Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

5/28/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We may experience the infilling of the Holy Spirit in a powerful, dramatic way. Or then again we may not

What is most important to remember is that within the Church and her sacraments the Holy Spirit is given to us in a solid, reliable and unfailing way. In baptism, confirmation, confession, the Eucharist the Holy Spirit is given, fulfilled, renewed and refreshed. It happens. It's a fact. It's real--whether we happen to feel the burning in our hearts or not.

My own personal life is merged with the Body of Christ the Church and therefore, my life which was once insignificant, comes to assume cosmic importance because it is part of a much greater whole, a small part in a greater symphony, a tiny orbit within the everlastingly complex whirling of the greater created order.

My own personal life is merged with the Body of Christ the Church and therefore, my life which was once insignificant, comes to assume cosmic importance because it is part of a much greater whole, a small part in a greater symphony, a tiny orbit within the everlastingly complex whirling of the greater created order.

Highlights

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/28/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


GREENVILLE, SC (Standing on My Head) - The iconography of the church often reveals startling reminders of the truths of the faith. When Pentecost is represented we most often see the tongues of flame descending on the heads of the Apostles, but we also see the apostles gathered around the Blessed Mother-reminding us that Pentecost is not just a personal experience, but a corporate experience. In our individualistic, sentimental society we tend to judge things according to the impact they have on us personally. We want the buzz. We want the experience. We want the 'personal encounter.' This is often the emphasis in religion as well. Whether it is charismatic renewal or new ecclesial movements that stress 'the encounter with Christ' or some Protestant experience based worship encounter, we look for the Holy Spirit baptism to be some sort of powerful, mystical, emotional, subjective experience. Nothing wrong with that necessarily. These kind of experiences are fine. We don't want to deny them or rule them out. However, we do need to be properly skeptical of them, for personal emotional religious 'experiences' may be the result of mental or emotional disturbances and they can be manufactured in all sorts of ways from illegal substances to shyster evangelists and cult leaders. The emotional, subjective 'Holy Spirit experiences' are all well and good, except that sometimes they're not well and they're certainly not good. In addition to having a proper scepticism about personal mystical, emotional religious experiences it is even more important to remember that the baptism of Holy Spirit is not just a personal religious encounter. More importantly, the Holy Spirit is the inspiration for the foundation of the Church. That is why, in the painting here, and in so much of the church's iconography, the scene is portrayed as it is--the apostolic church gathered together around the Mother of the Church--the Mother of God.
 
It is in this apostolic church--inspired by the Holy Spirit-- that our own individual encounter with the Burning Bush, the Burning Babe, the Dove Descending, the Fiery Cloudy pillar, the earthquake, wind and fire and the still, small voice makes sense and is validated. We may experience the infilling of the Holy Spirit in a powerful, dramatic way. Or then again we may not, and whether we do or not may simply have more to do with our personality type than anything else. What is most important to remember is that within the Church and her sacraments the Holy Spirit is given to us in a solid, reliable and unfailing way. In baptism, confirmation, confession, the Eucharist the Holy Spirit is given, fulfilled, renewed and refreshed. It happens. It's a fact. It's real--whether we happen to feel the burning in our hearts or not. This too is pictured in the painting above, for the bodies writhing in supernatural ecstacy are placed within the solid architecture of the church. Therefore the personal and the corporate, the subjective and the objective are both vital in the life of faith. My personal experience is grounded on the Rock, and if I experience anything that goes against the church or is not in union with the church, then I am deluded and I had better be careful lest I am led astray. Instead, my personal experiences are tested and tried-- refined and defined by Mother Church. And in this I humbly rejoice, for as my personal experience is subjected to the authority of the church, rather than my personal experience being suppressed or quashed, my personal experience is magnified, enhanced and taken up into a totally greater dimension.

My own personal life is merged with the Body of Christ the Church and therefore, my life which was once insignificant, comes to assume cosmic importance because it is part of a much greater whole, a small part in a greater symphony, a tiny orbit within the everlastingly complex whirling of the greater created order.
 
