A New Season of the Spirit
by Michelle Moran
As President of ICCRS [International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services] I am often asked to share something about the present
reality of CCR in the world and where I see the Lord leading us in the future. In Revelation 2:7 there is the encouragement to
'listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Church'.
So what is the Holy Spirit saying to us in CCR at this time? This year marks the 50th anniversary of when Pope John XXIII prayed his famous prayer 'renew your wonders in this our day as by a new Pentecost'. The prayer was accompanied by the encouragement to join with the disciples in constant prayer (Acts 1:14).
At the same time as the Church was being renewed through Vatican II, we saw the emergence of Catholic Charismatic Renewal in USA. Those early years were characterized by a new freedom in the Spirit. There were deep conversions and lives were changed as people received baptism in the Holy Spirit and entered into a 'personal relationship' with Jesus.
When the Israelites were set free from captivity in Egypt they were released into the desert where they remained for 40 years. This was the place of their training and formation. During this time some people fell away either due to sin, lack of perseverance or other distractions. We have seen this in CCR during our short 40 year history. After the desert the Lord led them to the banks of the river Jordan where they could see the Promised Land. I sense that this is where we are at this moment. We are on the threshold of a new season of the Spirit. We need to prepare to cross the Jordan, enter and take possession of the land that the Lord has promised us.
In order to embrace the new season we need to be a people of vision so that we can keep growing and moving forward. Proverbs 29:18, has several English translations eg, 'without a vision the people perish'. CCR is either growing or dying; we can't stand still. In some parts of the world Renewal is dynamic and vibrant. I still have many fond memories, of the ICCRS 'love in action' conference in S. Korea. Clearly in that nation CCR is a strong current grace flowing from their deep commitment to intercessory prayer. This grace is made visible through the mission that the Holy Spirit has put into their hearts and there are many projects and services undertaken by those involved in Renewal. In contrast, in some parts of the world it seems that Renewal is perishing, it has grown old and tired and people seem to spend more time nostalgically looking back at what the Lord did in the past than moving forward into the new things that the Lord has in store for them.
Another translation of the verse is, 'without a vision people become rebellious'. In the early days of CCR, we saw the Lord do many wonderful things in our midst. Thankfully this is still happening in many places. I think of the courageous evangelization project in the Amazon and the creative outreach to university students currently being undertaken by CCR in Brazil. However, rather than developing a deeper dependence upon the Lord, we have sometimes become rebellious, taken control and done our own things. This blocks the Holy Spirit and we fail to carry out his perfect will. As St Paul warned the Galatians, 'what began in the Spirit has ended in the flesh' (Gal 3: 3).
A third translation of Proverbs 29:18 reads, 'without a vision the people get out of hand'. It seems that when we lack future orientation things become stale then it is easy for us to become inward looking and for our energy to become diverted. As a result, we may begin to compete with, judge or criticise other groups and realities in the Renewal. Why are there so many tensions, divisions, and relationship problems in the CCR when one of the main characteristics of the Holy Spirit is unity? Clearly there is a need for repentance and reconciliation. Our pride, squabbling, and immature behavior have led to the whole body becoming weaker. We must beg the Lord for forgiveness, and ask him to change our hearts. Then we will be able to move forward with vision in unity.
I sense that at this time of transition there is a strong call to deep intercession. Many battles are won in prayer. Through intercession, God can change the destiny of a nation. He can give us the insight, courage and ability to act decisively and strategically so that his Kingdom is advanced. As we journey towards the golden jubilee of CCR in 2017, we need to be guided step by step.
So, ICCRS is holding 'the road to Pentecost' intercession event in Assisi 19th-23rd May 2010. Like Joshua we need to have the faith and confidence to claim our rightful inheritance and to undo the works of the enemy. Be ready then to embrace this new season with courage and enthusiasm. Our God is doing new things and we need to be open to the surprises of the Spirit.
With Permission: ICCRS [International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services] Newsletter – October-December 2009.