Renewed Catholic Life

By Father Bob Hogan

It is a wonderful grace when the Holy Spirit touches our lives in a personal way! This grace is meant to be a beginning of new life for us, not a final accomplishment. The Holy Spirit has so much more! The seed planted can bear fruit 30, 60 and 100 fold! The Holy Spirit is the power of the new creation, renewing all things, RENEWING THE FACE OF THE EARTH! How does the Spirit want to renew all of Catholic life in our day? The new Vision Statement for the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal says: “Catholic Charismatic Renewal invites all people to experience the Holy Spirit who opens us to a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father. The Holy Spirit empowers us for personal holiness, renewed Catholic life, and evangelization.”

Baptism The Holy Spirit makes the persons of the Trinity real in our lives. We experience union with God’s love and presence. From this union we are given the power to be clothed with the qualities of Jesus (personal holiness); to share the Good News of Jesus with others (evangelization); and to participate in the re-creation of all aspects of Catholic life (renewed Catholic life).

The U.S. Bishop’s Ad Hoc Committee for Charismatic Renewal produced a document, “Grace for a New Springtime” (1997), which states, “Baptism in the Holy Spirit makes Jesus Christ known and loved as Lord and Savior, establishes or reestablishes an immediacy of relationship with all the persons of the Trinity, and through inner transformation affects the whole of the Christian’s life. There is new life and a new conscious awareness of God’s power and presence.

It is a grace experience which touches every dimension of the Church’s life: worship, preaching, teaching, ministry, evangelism, prayer and spirituality, service and community” (p. 5). In its fullness baptism in the Spirit can lead to “renewed Catholic life” in “every dimension of the Church’s life.”


The description of renewed Catholic life in Acts

What does this “renewed Catholic life” look like? After Pentecost (Acts 2:42-47 and 4:23-37) the believers experienced the Spirit moving them from a personal experience of renewal to creating a whole new lifestyle that influenced their priorities, their families, their work, their finances, and the way they related with one another and their society:
quote

Renewed Catholic life today

What does this image of the first Christians’ lifestyle mean for us? The First Letter of John tells us that if you “let what you heard from the beginning remain in you” (2:24), then you can trust the anointing of the Spirit to continue to teach and lead you (2:27). As we are devoted to the full image of the community lifestyle at the beginnings of the Church, we can receive the Spirit’s anointing concerning the ways he wants to develop “renewed Catholic life” in today’s world. We want to learn to let the Holy Spirit be our Advocate (Divine counselor, helper, guide, companion) in every aspect of daily life and the life of the Church. We want Spirit-inspired (guided, empowered, energized): family life and parenting; work relationships and Godly direction in our work; worship, music, liturgy and sacraments; teaching and preaching; pro-life ministry; practical moral living; service to our communities; service for the poor; development of Churches and groups; youth ministry; financial responsibility and sharing; communications and media; united Christian efforts for our cities; lay ministry; priestly and religious life.

Our initial spiritual awakening by the Spirit is meant to open us to be a people that are led, empowered and given practical wisdom in developing a renewed Catholic lifestyle. I believe that God is calling us to become very practical in seeking the Spirit’s guidance. Here is one way that we can seek guidance during our prayer time in order to develop a renewed lifestyle.


We ask the Holy Spirit:
  1. To reveal to us what renewed life looks like in each area of family, work, finances, church, society, culture, media, relationships, ministry, etc.
  2. To empower us with charisms (spiritual gifts) and the fruit of the Spirit to live what is revealed to us.
  3. To give us the wisdom to apply God’s direction in our practical situations.
  4. To give us God’s priorities for us. Which area(s) of renewed Catholic life are we being called to be active in developing under the Spirit’s guidance? Prayer Group leadership teams, Diocesan service committees, Liaisons, Covenant communities, parish leaders, ministries, families, and all groups seeking to be led by the Holy Spirit can ask the Lord how he wants them to join in the renewal of Catholic lifestyle and culture. Even people who attend church regularly can be affected more by a media influenced lifestyle, than by one based on scriptural and Church teaching that is applied in new ways for today’s world under the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.


Within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal we have seen “renewed Catholic life”
developing through:

quote

These are a few examples. Let us be open to the Holy Spirit’s full leading and creativity! Each of our groups has some calling to promote the development of “renewed Catholic life.” Be practical with the Holy Spirit. Paul and Barnabas were sent on their first missionary journey because the leadership team at the Church of Antioch came together to pray and fast in order to seek the Spirit’s direction. Use the four areas that I have given you to seek your group’s particular calling. Pray and ponder the image of the first Christian community in Acts to see if the Lord may be calling your group to emphasize a certain aspect of their lifestyle. We want to be people who pray, “Come Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love.” Then we complete this prayer by cooperating with the Spirit as we pray, “Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH!”


Fr. Bob Hogan is Co-founder of the Brothers of the Beloved Disciple, a Charismatic and Marian Religious community of priests and brothers. He is a member of the NSC and involved with working at the Catholic Center for Charismatic Renewal in San Antonio, Texas. Reprinted with permission from PENTECOST Today, Fr. Bob Hogan, October /November /December 2009 Volume34 Number 5