"Love, Joy & Peace"
"Catholic Charismatics Led by the Spirit"

“Love, Joy & Peace”
By Sister Christine Edwards

Have you ever met someone who had such grace about them and exuded so much love, joy and peace, that you felt drawn to them? Love, joy and peace are God’s great gifts to us and are actually the normal state of a Christian. Yet these gifts don’t come to us naturally, but come through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That’s why they’re called the fruits of the Spirit. We cannot produce them by our own power.

“God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, that has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5). And love is his first gift, containing all others. It’s in God’s love that we find joy and peace. It is the love of the Holy Spirit that flows through us as we love with God’s own love. It’s far different from the world’s counterfeit for love, which can be brute passion or vile egoism.

Jesus says, “Abide in my love so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full” (Jn. 15:10). Abide means a constant presence—to live there. The key to our joy is our abiding in Jesus. It’s not the world’s joy, which is a superficial fleeting happiness. St. James says, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (Jas. 1:2-4). So joy can be present even in suffering. It’s not a surface emotion, but it’s a depth experience—it’s deeper and inner. We have access to a love, peace and joy that cannot be destroyed by pain, suffering and death, as long as we live in the Lord.fruit

Can we grow spiritually to a point of having joy even in the midst of trials? The saints did. Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (Jn. 16:24).

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem the angels proclaimed peace. On the last night Jesus spent on earth he said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” (Jn. 14:27). His customary greeting to his apostles after his resurrection was, “Peace be upon you!” (Jn. 20:21). Peace is a gift so beautiful, so profound, and so efficacious, that we shall never fully comprehend it. It’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us and the synthesis of all the graces and heavenly blessings that we have received in Christ. It’s the peace that surpasses all understanding. The world cannot counterfeit peace, because peace is a Divine thing.

Since the fruits of the Spirit are such wonderful gifts, why isn’t there more love, joy and peace among Christians? In a world beset by terrorism, recession, natural disasters and evil of all kinds, it can be increasingly difficult to live in Christ’s spirit of love, joy and peace. The world, the flesh and the devil are at war to keep us from living in the fruit of the Spirit.

In Galatians 5 we find the fruits of the Spirit listed by St. Paul immediately after he is talking about the works of the flesh—meaning all that is opposed to the will of God. Paul gives a list of obstacles to the fruit of the Spirit. Here he is clearly telling us what to avoid and oppose, and what we are to cherish and cultivate. For Paul says the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are opposed to each other. Docility to the Holy Spirit at work in us is needed, and this often demands death to our own will and ego.

So what is the secret to a victorious life of living in the fruits of the Spirit? Jesus tells us quite clearly. He says that we are to remain in him. As a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can we. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. If we remain in him we’ll bear much fruit. Without him we can do nothing (Jn. 15:4-5). Only as we abide in the Vine, who is Christ, can we bear the fruit of love, joy and peace. And the key word is abide, which is the constant ongoing union with Jesus.
Aids to abide in the vine include daily spending quality time alone with the Lord, as well as walking and talking with the Indwelling Presence of Jesus, who is the fount of all love, joy and peace. Daily prayerful reading of God’s Word, frequent Confession, regular Mass and Communion are our nourishment. As Jesus says, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:56).

The fruits of the Spirit are our inheritance as sons and daughters of God. We can’t obtain these gifts by seeking them. They are byproducts of our living in the Lord. When we are loving, joyful and peaceful we bring joy, comfort and consolation to those we meet. Probably those closest to us could give us a good idea as to how habitually we are living in the fruits of the Spirit.

It’s so clear, so simple and yet not always easy. To have true love, joy and peace we need to be intimately united to Jesus, the Vine. It means living not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Sister Christine Edwards, S.F.P. is a Franciscan Sister of the Poor. She is Co- Founder and Co-Director of Lighthouse Community and Lighthouse Renewal Center and also serves as Chairperson of the Charismatic Regional Service Team for the Cincinnati Archdiocese and the Covington, Kentucky Diocese. She is on the NSC Council.

Reprinted with permission from Pentecost Today’s October/November/December 2009.

“Catholic Charismatics Led by the Spirit”
STEUBENVILLE, OH—Posted Sep.24, 2010

"Our God is not a God of half measures. Our God is not a minimalistic God. Our God is not a God who says, 'Well, that's enough.' He's a lavish God, he's an abundant God," said Michelle Moran, president of the Vatican-based International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS).

