The idea for this  post came to me this morning at mass.  A couple of days ago I wrote about the baptism in the Spirit, using a talk I gave some years ago.  Today I feel the need to add more of an overall picture.  Through  the years I have read and heard many testimonies about the difference the baptism in the Spirit makes in the lives of Christians.

What does the Catholic Church say about the charismatic renewal?  Watch this video for an overview.    Look especially at the face of John Paul  II in 1981 before he says, “Long life for the Charismatics” and listen to the praising in tongues afterwards!

Please read in your bible  about the happenings at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21).   The people in the upper room were already Christians, already followers of Jesus.   But Jesus knew they needed more and promised to send the Spirit.  Re-read  Acts 2 and try to convince yourself that the baptism in the Spirit was not both needed and effective.  Then ask yourself whether it  is needed  today.   We read:  “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…..”

How and where are people being led to the Lord and filled with the Spirit  in these latter days?

There has been an explosive growth of Christianity in South Korea where Paul Yonggi Cho, a charismatic, heads the largest church in the world in Seoul. One-third of South Koreans are now Christian. 

The fastest growth of Christianity is taking place in Africa, with 390 million Christians, more than three times that of 35 years ago, so that now Christianity is the faith of the majority. In the 20th century, Africa went from a Catholic population of 1.9 million in 1900 to 130 million in 2000. Satellite TV has been very influential in Africa along with the ministries of various evangelists such as Benny Hinn and Reinhard Bonnke (both charismatics). Benny Hinn has led tens of thousands to the Lord in India and around the world.

The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is the largest Christian television  network in the United States, under the leadership of charismatics Jan and Paul Crouch since 1973.

God.TV was started by Wendy and Rory Alec (both charismatics) in 1995 and now broadcasts from the foot of Mt. Zion in Israel to over 400 million people 24/7 (on channel 365 in the US  (DirecTV).   Going to more than 200 countries and territories, they are literally broadcasting to the ends of the earth.

The Christian Broadcasting Network ( leads people to the Lordship of Jesus internationally.   CBN was started by Pat Robertson, a charismatic, in 1960, with $70 and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Another TV network, EWTN, now international, was brought into being by a simple tongue-speaking nun, Mother Angelica. I’ll bet that today, even at 85, despite her incapacities,  she still has that twinkle as she looks back on the wonders  God has worked through her.

In a country where universities with Catholic origins harbor dissident priests, coddle homosexuals, invite fallen-away Catholics to speak, and showcase such things as Vagina Monologues, we are blessed with Franciscan University (Steubenville, Ohio) which has grown dramatically under the leadership of Father Michael Scanlon, a charismatic.

I see the working of the Holy Spirit in these people, even those who are not yet Catholic. They are doing amazing things and they claim they did it with the help of God’s Spirit. Before His death, Christ prayed, “That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you….” (John 17: 21). I pray we are headed toward a time when all may be one in the Spirit. It will surely happen – because Jesus prayed for it!

Most of us should not expect so many fireworks — so much recognition —  in our careers.  But we should all have some fire in the belly, a glowing ember inside,  that tells us God is working in us and we are part of an alive body of Christ, equipped to serve.

Once again, the invitation:  Is God your Father? Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior? Then why not ask Jesus to give you more of His Spirit with an openness to any gifts he has for you? What could you lose except your resistance to the will of God for you? What could you gain? God is just waiting to  give good things to willing, open, yielded souls.  Dare to trust!

Popes Paul VI and John Paul II both blessed the charismatic renewal  but said that it will fulfill its purpose only when, like the early liturgical movement, it ceases to have a separate identity of its own and is absorbed into the whole Church. In other words, every Catholic should be a charismatic, baptized in the Spirit, empowered like the apostles.

It is needed now, more than ever.   Jesus is the one who sends the Holy Spirit.   The Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.  — Luke 11:9-13.


Long life for the charismatics.  —  John Paul II, 1981.

Open yourselves docilely to the gifts of the Spirit.   Accept gratefully and obediently the charisms which the Spirit never ceases to bestow on us.  Do not forget that every charism is given  for the common good, that is for the benefit of the whole Church.  — John Paul II, 1998