-----

Fr Dwight Longenecker is Chaplain to St Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina.  He was ordained under the pastoral provision for married former Anglican priests. Go to hiswebsite and connect to his popular blog, Standing on My Head.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Living Faith

The Parable of the Rich Man: Becoming Rich in What Matters To God

Image of

By Deacon Frederick K. Bartels

What leads to permanent and lasting happiness? As Jesus points out, becoming "rich in what matters to God" is the key. When we place God first, and love our neighbor as another self, we soon begin to experience a perceptible, lasting happiness that is not of this ... continue reading


Finding the Path to Peace Through Forgiveness Watch

Image of For he (Jesus) is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one Body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father- St Paul

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In 1999 I was a part of Project Reconciliation led by a true peacemaker, paralyzed police officer Detective Steven McDonald. This trip was a part of Steven McDonald's mission of preaching peace through forgiveness. It had the goal of helping to heal the wounds ... continue reading


Pope Paul VI closer to sainthood with beatification by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Paul VI cleaned house, abolishing the pontifical court and simplifying the Curia, the Vatican's administrative arm. Pope Francis is continuing his predecessor's effort to reform to this day.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis cleared the process for sainthood for Pope Paul VI after his beatification over the weekend. Pope Paul VI led the Catholic Church through internal reform during a tumultuous time of social and political change before his death in 1978. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


We Need Courageous Bishops: Ignatius of Antioch is a Model Watch

Image of Ignatius of Antioch - I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We need Bishops like Ignatius in this new missionary age of the Church. There is a literal assault on marriage and the family in much of the West. Yet, what the Church has to offer on the truth about marriage and the family paves the path to a future of true ... continue reading


Need a chapel? Pope Francis to rent Sistine Chapel for charity Watch

Image of Pope Francis is renting out the Sistine Chapel for charity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is renting out the Sistine Chapel for charity. The decision marks the first time that the chapel has ever been rented out for charity. It will be used for a private concert hosted by Porsche. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Vatican has announced ... continue reading


On World Food Day, a reminder of Pope Francis' mission for the Church Watch

Image of It's time to ensure that everybody has enough.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is World Food Day and we are all called to do what we can to feed others. This year's World Food Day falls during Pope Francis' 'Week of Action' where all Catholics are called to pray and act to feed the world's hungry. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Today, ... continue reading


Pope Francis: The only thing that counts for Jesus is 'faith working through love' Watch

Image of Pope Francis related former Jesuit leader Father Arrupe's lesson in humility in his recent talk.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis reiterated in his morning homily that faith is not about appearances and superficially following Church laws. The Pontiff said that God wants to see a faith that inspires action and is "working in charity" and making sacrifices for others. LOS ... continue reading


A Meditation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus: My Heart to Gods Heart Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, O burning furnace of divine Love, you are the symbol and summary of the whole mystery of our Redemption.  O mystery of mysteries, an infinite Love which no vessel can contain emptied itself into a finite human vessel of love-and so became ... continue reading


The next big thing for the Catholic Church is underway -- but you might not have heard about it... Watch

Image of The Church is closing on its goal to eradicate world hunger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Raise a voice for the hungry," Pope Francis tweeted in support of his 'Week of Action' to fight world hunger. From October 12-18, the 'Week of Action' is intended to bring awareness to Catholics about world hunger and to motivate them to actually do something about ... continue reading


Archbishop explains why Church will never condone homosexual behavior and that the West is pushing a gay agenda Watch

Image of Archbishop Zbigevs Stankevis.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Homosexual relationships destroy "the identity of the man and the identity of the woman," according to a Catholic Archbishop attending the Vatican's Synod of the Bishops. Archbishop Zbigevs Stankevis, has accused the U.S. and other countries of trying to promote a ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:12-22
12 do not forget, I say, that you were at that time ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
35 'See that you have your belts done up and your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2014 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter