Life can be lonely for old folks who lives most of their days alone. Music helps and so does reading, and while waiting is what we do most days, some days are not able to pass quickly enough, so we have time to ask “ how do we spend time not self-consciously alone but in company with an invisible God, whose Presence indeed suffuses the entire world and universe but invisible just the same?
In two days, brothers and sisters from our charismatic community (the BCBP Chicago and BCBP Washington DC) will come to our house to prepare for our first BCBP Ohio Christian Life Program, and with the scheduled 4 days of talks at a local hotel and a Baptism in the Holy Spirit, can we then simply ask “ will the Holy Spirit descend on us in tongues of fire, and hand out his gifts?”
We are excited deep inside. We believe that God wants to pour out His Spirit on us and we also believe that worthiness is not the issue but that an openness and a repentant heart is what God desires.
In the prayer group called the Maryknoll Manila Prayer Group, when the modern beginnings of Philippine Charismatic groups some decades ago began with a message from the Holy Spirit that “You will be the Joy of my heart,” the Source of Joy of course continues to be active and present but can we still feel His Presence, as in tongues of fire?
We are excited. A priest from Cagayan de Oro ( our town, no less) will give the first talks here in Columbus and this has elicited both an eagerness and, for some, more than a raised eyebrows but even a comment that a non-member, even if a priest, is “outsider,” with all the connotations implied in that word. We, the planners, do not agree with this policy or this opinion.
For these reasons:
For while the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is alive and strong here in the US and Ohio, a home-grown “Charismatic tree,” Catholic, Pilipino and minority, is absolutely necessary in our being able to rethink our faith in indigenous categories. And who best to help us do this rethinking except one, in this case a Pilipino priest son of an OFW, but could also be laity, who is not only rooted in the cultural milieu of his listeners, who, in their search for an “out” from conditions of poverty at home, had since been uprooted from their own and must now adapt to a cultural milieu not their own?
In the words of Pilipino theologian Jose M. De Mesa, of Maryhill School of Theology, “ After all, it was only in Vatican II that the Church gained the possibility to be truly a world Church and to go beyond the confines of Jewish and Graeco-Roman cultures, and that only after practically twenty centuries.”
So, as an indigenous community “we are confronted with that enormous task of re-interpreting the Good News to our people in a fresh and intelligible way…realizing that “ by sincere and patient dialogue, the disciples of Christ can learn about the treasures a bountiful God has distributed among the nations of the earth.”
A priest, on the other hand, will help to plant and nurture this Charismatic Tree in Ohio, a tree growing two thousand years also in all parts of the world,
And one, which Father de la Costa says “ is a mighty tree, against which the storms and shocks that have leveled empires spend their force in vain. This is the Tree of Life of which The Lord said that its seed is the smallest indeed of all the seeds upon the earth, but growing, puts out great branches, so that birds of the air can dwell beneath its shade.”
Finally, it is our prayer, even as we wait for the prayer meeting at home this Saturday, after dinner, that birds of the same feather who shelter under this Tree of Lfe, may in God’s time and purpose, even become a Pilipino Parish, the cultural environment that will help us to flourish and grow in the fullness of our faith.
BCLP Schedule in Columbus Ohio:
Saturday March 10
8:30 – 5 PM. Four Points Hotel, Pilipino lunch and coffee & snacks will be served in all days
Sunday, March 11 8:30 -12 AM Four points Hotel
Saturday March 24 8:30 – 5 PM. Four Points. Baptism in the Holy Spirit Venue to be Announced
Sunday March 25 8:30 -5 PM. Four Points
Late registrants welcome.