On the day of Pentecost, the apostles received the gift of tongues, they were able to speak to peoples of different nationalities who would understand them in their own languages.
However this gift does not only refer to languages that can be interpreted by others only, St. Paul says that if someone speaks in tongues there should be another person who would interpret what he is saying for the benefit of the whole group. There are also tongues of praise and adoration, which are the most common. These are very beneficial for the soul. They are as the language to express communication only between the soul and God [1 Corinthians 14:2] St. Paul recommends that once we receive the gift of tongues one should strive to possess the gift of Prophecy because tongues build the individual while Prophecy builds the whole Church. He says do not forbid speaking in tongues [1 Corinthians 14:39].
We don't know how to pray and we need the help of the Spirit, so He makes His presence to us in sighs, moans, tongues or any other manifestation that expresses our deepest feelings of love for God [Romans 8:26]
Many healings take place at the moment of laying hands on the persons being prayed over, specially when tongues are being said [Acts 19:6]. There is mystery in this gift, since only God knows the language of the Spirit. Visions are also reported to be seen when the Lord is being praised in tongues.
Those who do not have this gift may laugh or criticise those who have it, let me assure you that this is very real [Isaiah 28:10-11]. When I received it I was in tears every time that I used it, as a result I praise the Lord in tongues every day.
I want to relate to you my personal experience with this gift. I prayed over my seven year old daughter who was asking me about this gift and who genuinely desired to praise the Lord in tongues, while I was driving my car with one hand I layed hands on her with the other, a few minutes later She was praising God in tongues, and She was crying saying to me I don't know why I am crying, but I am certainly speaking in tongues.
However we must be cautious even with this gift, since some people possessed by an evil spirit may speak also in tongues and can deceive others. So instead of praising they might be cursing God. We must therefore pray always for discernment.
This is a very useful gift that permits people to expand the Holy Scriptures and to transmit the true teachings of the Church. This is not just confined to priests or religious, everyone is supposed to be a witness of the truth.
Apologetics do a very good job putting together parts of the Bible combined with the teachings of the Church to explain certain Topics of fidelity to the Catholic Church.
Teaching can be the passing of acquired knowledge or it can be also the gift of expressing the supernatural in natural words, namely the preaching of the Majesty and Glory of God, the mysteries of His Creation, the exaltation of the Son of God, and all the beautiful teachings about Our Lady.
By the teachings of Wisdom, great mysteries can be expanded. The mystery of the Holy Trinity for example would be appreciated more when learned from someone who is anointed with this gift. There are no human words to explain mysteries, because that is what they are, but they can be put in words that will touch the soul and somehow the Holy Spirit will make up for what is lacking in meaning.
Healing takes place when we have a change of heart and repent, when we pray to the Lord and ask for His Mercy. The Lord is our healer [Exodus 15:26].
Healing can only take place after repentance and forgiveness. That is the obstacle of many who are seeking to be healed, the reason is that they may still have some resentment against someone, against themselves or against God.
The Lord heals first the soul, then the body [Matthew 9:2-6] as we recall in the healing of the paralytic.
When we refer to the gift of healing we speak of people who have the gift of praying for the healing of others and the response of the Lord by healing them.
Those who are engaged in this kind of intercessory prayer, must pray fervently that the Lord will forgive the sins of the sick person. If you can bring a person to repentance of his sins, then there is a great possibility of healing.
We must be proclaimers of repentance, unafraid of criticism. We must advise people to go to confession when they sin or at least once a month, so that we don't lose the sense of sin.
As we pray for another, we must bring that person before the Lord in humility and contrition which are the doors to His Presence, we must ask the person to live the prayers, we must confess our sins to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. We must forgive everyone in our lives, even those that we don't remember. We must thank God the Father for the gift of His Son, whom we confess to be Our Lord, God and Saviour. We pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ His Son. We must pray that the Precious Blood of Jesus will deliver the person from all evil spirits. We must ask through the merits of the sufferings, agony and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of His holy wounds. We should always seek the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and ask through the merits of her most holy tears.
