I grew up going to Novus Ordo Masses which, to me and my family, was just “Mass.” I did not know about all the right terms for the different expressions of Catholic faith, but I knew who the Holy Spirit was and I knew that I had a personal relationship with God Himself. I credit this not only to my family’s example and our Catholic community, but also to the ecumenical Christian community we were a part of.
This community, affirmed by Pope Saint John Paul II, helped to shape me not only through the friendships, examples and schooling it provided, but it also allowed me to develop a more personal relationship with the Lord. On Sunday mornings, I learned to revere God as King and Jesus as Savior through the Mass, and on Sunday afternoons, I learned to love God as Father, Jesus as Brother and the Holy Spirit as Counsellor through charismatic prayer ser- vices. I learned to participate in the life of the Trinity in a new way. Those services and the community involved taught me how to engage with the Holy Spirit and truly, warmly, joyfully and personally fall in love with the God whose majesty I saw so clearly in the Mass.
While praise and worship with raised hands and Spirit-filled tongues may not help everyone learn to know and love God better, I was surprised and disappointed when I came to UD and saw that many people were hesitant if not completely opposed to the idea of charismatic prayer. I heard some say that it was “too Protestant” and others that it “looked cultish.” While I understand having these concerns, especially if one has not participated in it before or has participated in it with poor leaders, I hope that every Catholic, every person, gets the chance to participate in charismatic prayer done well. Growing up with the reverent order of the Mass and the spontaneous joy of charismatic prayer as separate but complementary things has allowed me to develop a much more personal relationship with the Lord, and I can’t help but hope to share that opportunity with others.