Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Yes, Jesus is alive! Thank you, because you remembered that I like this song.
This Pentecost begins a new stage begins on the journey inaugurated by the Charismatic Renewal fifty-two years ago. The Charismatic Renewal, which developed in the Church by the will of God, represents, to paraphrase Saint Paul VI, “a great opportunity for the Church” (cf. Address to Participants in the III International Congress of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, 19 May 1975).
Today, in the name of the whole Church, I thank the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service and the Catholic Fraternity for the mission they have carried out in the past thirty years. You have blazed a trail and, by your fidelity, have made it possible for CHARIS to be a reality today. Thank you!
My thanks go also to the four-person team I charged with bringing this unique new service into being. I am grateful likewise to the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, in the person of Cardinal Farrell, which has assisted you.
Today a new stage of this journey begins. A stage marked by communion between all the members of the charismatic family, in which the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested for the good of the entire Church. A presence that makes each one equal, since each has been born of the same Spirit: great and small, old and young, engaged on the worldwide or local levels, all form a whole that is greater than the part.
A new and unique service of communion
New. As I told you at the Circus Maximus, what is new can be destabilizing. In the beginning, there is a sense of uncertainty about the changes that newness brings. A certain fear of what is new is quite human, but this should not be the case with spiritual persons. “Behold, I make all things new”, the Lord tells us in the Book of Revelation (21:5). The new things of God are always a blessing because they flow from his loving heart. There is always a temptation to say: “We are fine the way we are; things are going well, why change? Let’s leave things as they are; we know what we are doing”. This kind of thinking does not come from the Spirit. Perhaps from the spirit of the world, but not from the Holy Spirit. Don’t make this mistake. It is the Lord who says: “I make all things new”.
Unique. A service meant to assist all the charismatic groups that the Spirit has raised up in the world. Not one office to serve some and another office to serve others, etc.
Service. Not governance, but service. In the Church, as we know, governance is also service, but governance is not your task. You are being asked to care for a variety of needs and to assist the journey in the best way possible.
Communion. With hearts as one, turned to the Father, and testifying to unity in diversity: a diversity of charisms that the Spirit has raised up in these last fifty-two years. “Enlarge the site of your tent”, we read in the prophecy of Isaiah (54:2), so that all can dwell there as members of one family. A family where there is only one God and Father, one Lord Jesus Christ and one Spirit of life. A family in which no one member is more important than another, neither in virtue of age, intelligence or ability, for all are beloved children of the same Father. In this regard, Saint Paul’s example of the body and its members speaks eloquently to all of us (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-26).
I see that there is a representative of young people in the International Service of Communion. I am pleased by this! Young people are the present and the future of the Church. I am pleased that you have given them a high profile and a chance to exercise the responsibility that is theirs.
I also see that CHARIS now has publication rights to the Documents of Malines. This is a good thing. Make them known! As I have said to you on different occasions, they are a “user’s manual” for the current of grace.
You asked me to tell you what the Pope and the Church expect from this new service, from CHARIS, and from the entire Charismatic Renewal. I would ask you:
- to share baptism in the Holy Spirit with everyone in the Church. It is the grace you have received; share it!
- to serve the unity of the body of Christ which is the Church, the community of believers in Jesus Christ, the
- to serve the poor and those in greatest need, physical or
These three things – baptism in the Holy Spirit, unity in the body of Christ and service to the poor – are the forms of witness which, by virtue of baptism, all of us are called to give for the evangelization of the world. An evangelization that is not proselytism but first and foremost witness: a witness of love. “See how they love one another”. That was what impressed those who encountered the first Christians. “See how they love one another”. To evangelize is to love, it is to share God’s love for every man, woman, and child. Offices for evangelization can be established, programs can be carefully planned and implemented, but without no love, they are useless! “See how they love one another”.
Members of the Charismatic Renewal, as a current of the grace of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses of this love! Thank you.[01017-EN.01] [Original text: Italian and Spanish]
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