Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Charismatic Movement

I've been reading Mark Mallett's blog posts about the Charismatic movement with interest lately.  I feel that I have an affinity for all things Charismatic.  This becomes difficult, however, when 1. you don't have much access to it and 2. you live with a bunch of people who have no interest in searching it out.

My husband, children and I have had various discussions over the years with the things I like and they don't like about things Charismatic.  I'm sure you can guess what they are because they're all pretty standard:

- Is this even really part of the Catholic church?
- Where is the reverence?
- Where is the silence?
- What's up with that music??

That is why I've been reading Mark's posts with interest.  I'm glad to see the movement explained and given some validity.  While I was reading the posts by Mark, I was struck by his statements that the sacrament of Confirmation should really be as it was during Pentecost:  meaning that we should expect to receive the Holy Spirit and all of His gifts and fruits and charisms just like the apostles did.  He made mention that when his sister and his daughter were Confirmed, they received the gift of tongues.  While I'm not going to debate about that particular gift, it made me think about how we've approached our Confirmation preparation in this household.

By the time the girls were ready to be Confirmed they all had a lot of book knowledge about the sacrament, but I began to think back to how much spiritual preparation they had...or didn't have.  I believe that the lack of spiritual preparation severely limited their reception of what God wanted to give them.  My eldest daughter said she remembered her Confirmation being a powerful and moving event.  The next two girls, due to an unusual set of circumstances, did not have much spiritual preparation.  Consequently neither of them had any powerful memories of their Confirmation.

Likewise, I was brought up in the Church and was Confirmed at the appropriate age, but I was of the generation that picked a Confirmation name because it sounded good with your given name, not because it signified a Saint that you wanted to emulate.  Therefore, I too do not have any great recollection of my Confirmation being a moving experience.  I remember going out for my first prime rib dinner.  Sad, but true...

Our next daughter is going to be Confirmed this year and I'm taking all of this as a wake-up call, an exciting call, to spend a lot more time spiritually preparing her to receive the Holy Spirit instead of just having the book knowledge.  I even believe that if myself and my other daughters prepare along with her, that we might be able to receive some of what we missed; even from the pew.  I am looking forward to really spending time in prayer leading up to this event and am excited about the possibility of a surge of the Holy Spirit within our household.

What are your thoughts on the Charismatic Movement?

Note: I reread what I wrote in this last paragraph and I'd like to clarify that I know we all received the fullness of the sacrament!  And while I know that a sacrament is valid even if you don't "feel" anything, I believe that by being better prepared spiritually the gifts received during that time would have been better manifested in us.  I hope that better clarifies what I was trying to say.


  1. I LOVE the music that is used in Charasmatic masses/prayers. It's fun and upbeat. But a lot of the just yelling out prayers kind of creeps me out..

    I feel the same way about confirmation. Most kids dont even know what is happening. So many ppl think it's when they receive the gifts (which isn't true). I too can remember picking a saint b/c I liked the name. I remember my mom telling me she went to catholic school and was confirmed in 4th grade bc the bishop only came once every 3 years (4,5,6 at once). They were unable to choose a saint all the girls got mary and all the boys got joseph (or something to that extent). They didn't even pick a sponsor there was an elderly couple that was the sponsor for everyone!

    Funny how things have changed :)

  2. I was there once. Looking back, I think that the charismatic meetings appealed more to the emotions than to the intellect. A good worship experience was usually characterized by whether one was moved emotionally or not - did one cry because one was so touched by the worship leader's words, o r felt a great elation because of the lively music? or 'convicted' by the words of the (and I say this with much care and trepidation) Holy Spirit chaneled through the worship leader? Charismatic meetings are a time to listen to Christian songs, i.e., they are nice alright but we need to be careful about their content vis-a-vis the teachings of our own faith. Although, most of the songs are, from experience, Bible based.

    Like many other groups, there would be nice people and not so nice people.

    In any case, the Charismatic group that I used to be with (it was a group for single professionals) was generally good for the people on the group. The group's many many activities took people out of more worldly entertainments. :-)

    But this is just my experience. Others may have a different view. :-)

  3. Wow, Beth Ann, that is unbelievable about your mom's experience. I'm glad things have at least gotten better in those regards (at least I think they have as a general rule:)

    Imelda, I can definitely see what you are saying. I never had any experience with a Charismatic prayer group, but it sounds like what I've heard other say. Thanks for sharing that.

  4. While I believe my love and zeal for God should be vibrant and I like that kind of music in the car, I would not feel comfortable in a Charasmatic Mass every Sunday. At Mass I want the silence and reverence, but I agree that it is appealing, outside of Mass, to be around those that are onfire for their faith.

    I want my Mass to look and feel traditionally Catholic. We need to reclaim our Catholic identity as so many seem to be lukewarm, some indifferent to it and some ill-informed as to what it means to be Catholic. How Catholics have voted is indicative of that. But I digress....

    I really wanted to tell you that I love your header photo and God bless your Confirmandi!

  5. Thank you, Allison! I agree with what you said, too! We've gone to the Tridentine Mass on occasion and it is indeed beautiful! I have a lot of friends who go to the Tridentine Mass on a regular basis, and, unfortunately some of them make others feel as though they are not really participating in the fulness of the Mass if they go to any other type of Mass. We are so blessed to have so many good and holy "options" within the Catholic Church!


    See above link for info on Mark Mallet.

  7. I spent many Friday nights in my middle and high school years going to Charismatic prayer meetings at our parish alongside my mom. LOVE the music, but often felt like an outsider when so many seemed to be speaking in tongues or having messages to share.

    I am one who is not so easily pegged into a single category. Love going to the Tridentine Mass and am blessed with a pastor who is now saying it every Friday when he is in town. I love how reverent of an environment you get with that Mass. But, I also love many contemporary hymns.

  8. Anon, I have read this before and, as with anyone, keep a measure of questioning in my mind. However, in this particular case he was writing about the Charismatic movement and not about a personal revelation.

  9. Yes, but in this case, I'd throw the baby out with the bathwater and err on the side of caution.