ROME, JUNE 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Leaders of Catholic Charismatic Renewal say one of the effects the Holy Spirit has on the faithful who invoke him is a strong drive to evangelize.
To learn more about a “personal” Pentecost experience and its repercussion on evangelization, as requested by John Paul II on the eve of the recent solemnity, ZENIT talked with exponents of the charismatic renewal. Part 1 appeared Thursday.
“Since receiving for the first time the effusion of the Spirit, after having resisted the grace proposed for a long time, my life has been totally transformed, said Cathy Brenti, vice president of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS), headquartered in Vatican City.
A member of the charismatic Community of the Beatitudes, Brenti said: “The Holy Spirit is a ‘gust,’ a ‘breath’ that has never left me for 30 years.”
“This gust has made me follow Christ to the point of offering him the whole of my life,” she said. The Community of the Beatitudes, founded in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal line in 1974, promotes a residential, contemplative and missionary life that follows the charism of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
“Committed for the past 26 years in one of those new communities, which John Paul II recently referred to as ‘a providential answer inspired by the Spirit given the present need for a new evangelization,’ my husband and I constantly discover that it is the Spirit who animates us; that the Spirit is our whole life,” Cathy Brenti told ZENIT.
“There is nothing magical; however, every invocation, every prayer addressed with fervor to the Holy Spirit, Spirit of counsel and power, necessarily finds an echo in one’s heart and a favorable answer, according to one’s needs,” she said.
Matteo Calisi, president of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, talks of his experience in reference to a quote of Jesus in Acts 1:8.
“‘You shall receive the power when the Holy Spirit, has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses,'” Calisi said. “The baptism in the Spirit which we have experienced with Charismatic Renewal represents this invitation to be missionaries.”
Recognized by the Holy See, the Catholic Fraternity embraces more than 50 communities of Catholic Charismatic Renewal worldwide, such as the Community of the Beatitudes and the Emmanuel Community of Paris.
“The Church needs to rediscover this renewed evangelization full of ‘power from on high’ as fruit of a ‘personal Pentecost,'” Calisi stressed.
“It is estimated that close to 120 million Catholics have experienced a new effusion of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “Therefore, they have the task and privilege of being ‘clothed with capacity’ to be ‘sent to evangelize.’ … Let us pray to the Spirit so that our response will be affirmative.”
Calisi emphasized that the gifts of the Spirit are “instruments for evangelization.”
“Signs, miracles, wonders and healings are the strongest and most powerful testimon[ies] that the Holy Spirit gives to the Word of the Gospel for the conversion of the incredulous,” he said.
“Through the teaching of the early Church, Charismatic Renewal has learned to appreciate the use of charisms to evangelize,” Calisi continued. “The Church today has the same power of Jesus and of the New Testament Church to preach, heal and cast out demons.”
He added: “The doctrine of the Church and the experience of Charismatic Renewal in its more than 30 years of life reveal to us a beautiful teaching: If Christians do not use the gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit, the latter [charisms] will die.”