The Flame: September/October 2016
Dear Readers of The Flame,
I am grateful to the Lord for the blessings of our most
recent conference, Proclaim God's Mercy. Better said, I
am amazed and grateful to the Lord for July's
conference. After many years of working with CRM and
putting on conferences, I am still amazed at God's
grace at work. Besides the edification I receive through
the talks, fellowship and celebration of the sacraments, I
am greatly encouraged by the people who witness to
me of how God acted in their lives.
Near the end of the conference, a person came up to
me to tell me how the Lord physically healed her.
Another person shared with me a very beautiful
testimony of how their relationship with the Lord
changed after the conference. This person was already
devout. However, since the conference she said, "My
relationship is different with the Lord. I can speak with
Him as my friend. I am closer to Him."
Finally, I received an email from a younger adult a week
after the conference. He said:
It was on Saturday morning that I had an
experience that I never thought was possible.
As we were being led in praise and worship, I
believe, I'm not for certain if I received the gift
of tongues. It was a little strange to me,
because as I was praising the Lord, suddenly, I
could not get my own words out and I
verbalized what I thought to be was gibberish.
This is the first time this has ever happened to
Praise the Lord!
Honestly, I used to think it was a little odd that a
believer could receive this gift, but after it
happened to me, I really wanted to know if this
was legitimate. I did tell my wife about it,
because even though it surprised me, I was
provided with a tremendous sense of peace
with Jesus, something that I have been seeking
for some time.
I experienced a special gift immediately after the
conference. As some people know, I "rob Peter to pay
Paul" before the conference. In other words, I take
things from my parish (St. Peter's) to help out at the
conference. One of the things I borrow from my parish
is the monstrance the gold receptacle that holds the
Eucharist during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
I brought the monstrance to Magnificat on Friday
afternoon. On Saturday morning, when I brought the
Eucharist, I unveiled the monstrance and noticed that
one of the twelve amethyst jewels that surround the
Eucharist in the monstrance was missing. It was lost. I
checked the satin covering. I could not find it in my car.
I looked in the parking lot. It was simply gone.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament took place
throughout the day. That evening we had a period of
public Adoration that included a procession with the
Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Everything went
as planned, though I was concerned that the
monstrance was missing a gem. I invoked the
intercession of St. Anthony of Padua and recommenced
my search as we packed up after the conference.
While putting things away at my parish later Saturday
evening, I continued my search. I first looked on the
shelf where we normally store the monstrance without
success. I then glanced on the carpeted area just below
the shelf. There, in the midst of a coiled extension cord,
seemed to be a small rock-like thing. Sure enough, it
was the missing amethyst. I was able to place the gem
in its proper place and secured it by properly
tightening the prongs that hold it in place.
I wondered about the value of amethysts. My short
study turned up some interesting facts. They used to be
regarded as quite precious. However, with discoveries
of large quantities of amethyst crystals in the last
hundred years in various places in the world their value
is greatly lessened.
More interesting was where the name amethyst came
from. It is a Greek word that means "not drunk." The
Greeks believed that amethysts would keep people
from becoming intoxicated.
One Church tradition was that a bishop's ring should
contain an amethyst. Why? At Pentecost St. Peter
proclaimed that "these men are not drunk as you
suppose." (Acts 2:15) An amethyst stone in the ring of a
bishop was a reminder that his joy, and the joy of his
flock, comes not from physical inebriation, but from
being filled with the Holy Spirit of Pentecost!
Let us seek to live each day in the power, presence and
joy of the Holy Spirit of Pentecost!!!
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Bob Franco
Bishop’s Delegate to Catholic Renewal Ministries