The person being prayed over, must renounce satan, the world and all those things that lead to sin. All these prayers are submitted to the Holy Will of God and depend on His Will, not our wills. At the end of the prayers, we must thank God again for answering our prayer, we must believe that the Lord is granting us our request because trust in Him is the vessel of His Mercy. We conclude our prayers with praise and adoration.
After the prayers, we must present these petitions to the Lord as we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist and ask Him to cover them with His Precious Blood.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is truly present with us, specially as we proclaim His Word [Mark 16:20].
Many miracles have taken place in our humble ministry following this preceding prayers. Thanks be to God!
By this gift, we receive a feeling inside that tells us wether things are right or wrong. It is very useful when we have to pray for someone, because somehow we receive a special light to guide us in prayer.
Discernment is also very useful when we deal with someone for the first time, or when we listen to a prophecy. There are many voices in the world, we must know which ones we must avoid. We must pray daily for this gift because the devil is the father of lies and he is always trying to find ways to deceive us.
We are bombarded continuously with heresies, blasphemies, lies, false stories and distracting words.
As disciples of Jesus, we must listen only to one voice, His Word. Solomon prayed for Wisdom, and great discernment was given to Him [1 Kings 4:29-30]. Likewise we must pray that God who is Wisdom will fill us abundantly.
Very common during this century is the occurrence of Apparitions of heavenly beings, such as angels, saints, Our Lady and Our Lord.
Throughout the centuries, Our Lord and Our Lady have appeared mainly to the saints in order to pass very important messages or doctrines, such us the doctrine of the Sacred Heart revealed to Sr. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Divine Mercy revealed to Sr. Faustina. Our Lady in the main apparitions such as Lourdes revealed that She was the Immaculate Conception and in Fatima She said that She is Our Lady of the Rosary and that Jesus wants us to have devotions to Her Immaculate Heart.
The Lord prophesied through , [Joel
2:28] And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all
flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your
old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
In the Spirit of Elijah, these apparitions are taking place in order to bring people to repentance, to show them the reality of God Who is denied and blasphemed. The Lord in His great Mercy does not want to condemn us but He sends His mother or comes Himself to warn us.
Commonly angels precede the apparitions of Our Lord or Our Lady in order to prepare the visionaries for those great encounters.
This phenomenon has multiplied in this last century, the main theme of the messages is that people must return to God, that they must amend their ways and come to the Sacraments.
Our Lady has been requesting that we pray the Holy Rosary, because this great prayer is a miniature presentation of the main teachings of the New Testament, where we learn to know and love Jesus throughout His life, passion, agony, death, resurrection and Glory.
We are given these devotions to Our Lady in order to also come to know Her Who is our Queen and our Mother, our great Advocate before the Lord; then we can humbly come to Jesus through Her.
As Catholics we have the choice of believing or rejecting these apparitions especially before they are approved by the Church. After approval, we are invited to learn from this heavenly experiences in order to benefit our souls. However the Church teachings are not based on apparitions but on the direct teachings of the Holy Scriptures and the traditions handed out to us through the centuries.
We must be careful regarding messages and apparitions, since the devil is also at work trying to deceive and destroy.
For messages to be authentic, we must make certain that they don't contain anything contrary to the teachings of the Church. The safest way to discern is to accept those messages which have received the imprimatur or approval of the Church.
We don't sin if we accept apparitions and messages which are not approved officially by the Church but we may fall into disobedience by promoting them.
There are three marks pertaining to good Catholics, they are :
Love for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Love for Our Lady . Devotions of the Holy Rosary.
Love for Holy Father and acceptance of the official teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.
Any messages and apparitions must conform with these points in order to prove their authenticity and loyalty. Obedience and humility must support them as well. No desire for money or fame must be involved, since that would prove hidden false motives.
Besides the messages received directly in apparitions, there are also messages received in the Spirit of Prophecy, such as dictations or interior locutions. There are also many visions given to those who are seeking the Way, the Truth and the Life, they are all part of the training that God is giving to His people in these times of His great Mercy.
