The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is critical to the Church and to each of its members. The Renewal enables us to learn about the Spirit — our Advocate — and to accept his leadership in our lives.
The seeds of the Renewal began over six decades ago.
The Second Vatican Council
Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) called for an ecumenical council to examine all aspects of the Church. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) resulted in the publication of sixteen major documents addressing the renewal of the church. That was the work of the Holy Spirit.
One of the major documents from that Council was “Lumen Gentium”. Translated it means the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.” Paragraph 4. of that document states in part:
When the work with the Father gave the Son to do on earth (see Jn 17:4) was completed, the holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost to sanctify the church continually and so that believers might have access to the Father through Christ in the one Spirit (see Eph 2:18). This is the Spirit of life, the fountain of water springing up to eternal life (see Jn 4:14; 7:38-39)), through whom the Father gives life to human beings dead in sin, until the day when, in Christ, he raises to life their mortal bodies (see Rom 8:10-11). The Spirit dwells in the church and in the hearts of the faithful as a temple (see 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19), prays and bears witness in them that they are his adopted children (see Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15-16 and 26). He guides the church in the way of all truth (see Jn 16:13) and, uniting it in fellowship and ministry, bestows upon it different hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs it and adorns it with his fruits (see Eph 4:11-12; 1 Cor 12:4; Gal 5:22). By the power of the Gospel he rejuvenates the church, constantly renewing and leading it to perfect union with its spouse. For the Spirit and the Bride both say to Jesus, the Lord, Come! (see Apoc 22:17). Hence the universal church is seen to be “a people made one by the unity of the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit.”
— Lumen Gentium, (1996), “Vatican Council II: Constitution Decrees, Declarations”, para 4.
Changes in the Church after the Vatican Council II
Following this Council, there were major changes in the Church. Here is a list of a few of the most obvious changes:
- Mass that was said in Latin was then said in the local language.
- The altar was moved forward and turned so the priest would face the people.
- The responses to the priest during Mass were now spoken by the congregation.
- Church music was changed with many new hymns.
- Many, many more that affected the church and every member.
This renewal was the work of the Holy Spirit.
Catholic Charismatic Renewal
Two years after Vatican Council II, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal began at a retreat for Duquesne University students. This was the work of the Holy Spirit.
Since that time, over 120 million Catholics have experienced the Charismatic Renewal. This was the work of the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis speaks to the Renewal
In 2019, Pope Francis addressed these remarks to the leaders of the Renewal:
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).
These three things – baptism in the Holy Spirit, unity in the body of Christ and service to the poor – are the forms of witness that, 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”.
Members of the Charismatic Renewal, as a current of the grace of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses of this love! And please, pray for me.
— Pope Francis, June 8, 2019, “Speech of the Holy Father during the inauguration of CHARIS.”
The Renewal then is an essential element in activating the “current of grace” we received from the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
Is the Renewal Necessary today?
The Renewal is essential today because the Holy Spirit was given to us by Jesus as our Advocate. Since the mid 1960’s He has inspired great change in the Church. He opened the door thru the renewal for ordinary parishioners to have a deeper relationship with Jesus and our Father.
The Charismatic Renewal helps each of us to respond to the opportunities the Holy Spirit has made available to us.
Why is this essential for each of us?
Every member of the Church has received the anointing of the Spirit in the Sacraments of Baptism and hopefully Confirmation. However, we may not be aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If so, then we may also be unaware of the sanctifying graces He has for us — the Spiritual Gifts. These are available to us to increase our love of Jesus, increase in holiness and help others and build up the church.
- Fruits of the Holy Spirit are sanctifying graces that are given to us as perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. They are the manifestation that an individual has received the Holy Spirit’s gifts.
- Gifts of the Holy Spirit are sanctifying graces given to us to strengthen our own spiritual life and help us to grow closer to the Lord.
- Charisms are sanctifying graces that are given to us as Jesus wills, so that we can do the work He did when he was out Earth — praying, healing the sick and proclaiming His Father. These Charisms are critical for each of us to perform Jesus’ work on Earth — to help His people and to build up His Church.
These are the graces from the Spirit that help us commit ourselves to drawing closer to Jesus and relying on the Spirit. If we don’t know about or accept these sanctifying graces, we will not be able to respond to Pope Francis’ exhortation. He ask us to “witness that, by virtue of baptism, all of us are called to give for the evangelization of the world.”