Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 8, 2007
Bishop sees charismatics as success story
But Jacobs asks if members are too focused on themselves
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"Have we been missionaries witnessing the truth or have we chosen to remain wandering in our prayer circles?"
- Bishop Sam Jacobs
Catholic Renewal Services of Edmonton organized the Sept. 28-29 conference, which attracted some 500 people. The event also included prayers, Sunday Mass and healing services.
Jacobs changed his speech to focus on the 40th anniversary of the movement, which he said was brought to life by the Spirit of God "so that in the power of the Spirit we may bring the truth of God's love for the world in need of that truth."
In his presentation the bishop wondered aloud if the movement has been faithful to God during the past 40 years.
"Have we unconditionally stepped out in faith on the promises of God?" he asked. "Have we been missionaries witnessing the truth or have we chosen to remain wandering in our prayer circles, caring for ourselves, rather than trusting and acting on his promises?"
One thing is for sure. During the past four decades the renewal has gone through internal and external trials and difficulties, including division and scandal, which Jacobs deduced "were not divinely inspired."
"If we are going to be infused with the graces of these 40 years we must know and embrace anew what God is asking of us and what is his mission for us," the bishop said. "We have to be faithful to the call of God that his people be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Bishop Sam Jacobs
From the beginning, one of the strengths of the charismatic renewal has been its continuous desire to be at the heart of the Church, Jacobs said. He noted that Pope Paul VI acknowledged and affirmed this desire, calling it "an authentic sign of the action of the Holy Spirit."
In 1987 Pope John Paul II also reaffirmed the movement calling on its members to seek always the deepening of communion with the whole Church - with its pastors and teachers as well as with the doctrinal and the sacramental life of the entire people of God.
"For 40 years we have done just that," said Jacobs. "We have situated ourselves at the (heart) of the Church and what a Church! Since this is God's vision, we will remain at the service of the Church.
"It is not out of arrogance but out of understanding of the plan of God that we believe that the charismatic renewal is one of the many ways God is renewing the Church in this present moment in history. He is using this as a means to renewal."
In May 1998, Pope John Paul, speaking at an international conference for Catholic charismatic leaders in Rome, acknowledged that much: "The Catholic charismatic renewal has helped many Christians to rediscover the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, in the life of the Church and in the world; and this rediscovery has awakened in them a faith in Christ filled with joy, a great love of the Church and a generous dedication to her evangelizing mission."
The Church's mission is to proclaim Christ to the world and the charismatic renewal movement has been sharing effectively that mission insofar as its groups and communities are rooted in local churches.
"This has been our mission for these 40 years and will continue to be our focus in the new springtime," Jacobs said.
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