Other phenomenon associated with apparitions and messages is the stigmata, which is given to special victim souls who have the privilege of carrying in their bodies the marks of the passion of Our Lord. [Galatians 6:17] . By sharing in the sufferings of Our Lord many sins are atoned, victims souls contribute with their suffering in the purification of others and they are great intercessors before the Lord.
Charismatic gifts | Contents
One of the results of the II Vatican Council, was to acknowledge the Charisms of the Holy Spirit as a very important part of our Christian Life. The Charisms of the Holy Spirit are invaluable in the work of the new Evangelisation of the Church and they provide the faithful with the zeal of the Holy Spirit to praise God, to worship and to live with the great joy of knowing that Jesus is Alive.
Groups of enthusiastic worshippers have gathered since then and have discovered that prayer, praise, worship, and togetherness are truly a renovating force breathed by the Holy Spirit. The Charismatic movement has obtained the approval of the Catholic Church and is flourishing in many parts of the world. Many priests take part in this movement.
One of the negative aspects of the Charismatic movement is the similarity to Pentecostalism, but the true Charismatics remain faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church and must promote the Sacraments, especially Reconciliation.
The movement has encountered a lot of opposition from very Orthodox Catholics who see it as a threat to traditional teachings. However the Church has given it approval provided the movement maintains fidelity to the Church.
On a general audience with Pope John Paul II, March 9, 1994 the Pope spoke about the Charisms of the Holy Spirit:
The Apostolic Exhortation Christi fideles Laici also
stressed the "no charism dispenses a person from reference and submission to the
Pastors of the Church." These norms of prudence are easily understandable and apply
to all, both clerics and lay people.
That having been said, we would like to repeat with the Council and the Exhortation cited above the "charisms should be received in gratitude both on the part of the one who receives them, and also on the part of the entire Church." For these charisms there arises "for each of the faithful the right and duty of exercising them for the good of men and for building up the Church." [Pope John Paul II, General Audience, March 9, 1994]
This is one of the experiences in the Charismatic movement that defy the traditional beliefs of many Catholics. When someone prays over another person, sometimes He or She receives a touch of the Holy Spirit and falls to the ground. The person is filled with great Peace, it is an encounter with God in a very serene atmosphere. Somehow the person is disconnected with reality and enters into a state of joy in the Lord.
Of course we must not believe everything we see, specially when some people fake the experience or when some of the people who pray push the others to the ground. We are not talking about this here.
To be slain in the Spirit is a true experience when the right people are involved and when the Holy Spirit makes His manifestation; the ways of the Lord are above our ways and the wind of the Spirit blows where it pleases [John 3:8]. It is very easy to condemn what we don't know says St. Peter.[2 Peter 2:12]
David and the high priests fell on their faces when they saw an angel standing between earth and Heaven [1 Chronicles 21:16]
Ezequiel came before the Presence of God and He fell upon his face [Ezekiel 1:26-28]
Daniel also had a similar experience, He lost his strength [Daniel 8:17-18]
When St. John the Apostle had his encounter with Our Lord, he fell at His feet, feeling as dead. [Apocalypse 1:17]
We believe that there is only one Baptism and through it we have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
What is called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience that a baptised person may have if they open their hearts to the influence of the Holy Spirit, it is a very common experience at a Holy Spirit Seminar or at Charismatic prayer groups. It is like an awakening to the reality that we indeed have gifts but that we are supposed to open them and use them.
To have such a "Freeing of the Spirit", the person has to go through the stages of Repentance and belief in the Promises of the Holy Spirit. Then, the imposition of hands [not always necessary] helps to bring about this experience.
This "Fullness of the Spirit" is similar to an experience of the early Church in Corinth as related in the Acts of the Apostles:
1 And it came to pass, while Apollo
was at Corinth, that Paul having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus, and
found certain disciples.
2 And he said to them: Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? But they said to him: We have not so much as heard whether there be a Holy Ghost.
3 And he said: In what then were you baptised? Who said: In John's baptism.
4 Then Paul said: John baptised the people with the baptism of penance, saying: That they should believe in him who was to come after him, that is to say, in Jesus.
5 Having heard these things, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
The Holy Spirit fills us with the gifts we need to produce good fruit, to grow in holiness, and to proclaim the Good News of our Salvation [Colossians 1:10].
