He speaks about the occasion of celebrating the Jubilee of the CCR. He has some challenging words for communities and their leaders.
At the Catholic Fraternity meeting, Dan Almeter of the Alleluia Community was re-elected as our CFNA rep on the Fraternity Council (English Speaking Fraternity Communities in North America), and Gilberto Barbosa was re-elected President for another three-year term.
Here is Shayne’s “Prayer of Surrender” with which he concluded his talk:
Jesus Christ, Our Lord, You have called us, and just as You walked along the shore of Galilee and recognized your Apostles and called them by name, so you call us by name, and You invite us not only to follow You but to journey with You through your Cross and Resurrection. And Jesus, today we want to prepare ourselves for all that You have in mind for our future, for the future of the Charismatic Renewal, for the future we will live in our Communities. Jesus, we want to surrender to You once again today, and to surrender not in our own strength but in the strength of Your Holy Spirit. Jesus, I invite You to be my Lord. I want to turn away from all of those things that would capture my attention more than You, that You would be the central figure in my life, that You would be the central figure in the life of my Community, [The People of God], that it is to You that we would give obedience, that it is You who would guide us through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Jesus, we surrender to You.
As a result of the recent election held in Assisi — and attended by Jim & Valerie Gialanella — the new President of the Catholic Fraternity is Gilberto Barbosa, who is a leader in the Asociaçao Comunidade Obra de Maria (OPUS MARIAE) in Brazil.
In order to help their members grow in their ability to live out their Community’s founding charism (“Receptivity and Commitment to the Person and Culture of the Holy Spirit, particularly in Covenant Love”), The City of the Lord Community is promoting a unique and intriguing program: The Bucket [Spiritual] Exercise Workout Program. Read the details here.
The front page of the website of the Alleluia Community currently carries an essay written by a couple in the Community. It’s thought-provoking, so I posted it here for future reference, since it will eventually be replaced by something else on the Alleluia webpage.
By Jonathan and Sharon Cosper
The Holy Spirit has been exhorting the two of us to deepen in simplicity. A word we have been repeatedly receiving in our prayer time over the past few months has been: “You are close. If you want to come closer, you must become simpler. You have too many things that keep you from hearing My voice and seeing My face.”
And this is the picture that one of us received to go along with it: Jesus is standing on one side of a large room with me on the other. All of my things, whatever they may be (physical, emotional, social), are lined up single-filed between Him and me. The more I have, the further I am from Him.
We believe we are being asked two questions: What are we willing to give up in order to come closer to the Lord? What are we willing to give up in order to hear and see the Lord? And then there is encouragement, because once we have given up enough, we will be able to reach out and touch Him and then, eventually, we will be embraced.
The following is taken from a prophecy that was given at a conference in the early days of community:
“In order to be able to hear Me, you simply must be willing to give up everything. My plan cannot succeed through a mixture of your desires and My word to you. You must give up everything. I know what this means to you. For those of you who are young, it means laying down before me the choices for your very life. For those of you who are older, it means laying before me the entire life you have built over the years.”
Jesus says to Martha, “You are anxious and worried about many things” (Luke 10:41). Jesus never says these many things are sin, but maybe they do or can keep us from becoming closer to Him. The nature of many things in itself lends to distraction and divided attention. It seems He is not bringing her correction but encouraging her to become simpler, as her sister Mary is. He continues, “There is need of only one thing” (42). He never says Martha does not have the “one thing,” just that she has many. We can love and serve the Lord, even if we have those many things, but Jesus says, “Mary has chosen the better part” (42). It is better to put aside the many things of this world so that we can fully focus on the Lord, hear His voice, see His face, and sit at His feet as Mary did.
As we have studied intentional simplicity and observed the many examples of people who live it, we have found it to be tied directly to abandonment, stewardship, and generosity.
We have to be willing to abandon all our things, whatever they may be (physical, emotional, social) to the Lord. This means relinquishing or renouncing any interest, claim, privilege, or right we believe we have to any of those things with the intent to never again resume or reassert it. It is no longer our “thing” but the Lord’s. This way, it can no longer exist as a distraction and burden and should therefore cause us no anxiety or worry.
This passage is from the book On Living Simply by John Chrysostom:
“The art of being poor in spirit is to distinguish between use and ownership. A person who owns something — or regards himself as owner — believes he has the sole right to determine how that thing is used. He may use it himself or authorize another person to use it. But this sense of ownership is a terrible snare, because it prevents a person’s soul from marching onward to God. The person who wishes to move toward God must free himself from all sense of ownership. He must regard all things as loans from God, even the things which he himself owns. A loan is to be used for a period, and then paid back. This is precisely how we should regard our houses and fields, clothes and furniture; they are loans which God grants us for our short span on earth, to be repaid at the moment of death. To be poor in spirit does not mean to be destitute, lacking in even the basic comforts and necessities. It means to regard nothing as your own, and everything you have as a temporary loan.”
