What is Charismatic Spirituality?
We are familiar with many different spiritualities: Benedictine, Carmelite, Dominican, Franciscan, Holy Cross, Jesuit, Marian, Pauline, Vincentian. There are spiritualities for priests, religious, contemplatives, families, singles for Christ, missionaries, social ministries, various professions, and the like. These various spiritualities provide scriptural norms for spiritual maturity in these specialized lifestyles. We are grateful to the Holy Spirit for these spiritualities which are approved and are embraced by many disciples.
We must keep in mind that these various spiritualities presuppose and are built on the sacraments of initiation and the spirituality of the Christian life. A Christian's life like the life of Christ is led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. "Charismatic" means something initiated by the Holy Spirit or someone cooperating with the Holy Spirit. A "charismatic" spirituality is the Pentecostal spirituality initiated by the Holy Spirit for all Christians. It is not one spirituality among many; it is the spirituality of the Christian life, of the Catholic Church and of all her members.
It is not optional to Christian maturity. It should be the foundation of every other spirituality!
The promise of the Father is for every person called to be a disciple of Jesus!
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I [the Father] will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my Spirit." (Joel 2:28–29)
"And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
"And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, 'you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit'." (Acts 1:4–5; also found in each Gospel!)
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth". (Acts 1:8)
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance". (Acts 2:1,4)
"Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise [of the Father] is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.'" (Acts 2:37–39)
"Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" (Acts 10:47)
"As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:15–17)
"In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory". (Ephesians 1:13–14)
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us . . . that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith". (Galatians 3:13–14)
This Spirit-led spirituality is for all.
"We serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit". (Romans 7:6)
"If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, 'Abba! Father! ' It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God". (Romans 8:13–16)
"Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord". (Romans 12:11)
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope". (Romans 15:13)
"Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says 'Jesus be cursed!' and no one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:3)
"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30)
"Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication". (Ephesians 6:18)
"But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me." (John 15:26)
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you." (1 Peter 1:1–2)
The Apostles assume the Spirit will have a continuing influence on us as He did on Jesus. Recognizing, embracing and cooperating with the role of the Holy Spirit in our Christian life is integral to our life as daughters and sons of the Father in Jesus Christ. This cooperation with the Spirit requires more than receiving Baptism and Confirmation; we must be attentive to this Divine Person. We develop a humble and receptive reliance on this Person who wants us to be co-responsible with Him. This collaboration with the Holy Spirit is not optional but is inherent in our Christian maturity, no matter what vocation or responsibilities or ministries or offices we may have in the Church. For all eternity the Spirit is at the heart of the Divine Life. If we have a share in that Divine Life, the Spirit must be at the heart of our lives in Christ. A charismatic spirituality is the divinely decreed spirituality for the Church and for every member of the Church.
Does a charismatic spirituality mean we have to dance and clap and enthusiastically praise the Lord with raised arms and even pray in tongues?
No, that type of worship is not absolutely necessary for salvation. The Holy Spirit does not force us to do anything. We must freely accept His many gifts, including the worship and spiritual joy that impact our bodies. It is interesting that as people surrender to the Holy Spirit, their experience of God becomes more real and they gradually express their new experiences in spirit and soul and body. These expressions may involve bodily emotions and feelings, but they are rooted in an interior spiritual joy and freedom granted by the Spirit. As you attentively read God's revealed word, you will find scriptural norms for worshiping in spirit and soul and body:
"Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!" (Psalm 47:1)
"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!" (Psalm 98:4)
"And David danced before the LORD with all his might". (2 Samuel 6:14)
"Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness." (Psalm 30:11)
"Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with timbrel and lyre!" (Psalm 149:3)
"Praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!" (Psalm 150:4)
"Hear the voice of my supplication, as I cry to thee for help, as I lift up my hands toward thy most holy sanctuary." (Psalm 28:2)
"So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name". (Psalm 63:4)
"Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the Lord!" (Psalm 134:2)
"Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven." (Lamentations 3:41)
"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling". (1 Timothy 2:8)
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1,4)
We choose to grow in this Charismatic Spirituality!
The Catholic Church is both institutional and charismatic. A charismatic spirituality is the spirituality of the Church. It is irreplaceable. And the Spirit is renewing this dimension in the Church and in each one of us. Praise God! Led by the Spirit, the Charismatic Renewal is bringing nothing new to the Church but is helping its members appreciate their God-given heritage within the Church. Let's release the Holy Spirit in our lives!
When a family or parish or diocese embraces this charismatic spirituality, it becomes a life-giving lifestyle for that community. In that lifestyle each member supports others and is supported by others in this charismatic spirituality - for the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.