As I sit looking outside, I see the mesquites, the trees, and the desert plants blowing in the heavy winds. My husband is out feeding the animals and I can imagine the hay is blowing all around. It’s not an easy job in the wind. But as I watch I think about Pentecost and how the Holy Spirit blew in and changed the apostles’ lives completely.
Pentecost is the birthday of the Church
“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues.” Acts 2: 2-4
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. I just saw an article in the Juarez diocesan newspaper, “Presencia,” with a photo of Fr. Rick Thomas in it. I didn’t realize that the people in Juarez consider Fr. Thomas as the one who brought the Charismatic Renewal to Juarez. That was cool to know.
The Charismatic Renewal changed my life
When I was 16 years old, my mother introduced me to a youth prayer meeting in Phoenix, AZ where I lived at the time. One night the youth and the leaders all prayed over me for the Holy Spirit to come and stir up what I had received at Baptism. Well He came all right. It was like a mighty wind even though it was not a physical wind. I have never been the same since. I felt a fire in my heart and the love of God in my spirit, and I could not stop crying. The first fruit was I went home and told my mom how much I loved her, (something I didn’t normally do).
Beginning that night, I started reading the Bible on my own, sharing Jesus with others, loving those at home better, and singing and praising God. My goals in life changed. I had a strong desire to be a missionary. This desire took me (when I was 18) to work in an orphanage near Mexico City for a year. From there I came to The Lord’s Ranch Community with Fr. Rick Thomas where I have remained for the past 40 years. That’s the Holy Spirit, not me.
When the Holy Spirit rushes in, everything blows around
If I open the windows right now in this wind storm, papers and other objects would blow all around the room. It would be a mess. The Holy Spirit shakes us up and moves us to do things we would never have imagined doing. It has been such an exciting life. Of course there have been many difficult trials along the way, but God never said we would be trial-free. No, Jesus clearly says pick up your cross and follow me. That’s how we grow up.
Meanwhile through a prayer group in Rhode Island, the Holy Spirit blew into Mike Halloran’s (my now husband) life at a time when he had been smoking marijuana daily for 7 years. When the Holy Spirit came in, he never smoked it again. He eventually ended up on The Lord’s Ranch, and we have been married for 37 years.
We still invite the Holy Spirit in daily. We pray, “We need more Holy Spirit. Continue to blow on in and do whatever you want to do, even if it rattles our comfort zone.” The same Holy Spirit keeps on coming and is full of surprises.
I am grateful for the Charismatic Renewal and how the winds of the Spirit continue to gust. If you want, you can give him permission to blow in your life.
Just hold on to your hat!