We must submit our lives to the guidance of the Holy
Spirit, He is the Advocate, the Paraclete, the Spirit of Peace, Love and Joy. In Him we
can rest and be fed. He is our teacher, He will always tell us what is right and what is
wrong, because He speaks through our conscience. We must remain obedient to the teachings
of the Church and open ourselves to the direction of the Holy Spirit. God is with us, but
we must come to Him.
The Holy Scriptures say that we will be taught by God [Isaiah 54:13], we have received the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ Who has sent His Holy Spirit to guide us.
As a baby depends on its mother, we must also depend on God, St. Peter invites us to drink that spiritual milk [1 Peter 2:2] that will make us grow in the knowledge of Our Lord.
The Holy Spirit does His work silently as a gentle breeze, all we have to do is to believe and to submit ourselves to His direction.
[1 Corinthians 3:6] I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the growth.
The Lord says that where there are two or more gathered in His name, He is in their midst. We come together to pray in the name of Jesus and for His greater Glory.
I don't recommend any prayer meetings where the Rosary is omitted, in fact we must emulate the apostles who were together in prayer with the mother of God when the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost.
If you can not invite into your life the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, then there must be something wrong with you. Mary is the Mother of the Son of God, and She is also our Mother. As mother of the children of God, She has received the task of caring for us.
Through her intercession the Holy Spirit descended to the apostles on the day of Pentecost, and it is also through her intercession that the Grace of the Holy Spirit descends to us in a very powerful way.
With the company of the Blessed Mother of God we can safely proceed to conduct a Charismatic prayer meeting where there will not be deception by the enemy.
The prayer meeting may last several hours depending on the enthusiasm of those involved and on the length of the healing ministry at the end. Sometimes it concludes with a healing mass.
Normally we pray five decades of the Rosary daily, but when a great fervour is reached, the prayer of the Holy Rosary goes through the entire life of Our Lord and Our Lady which is contained in the fifteen decades of the Rosary.
Before the recitation of the Rosary, we should always list all the intentions that we are praying for. We should pray at the end for the intentions of the Holy Father.
This section is destined for singing songs of Praise and Worship to the Lord, St. Augustine says that when we sing our prayers, we pray twice over. This creates an atmosphere of Joy in preparation for the rest of the meeting. A section of the group takes care of preparing the songs, this is called the music ministry, some members can use their musical talents, in any case everyone is invited to sing joyfully.
Praise can be done also by reading Psalms and other parts of the Bible or by sharing spontaneous prayers, praising in tongues, etc.
It is important to command all evil spirits in the name of Jesus to leave the place and the people in the prayer meeting.
The group must pray for repentance, usually there are leaders who say the prayers, they can be taken from prayer books but it is spiritually healthy to allow the Holy Spirit to grant them spontaneously.
This is a time to invoke the Holy Spirit, usually
singing a "Come Holy Spirit song". After that, there should be a period of
praising in tongues if the gift is present, otherwise any ejaculations of praise are
sufficient, such as:
" I love you Jesus, I praise you Jesus, come Lord my God, I worship you Lord, Come Holy Spirit, come Fire of Divine Love. Come Spirit of Peace and Wisdom, fill our hearts.
Thank you Jesus, we praise you Jesus, we love you Jesus. Amen. Alleluia.
After that there should be a moment of silence in which everyone will open themselves to the action of the Holy Spirit.
It is most important for us to cultivate this intimacy among brothers and sisters in Christ which let us know how the Lord has affected the lives of others.
By sharing our experiences we bind ourselves in communion with one another, we convey the faith we have, we grow as we learn of the growth of others and we learn about the things that we must pray for. We also become bold witness of the great things that the Lord has done for us. Our Lady shared the great things the Lord had done for her [Luke 1:49].
Since we feel the Presence of the Lord in our prayer group, it is very important that we express our petitions with thanksgiving to God for the Graces we receive. Members of the prayer meeting are encouraged to speak and to make their petitions known so that we can all pray to the Lord for the same intentions, although these intentions can be expressed in silence too.
Work of God