If we do this and believe fully that we are giving up our ownership of these things, we will then develop a mindset of stewardship. We will feel a responsibility to take care of all these things that the Lord has loaned to us.
And then, of those things that the Lord calls us to be generous with, we will give freely and eagerly. Jesus says, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up … for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come” (Luke 18:29). Our heart will be open and excited to give of all the things we have.
The Alleluia Rule of Life states that we will be faithful to a monthly budget and living within our means. One of the Ten Words is “Owe no man.” Living by these rules will give us the ability to be generous with what we have, while avoiding giving what we really do not have, and foster a life of Christian simplicity.
If we abandon our things to the Lord, He is free to use them as He pleases. He will see us as His stewards ready to serve Him to the best of our ability. When He calls us to be generous and give up any of these things, then we will do it freely and without reserve as the poor widow gave of her two coins (Mark 12:41-44). Through these choices we draw close enough to be embraced by Him.
A quote from The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila helps the two of us keep an eternal perspective and focus on simplicity:
“Above all else, help me always to remember that I have only one soul, that I have only one short life that must be lived by me alone, that I have only one death to die, and that there is only one glory that is eternal. If I do this, as you have promised, there will be many things I will not care about at all.”
What things are we holding on to? Who is the owner of our vineyard?
Jonathon and Sharon Cosper have been underway members of the Alleluia Community since April 2011. They are both second-generation members and alumni of Alleluia Community School. Jonathon is an accountant/controller and Sharon is an occupational therapist. They have been married for four years, have two daughters and attend St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church in Augusta, Georgia.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to send a representative to this event. But we can still pray for its success!
Here’s the link to the video of the entire vigil program.
(click the “Video on Demand” tab)
A summary of the address of Pope Francis to the ecclesial movements, which was done in a question-and-answer format (four primary questions, prepared in advance).
Pope Francis’ homily at Mass on Pentecost.
Pope Francis’ Regina Caeli address on Pentecost Sunday, which includes an affirmation of the ecclesial movements.
Here. (look near the lower left corner)
Looks like Val in the upper left of this one.
They’re near the upper right in this one.
Almost dead-center here.
Here‘s Val just a tad right of center. Jim must have levitated out of camera view.
And a last one with Val hidden but Jim visible slightly southwest of center.
Just found this bigtime close-up from the Meeting with the Bishops!
Speaking of Scripture is a fairly new Catholic blog offering insights into God’s written word. One of the contributors is Dr Mary Healy, who previously served as Coordinator of the Mother of God Community, now a member community of the Catholic Fraternity. Lately, Dr Healy has been living in the Detroit area while she teaches at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. I look forward to being inspired by Dr Healy and the other contributors to this new Catholic blog.
An International Colloquium on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is being held in Rome March 17th-20th. Representatives from several of the CFNA Communities are participating in it. Your prayers are requested!
Update 01 Apr 2011: Zenit summary.
David Peterman Sr, of the Christian Community of God’s Delight in Texas, recently sent us this masterwork, accompanied by this introduction:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am attaching a PDF file that I have just completed that provides in summary form easy access to authoritative sources in English of the official position of the Catholic Church regarding the worldwide Catholic Charismatic Renewal and its Covenant Communities. Using historical event dates for each document with highlight quotes and connecting dialogue, it traces the historic development of the official position of the Church over the past century through the official statements of the Popes and authorized bishops as the Pentecostal revival was birthed and has matured, especially in the past 20 years. This document was envisioned at the time of my Catholic Fraternity History document from last year’s Conference as a complementary reference to our history. (History document is available on request.)
I hope that you will be able to at least read the summary statements so you can see how fully the Renewal is at the heart of the Church’s prayer and hopes for renewal and continuing its mission to evangelize the nations. I encourage those who can to use the embedded hyperlinks to read some of the more important documents themselves. It is an awesome thing to fall into the hands of the Living God, and these documents clearly say we have!
Many, many thanks, David!!
At this link, you can view the talks from the Catholic Fraternity North American Regional Leaders’ Conference.
Simply fascinating! Here’s the website of a branch of a Philippine community – a member-community of the Fraternity, too! – operating just a few hours from us. The world is getting smaller and smaller.