Isaiah 62:1-5; Ps 96:1-3, 7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-11
It isn’t often that we speak about God’s power and gifts given to us. In Revelation 22:1-2, St. John had his last vision of heaven. He saw “living water” flowing from beneath the throne of God the father and Jesus. That water went through the streets of heaven. It fed the fruit trees of life, which produce fruit twelve time a year, once each month and their leaves are used for the healing of the nations.
This water flows into Christ’s church on earth in 7 streams, which are the 7 sacraments and our prayer life. Each sacrament gives us God’s power to accomplish certain tasks. At first they are in seed form like the baptismal ones. Yet as we grow and our prayer grows, we can bear much fruit.
Last week I focused on the 10 gifts we received at our baptism. This week’s second reading gives us 9 of these charismatic gifts. This is the only time these gifts are listed in the Sunday readings. They are not read on Pentecost.
God created the Charismatic (Pentecostal) Renewal in the church recently to help us understand and use these graces to build up His church and the world. Of the 600 worldwide renewals, this one has touched more people that any of the others, according to Vatican sources. From my experience in this renewal, let me explain.
From St. Paul’s experience of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost, he gives us 4 lists in his letters. And he does not exhaust God’s power to build us up. These gifts are divine power with the Sacrament of Confirmation to help us minister to others. They come from the Holy Spirit as he chooses. These gifts are: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment of spirits, varieties of tongues (new languages) and interpretation of tongues.
There is much to learn and grow in our use of these gifts. We can learn much from people involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Here are short definitions. They come basically from Msgr. Vincent M. Walsh’s book “A Key to Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church,” 1972, Key of David Publ., 240 Haverford Rd., Wynnewood, PA 19096-3202, (610) 896-1970. I believe this is the best “catechism” about these gifts.
1. The Word of WISDOM is a spiritual gift by which the Holy Spirit leads us to say or do something or not do it in a way that is helpful to build up the Body of Christ (spiritual therapy, an intuition or leading). It is an expression of God's guidance in how to live as a Christian. (Mk 10:20)
2. The Word of KNOWLEDGE is usually one word or fact given by which we gain information necessary to minister healing and renewal to another person or group. It is a thought, word, picture or insight that seems to come into our mind as we pray with others. (Eph 1:17-18)
3. This dimension of FAITH is a confidence in prayer that what we are led to ask from our Father in the Name of Jesus Christ, will happen if it is according to his will. It brings extraordinary results (Mk 11:23)
4. The Ministries of HEALING are God using a person or team to bring physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, generational, genetic and other types of healing to others in a direct or accelerated way. (Acts 3:1-10)
5. The Ministry of MIRACLES usually refers to an extraordinary manifestation of God's power to help someone, but not healing, such as feeding thousands and calming a storm.
6. The Ministry of PROPHECY is the Holy Spirit in us, speaking to a person or group, words of encouragement and/or direction. A prophecy is usually spoken in the first person singular or comes as a faint picture in our mind. A direct quote of scripture is not a current prophecy. (1 Cor 14)
7. DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS is a grace of knowing where the power of something or someone is operating from myself, from God or from demonic sources, as teaching behind TV programs and music etc. (Acts 8:23).
8. The gift of PRAYING IN TONGUES is the Holy Spirit in us using our voice to pray to God in a language we do not know that bypasses our thinking process. It can be done alone or in a group and functions in speaking, praying, singing, praising or delivering evil spirits from persons or places. The Holy Spirit prays as God wills, (Rm 8:27)
9. The Ministry of INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES is similar to translating a foreign language except that the person giving the interpretation of another's tongues does not know the language either. The Holy Spirit is giving God’s message.
Please continue to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day for our country and the world problems. May the Holy Spirit awaken us to more of his power and joy in our lives to help make the world a better place in which to live.
Love, peace and joy, now and forever.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)