ICCRS held its first Leadership Training Course in North America at Franciscan University of Steubenville, September 12-19. Conference attendees traveled from as far away as Peru, Ghana, Zambia, the Philippines, and Australia to attend the course, immersing themselves in praise and worship and the teachings and history of the Church. They also had a unique opportunity to engage the history of the Catholic charismatic renewal by visiting the Ark and Dove Retreat Center at Duquesne University, the birthplace of the movement.1

"ICCRS is the product of a gradual evolution through the development of the charismatic renewal," said Moran. "Pope Paul VI appointed Cardinal [Leon-Joseph] Suenens to be the ambassador to the renewal and the person who would have responsibility for the charismatic renewal when things were emerging." Eventually this led to an office in the Vatican. "That was a very significant time for the renewal because obviously you don't get invited to a place in the Vatican if you are not accepted," said Moran. "Then ICCRS worked at getting official approval from the Holy See and is now an institute of pontifical right."

The ICCRS represents the Catholic charismatic renewal in all its manifestations including prayer meetings, covenant communities, and service committees—to the Vatican, and serves as the Vatican’s representative to the international renewal. The one-week traveling course is designed to form leaders of the Catholic charismatic renewal in sound theology and best practices of ministry.

Participants heard lectures on an array of topics including the life of a leader, Catholic ecclesiology, baptism in the Holy Spirit, and elements of a prayer meeting from members of the ICCRS and Franciscan University theology professor Dr. Alan Schreck, author of Your Life in the Holy Spirit. The courses are designed to answer a papal exhortation.

“Pope John Paul II, addressing the new movements at Pentecost in 1998, called all leaders of every movement to 'bring your members to a new ecclesial maturity,'" said ICCRS Leadership Conference organizer Jim Murphy. The goal of the courses is to bring "solid, orthodox charismatic teaching to the men and women of the renewal."

Emphasizing the importance of properly formed leaders in the Church, both lay and clerical, he said, "If a wolf kills a sheep, he gets the sheep. If the wolf kills a shepherd, he gets all the sheep."2

Murphy said that, out of all the current efforts by the ICCRS, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council on the Laity, was most excited about the anticipated fruits of the traveling Leadership Training Courses (LTCs).

The conference came to North America at the request of Bob Canton, the ICCRS representative to the English-speaking renewal in North and Central America and the Caribbean countries. We at ICCRS are your servants," Canton told participants. "Our purpose is to serve the Catholic charismatic renewal worldwide."

Franciscan University Chancellor Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, a pioneering leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal, served as the chaplain for the conference-goers. They attended daily Mass with the University community, had daily Eucharistic adoration, and enjoyed frequent opportunities for praise and worship. On Saturday evening, September 18th, the conference moved to the Urban Mission in downtown Steubenville for "Share the Good News! Evangelization & Healing Service," an ecumenical outreach to the local community.

Participants were very enthusiastic about the conference, sometimes making great sacrifices to attend. Al and Sally Smith, of Sacred Heart Parish in Oxford, Alabama, were one such couple. "In less than two weeks now, I have to go back to Iraq for nine months," said Al, a contractor who frequently serves extended tours in Iraq.

When asked what prompted him and his wife to spend some of their time together at the ICCRS conference, Sally immediately responded, "Love of our Lord, and the Vatican. This is a Vatican conference, the first time in North America, and we wanted to be a part of it….We waited 22 weeks instead of 14 weeks to see each other so we could come to this. It's a 'be there!' moment, you gotta 'be there!' "You feel God at this university very powerfully at all times," Sally added. " It's been fun to eat with the college kids. They talk about Jesus, they wear the Jesus clothes and jewelry, and you normally don't see that on a college campus."3

"And the love that you feel in the room, you can feel the Spirit alive among everybody in the room," said Al. Throughout the week, the Holy Spirit was credited with the gathering and success of the conference. "You've been brought together by the Holy Spirit," said Steubenville Bishop R. Daniel Conlon in his address to the conference. "But there's not just a need to draw people in, but also to send people out."

He challenged participants to take the fire of the Spirit with them to the wider Church and to the world. "So many members of the Church are dormant or asleep.

"Everyone in the Church is blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Many just don't know it or don't let them work. I like to think that as a member of the college of bishops, with the permission of the head, the pope, I can send you forth."

The next Steubenville Catholic Charismatic Conference will occur June 10-12, 2011. For more information, contact the Franciscan University Christian Outreach Office at (740) 283-6314or 1-800-437-8368, or visit

Used with permission Public Relations Franciscan University of Steubenville Posted Sep.24, 2010