Now is the time
What is the Spirit saying to the Church of Jesus Christ in this hour? Certainly there is a major call for a renewed fervency in prayer. The Church must continually come back to the Cenacle/Upper Room, to be enlightened again and again and burn like a Burning Bush. The Church is in need of continued renewal, to rekindle the “burning bush of the Spirit” which gave birth to it on the day of Pentecost. A Pentecost not only of a moment, of a day, but a permanent Pentecost, according to the intuition of the Blessed Elena Guerra who, at the end of the nineteenth century, urged Pope Leo XIII to lead the Church back to Cenacle of Jerusalem. Again as we crossed over the threshold of this new millennium, John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte challenged us, “Our Christian communities must become genuine “schools of prayer”. To the Renewal, he said, “put out into the deep of prayer in order to “put out into the deep of mission.”
The trumpet is being sounded and the call is being heard throughout all Christianity. It is a call to the whole people of God - a time to awaken from slumber - a time to be empowered anew by the Holy Spirit – a time to become anew - passionate adorers of the Lord and forceful instruments of intercession for the Church and the world.
Everywhere you turn you hear the call to prayer being proclaimed -- prayer for cities -- prayer for nations. Everywhere you look you see writings calling the people of God to intense adoration/worship and intercession. Now is the time -- many new prayer initiatives are being called forth, houses of prayer are springing up, prayer mountains are being established, prayer vigils are being held, each responding to this call.
In the last century, hundreds of millions in every part of Christianity have encountered God in a Cenacle experience of a personal Pentecost, “baptism in the Spirit”; a concrete experience of the “grace of Pentecost” in which the working of the Holy Spirit has become an experienced reality in our lives and in the faith community. In this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit have been poured out with great force. It has been a time of encounter and empowering for the people of God.
We are in a time where God is calling his people to return anew to the Cenacle not in nostalgia, not looking for the beginning experiences of the renewal but with a servant’s heart, a heart of knowing what it is to experience the power of God and His gifts in prayer. A time to go beyond what is so often our normal scope of prayer – family, friends, our group or community to pray with great fervor for the renewal of the heart and the Church of Jesus Christ, the unity of all Christians and the renewal of society and thereby “a renewal of the face of the earth (new evangelization and conversion of sinners).” These were the major themes of Blessed Elena’s call of prayer as she proclaimed, “The first well-spring of renewing action is prayer, which connects us with the Spirit of Christ who is “He who renews the face of the earth”; these are today’s themes.
Who is called you might ask? Would it surprise you if I said that this call to adoration and intercession is both a right and a duty for all of us? This is an important truth that we all need to comprehend. Each of us, by baptism, share in Christ’s priesthood in a unique way. We are all called to be adorers of God, to have a heart to heart relationship with Jesus. A powerful way to enter into this grace is by incessant adoration before the Blessed Sacrament united in contemplation of the Eucharistic Mystery. Jesus, as Priest, is interceding for us constantly. What is important to understand is that all intercession comes together at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of the powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit for prayer is the gift of tongues - using the gift of tongues in intercession is simply - a. present the intention for intercession to the Father in Jesus name. - b. Pray in tongues, normally by speaking not singing, until the intercession draws to an end naturally - c. Lastly, thank the Lord in faith that the perfect prayer to the Father for that intention was brought before the throne of God through this gift of the Holy Spirit. For surely the Spirit knows exactly how to pray through us for all intentions even when we do not know how to with our understanding. (Rom 8.26,27)
Now is the time for the Renewal to forcefully respond to the call of prayer and give strong witness of its rich experience of prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit. This major treasure, this vitality, should be set into motion in a variety of ways and with the greatest of intensity, mobilizing adorers and intercessors for the Church and the world in this great hour of crisis.
ICCRS newsletter May/June 2002; see http://iccrs.org
( © 2002)
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