April / May 2017 - Vol. 91
Holy Spirit as a
                          dove hovering over the earth
A Time of Perpetual Pentecost

by Michelle Moran, President,
International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services

 ‘I will pour out my Spirit in abundance, generously, lavishly, and continually’

Like all children for me Christmas was such a wonderful occasion of family togetherness, delicious food and a variety of surprises. However, with the onset of my teenage years the excitement quickly subsided and I learned to tame my expectations. In reality, these ‘red letter’ days pass very quickly. Indeed, sometimes the anticipation surpasses the actual celebration.

The Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) is the culmination, for many of us, of an intense period of preparation at local, national and international levels. It is however important that we do not view this as a mere celebration. Otherwise, the anniversary will come and go and then, with the passing of time, it will be no more than a distant memory.

The 50th anniversary of CCR marks the crossing of an important threshold. In one sense, it marks the drawing to a close of a particular season of the Spirit. The time when we saw the Holy Spirit at work in the Church bringing forth renewal and giving birth to many new things. This was in the slipstream of the second Vatican Council.

Reading the testimonies of those who were present at the Duquesne weekend and of other pioneers in the Renewal, I was struck by how many of them came from ‘good Catholic’ families and already had a residual faith. Thus when the fire of the Holy Spirit descended, their lives were quickly ignited and their faith came alive. When they were ‘clothed with power from on high’ they began to eagerly embrace the new things of the Spirit and spontaneously move in the charisms.Their experience was in many ways beyond their understanding. Thankfully, their openness and youthful enthusiasm enabled the fire of the Holy Spirit to spread throughout the world.

Today we live in a very different time in the Church and the world. In many societies, particularly in the West, there has been a surge of secular humanism. Christianity is under threat and various forms of persecution are becoming more commonplace. Alongside this there is an increasing apathy. St. John Paul II referred to this as a ‘silent apostasy where people have all that they need and who live as if God did not exist.’

‘Share with all in the Church the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit.’
- Pope Francis

In this context, I sense that our Golden Jubilee marks a gradual progression from the Pentecost event in Acts 2:1-16 to Acts 4:23-31, where we see the Church under persecution. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out on the entire assembly in the Upper Room as a grace for conversion and mission. Certainly we still need this today. Indeed, Pope Francis has encouraged us to ‘share with all in the Church the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit.’

A prophetic consultation to prepare for the Golden Jubilee
In preparation for the Jubilee, in November 2013, ICCRS held a prophetic consultation in the Holy Land gathering together 160 international leaders. The aim was to listen together to the Lord for his word as we approached the Jubilee. During our pilgrimage day in Jerusalem, we gathered in the Upper Room and were privileged to experience together an unforgettable prayer meeting.

There were many prophetic words. However, the final word that we heard [given by Bruce Yocum] has stayed with me. The Lord said,

‘I have poured out my Spirit abundantly, and I will continue to pour it out. I will pour out my Spirit generously, lavishly, continuously, until even the hardened hearts are softened and the wasteland becomes fertile. This I promise, that I shall pour out my Spirit continuously until I bring about, through my Spirit, that renewal that I intend.’1

After this word we left the Upper Room and spilled out into the streets of Jerusalem. I have continued to reflect upon why this was the last word that we heard before moving out. I sense that the Lord was giving us a confirmation that the Holy Spirit continues to be poured out.

We live in a time of the perpetual Pentecost. Therefore, we who have received this new life have a responsibility and a mission to spread the grace of Pentecost far and wide, indeed to the ends of the earth.

Certainly in today’s spiritual climate the ground is more arid and perhaps not so well prepared or fertile as it was in 1967. The world faces a myriad of complex challenges and the Church is increasingly undergoing persecution. In the midst of all this spiritual battle, we all need a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to bring strength and courage enabling us to proclaim the truth with boldness. This is urgently required because the father of lies is increasingly busy spreading words of falsehood leading to relativism and practical agnosticism. This manifests itself in religious indifference, a lack of hope and a loss of direction.

We should be expectant that in this new season of the Spirit there will be an increase in faith for healing and miracles.

Our clear proclamation also needs to be accompanied by a demonstration of the Spirit. People today need more than words: they need to see that God is alive and active. Therefore we should be expectant that in this new season of the Spirit there will be an increase in faith for healing and miracles. We need to pray and be expectant that these charisms would be more fully manifest in the body of all believers and not just in the few who regularly exercise these charisms. In Acts 4 when they prayed there was a new empowerment of the Holy Spirit and they were ALL filled with a new boldness.

We want our Jubilee to be more than a celebration and a good party. We need a new outpouring. Pope Francis sees the Jubilee as an opportunity for all those who share in the ecumenical current of grace to come together and pray for a new Pentecost. So let’s be ready for the surprises of the Spirit and prepare for a mighty new outpouring of the Holy Spirit beyond anything we have currently seen or could even imagine.

Footnote 1

For a fuller description of the Prophetic Consultation held in Bethlehem, November 14-18, 2013 and on the final day together in the Upper Room (Cenacle) in Jerusalem where the Spirit was first poured out on the infant church, see report in Pentecost Today, Spring Issue 2014, Volume 39 Number 1, pages 4-5.

This article was first published in Pentecost Today, Special Golden Jubilee Issue, Winter 2017, Volume 42 Number 1. Used with permission.

Michelle Moran, together with her husband Peter, is a founding member of Sion Catholic Community for Evangelism, located in Brentwood, England. She originally trained as a teacher and taught in a College for 5 years before ministering full time in Sion Community. Michelle is currently President of ICCRS, the International Council for Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services [center located in Rome] and Chair of the National Service Committee for Catholic Charismatic Renewal in England and Wales. In 2007 she was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be a member of the Pontifical Council of the Laity.

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