– For liberal, conservative and all movements.
– For people of all ages and backgrounds, laity, priest, bishops.
Where is it in the bible?
‘Repent and be baptised….in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:38)
All four gospels speak of Jesus who ‘baptises with the Holy Spirit’
Baptism in the Holy Spirit in the history of the church
Charisms have always been part of Christianity
Baptism in the Holy Spirit was also known as ‘ Christian Initiation’ in the early church
Historically it was a normative part of the life of the church with the sacraments
– Early doctors of the church
– Hilary of Poitiers
– Cyril of Jerusalem
Openness to charisms to all the people in the church; healing, prophecy, tongues, wisdom etc.
The present church is like a woman who has fallen from her former prosperous days. In many respects she retains only the tokens of that ancient prosperity.
Life without the Holy Spirit
Without the Holy Spirit the christian community becomes weak and vulnerable against the pressure of the secular world. In the church this leads to :
– Disintegration of family life
– Decrease in priestly vocations
– Wasteful consumption
– Neglect of the poor
Such a weakened community cannot pass on the faith nor build up the church.
Before a change is the structures of the church comes about, we Christians need to undergo a conversion of heart.
Where we have men we have sin and the charismatic renewal has not been without some problems such as:
– Faulty discernment
– People leaving the church
– Misguided ecumenism
However let us be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater! The Spirit has touched thousands of people. The solution to these problems is a deeper personal conversion to Jesus in order to live more fully of the Holy Spirit.
How To Go forward
Baptism in the Spirit and life in the Spirit is needed for the entire church; religious orders, universities, parishes etc. in order to create vibrant communities of God’s love
We have seen the numerous benefits from baptism in the Holy Spirit and also some of the problems. The church needs to walk in the Spirit, opening to His wonderful gifts in love and holy prudence.
Interested? Ask somebody filled with the Spirit to pray with you ! Happy to help if I can!