Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More on "upper room"

Dear friends,

Today in the mail I received a copy of a twenty-one page paper that Michelle Moran, President of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) presented to The Association of Diocesan Liaisons in Toronto, Canada recently entitled, "Unity through Pentecost, Building a Culture of Pentecost."

In the cover letter, the person who sent it to me made reference to page 14 which includes a quote from Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) in 1992 about the necessity of the “Upper Room” experience. She had no idea about the “Women of the Upper Room” experience that I referred to in my last post. As a friend of mine said, "Love how God confirms what He is already telling us. He is so faithful to allow us to know His voice."

I have only shared a couple pages of the document that make a reference to "upper room." I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I did.

Michelle Moran wrote:

"Baptism in the Holy Spirit releases and imparts the spiritual gifts or charisms. Vatican II reminds us that these are 'fitting and useful for the needs of the Church'. The apostles were empowered not only to build up the local community but to reach out to the ends of the earth. Pope Benedict XVI stressed this in the homily at the concluding Mass of world Youth Day in Sydney, when he said, 'Through the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, may this 23rd World Youth Day be experienced as a new Upper room, from which all of us, burning with the fire of love of the Holy Spirit, go forth to proclaim the Risen Christ and to draw every heart to Him.' In the Charismatic Renewal we have received the missionary grace of Pentecost and as such we have much to bring to the evangelizing activity of the Church in the world.
The Culture of Pentecost - a spiritual reality
Let us now turn more specifically to the 'Culture of Pentecost' which has been a theme emerging from the pontificates of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The term is very broad and has many dimensions. However, as we can see from the above, Charismatic Renewal is ideally placed to both promote and actively engage in creating the Culture of Pentecost. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Charismatic Renewal, Cardinal Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, spoke about the experience of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. He said that this experience which is central to CCR and which has embraced millions of Catholics on every continent could be the starting point of the Culture of Pentecost.


The Culture of Pentecost as a particular concept has gradually unfolded over the last few years. However, as early as 1992 Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) wrote: Are we going to discover the secret of the first Pentecost in the Church? Are we going to offer ourselves humbly to the renewing power of the Holy Spirit so that he can free us from our poverty and our total inability to carry out the task of proclaiming Jesus Christ to our fellow men?.. The Upper room is the place where Christians allow themselves in welcoming the Holy Spirit to be transformed in prayer. But it is also the place from which one goes out to bring the fire of Pentecost to one's brothers and sisters.' (Quoted in New Covenant Magazine)  Once again we see our now familiar themes of Pentecost emerging - prayer and empowerment for evangelization. In his last official address to Charismatic Renewal, on the eve of Pentecost, 29th May 2004, in St Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II placed before the Renewal both a challenge and a mandate. He said, 'I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread in the Church, as a renewed thrust of prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation.' It would seem therefore, that there are some key characteristics which constitute the heart of the spirituality which underpins the Culture of Pentecost.
The Spirituality of Pentecost                   
We can see that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI highlight the transforming action of the Holy Spirit that flows through prayer. In the Upper room those present, experienced a deeper conversion through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Pope John Paul II linked this in with an important theme that emerged from Vatican II, the 'universal call to holiness'. Holiness was no longer to be regarded as something for a few saintly souls or those who held particular offices in the Church, Lumen Gentium emphasized that the call to holiness is an invitation to all God's people. Holiness is however only possible when people are open to receive more fully 'the love of God who has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit' (Rom 5:5). John Paul II was very affirming in recognizing the strong contribution that Charismatic Renewal could make to the Church by enabling people to experience the love of God in a personal way."
Grace & peace,
Sheila

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