Five years ago today, on the feast of St Joseph, I received ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’. This is a phrase found several times in the New Testament but I have yet to find a commentary that mentions it. Those who are involved in Charismatic events will be familiar with it, others may not.
I do not intend to explore it in theological terms, I have kept that pleasure for my book which is now available in print or as an eBook from Amazon.
However, for me, the event was the moment in my spiritual life when I decided to hand everything over to God, put Him in charge and allow Him to use me in any way that He wished. It was a moment when I received a great outpouring of grace and felt the Holy Spirit had begun to do things in me and through me.
Before that moment, I had done all the things cradle Catholics do: attend Mass, receive the sacraments, be active in my parish, bring our children up as Catholics etc. But I lacked something and had no idea what that was.
From the moment I received this grace, I felt God’s presence. Those around me sang in tongues and the sound was heavenly. I began to speak to people at work about my faith (I was a Poice Officer and this was not the best environment for talking about God!) But I noticed that people, including Police Officers with many years’ service and even a military background would come to me and unexpectedly pour out their troubles. I also found I had a great thirst for knowledge and embarked on a Masters in Theology! I read and continue to read many books, the list includes:
- David Wilkerson, ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’
- Nicky Cruz, ‘Run Baby Run’
- Cardinal Suenes trilogy ‘The Holy Spirit: Life-breath of the Church
- Fr Pat Collins, ‘Gifted and Sent’
- Fr Pat Collins, ‘Preparing to Pray’
- Francis A, Sullivan SJ, ‘Charisms and the Charismatic Renewal’
- Alan Shrek, ‘Rebuild My Church’
- Monsignor Peter Hocken, ‘Blazing the Trail’
- Monsignor Peter Hocken, ‘Church Forward’
- Cyril John, ‘Spurred by the Spirit’
- David Payne, ‘Dare to Believe’
- Pope Benedict XVI, ‘Light of the World’
- William Young, ‘The Shack’
- Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., ‘Sober Intoxication of the Spirit
- David Payne, ‘Alive’
- Francis MacNutt, ‘The Prayer that Heals’
- Fr Pat Collins C.M., ‘He Has Annointed Me’
- Charles Whitehead, ‘Pentecost is for Living’
- ‘The Confessions of St Augustine’
- ‘The Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas’
and many more. I would recommend them all!
I became an ‘active’ Christian, I wanted to take out the message of Jesus Christ to anyone who would listen. I had a new courage, a new boldness and became involved in ‘Healing on the Streets’ and, of course, started this blog.
I try to read the Bible each day and pray, sometimes using the formal prayers I learnt as a child, especially the Rosary and follow the ‘3 minute retreat online whenever I can.
None of this has come about through my own power, it is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I experience ‘dessert moments’ when I feel nothing of God’s presence and five years after the original outpouring of God;s grace, i still have no idea what direction my life is travelling in.
But I love Jesus and trust in the Lord to direct me through the power of the Holy Spirit, I trust that He knows my ultimate destination, that He has a plan which I am part of but may never fully understand and that I am carrying out His will to the best of my ability – most days!
On the fifth anniversary, I share this personal reflection with any who care to read in the hope that you too may experience the joy of the living Lord in your lives.
God bless you all!