February /March 2017 - Vol. 90
Holy Spirit and cross
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A New Pentecost and Unity in the Spirit
“The Lord creates unity from the inside in the power of the Holy Spirit”
by Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens
The following address by Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens, Archbishop of Manlines, Brussels, Belgium, was given on July 22, 1977 at the ecumenical Conference on Charismatic Renewal in the Christian Churches held in Kansas City, USA.
The Lord creates unity from the inside
My very dear friends, brothers and sisters, it was for me a surprise to be here this morning with you and to see the renewal coming all over the world. The Holy Spirit more and more alive to bring us together in that unity of Christ, and I really think we are moving forward in a very strong way.

Some years ago, I had the joy to spend a few days in my own place in Malines, Belgium, with Dr. Ramsey, the head of the Anglican Communion at that time. Before starting our dialogue – an ecumenical dialogue – I suggested we open the Gospel and just listen to the Word of God for that occasion. And the Word we received was:
In spite of the fact that the doors were still closed, Jesus was there in the midst of them saying, Peace be with you. (John 20:19)
And we looked at each other and we understood. The doors between the Anglican community and the Roman Catholic one are still closed, but the Lord was there between us as the center of our unity, saying to us: “Peace be with you.”

What I wish to repeat, that in spite of many diversities, the Lord is here because we are gathered in His name. We are coming here together for Him, with Him, in Him. And He says to you, “Peace, my children. I am here and I Myself will create inside of you that unity. You cannot do it from the outside. I will do it from the inside in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit can move mountains
And may I confide something to you? Yes, the doors are still closed, but already right and left you see windows open with a bit of fresh air coming through them... and the key is in the door. That key is the Holy Spirit – the power of the Holy Spirit – because He can move and He will move mountains. We have to go back and to renew from where we started – at nine o’clock in the morning there at Pentecost.

You know, in this year of the conference, I’m celebrating my fiftieth anniversary of priesthood. And I thought, where can we do that the best? And I thought – Jerusalem, the Cenacle of Jerusalem. Couldn’t that be the place to celebrate in thanksgiving Eucharist and to celebrate Pentecost? And I had the joy to go there with many friends, and I’m so glad to thank the Lord for that meeting in Jerusalem, coming there from where we started.

We will not cease from exploration. We will continue ‘til we arrive there from where we started: the Church at Pentecost. Peter spoke to the crowds and they were moved – deeply moved – and said, “Friend, what are we to do?” And the answer was, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus the messiah for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God may call “ (Acts 2:38 – 39).

Well, that is what we see coming… slowly, we see the sun rising. We see the clouds disappearing. It is not yet finished. It’s a time of trouble. But it’s so wonderful to be with you here because you are open to the Spirit. You are open to the faith. You are open to the impossible dreams of the Lord.

A new and renewed Pentecost continuing
My final word to you: Happy those who are dreaming dreams and who are ready to pay the price to make them become true. And there is a Brazilian song, which goes, “When one person is dreaming a dream, it’s just a dream. But when two persons are dreaming the same dream, it’s already the beginning of a reality.”

Well, here in Kansas City, we are not only two persons. I see crowds. I see hundreds and thousands of people having the same dream, which means the beginning of a reality.

During the Ecumenical Council [Vatican II], we had a very important moment when Athenogoras, the head of the Orthodox Church, came to Rome. The Pope had visited him also in Jerusalem. I turned at that moment to a good friend of mine, an Orthodox, and I asked, “Tell me, what is the reason for our division according to you? What is the main reason?” And I will never forget his answer. He said, “The main reason of our division since the eleventh century is that we haven’t spoken to each other during nine centuries.”

Just think about that. Nine centuries of silence. And if we start with the Reformation, it’s four centuries of silence. And now we see the dialogue coming open – the prayerful dialogue; that’s the hope of the future. That’s the new and renewed Pentecost continuing. I want you to dream with me. To dream with us the same dream... and let the Spirit blow and let the wind blow and let the rain come and let the face of the world be renewed. Amen! Hallelujah!

This article first appeared in New Wine Magazine, November 1977.

Cardinal Suenens pic
Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens
(1904 - 1996), was the Archbishop of Malines, Brussels, Belgium between 1961 and 1979. He was made a cardinal in 1962. His  motto as bishop was In Spiritu Sancto ("In the Holy Spirit"). He was an active participant in Vatican II, and was named one of four moderators of the council by Paul VI.The author of many books and articles, Cardinal Suenens was recognized internationally as an ecumenical bridge-builder and leader in the Roman Catholic charismatic renewal.
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