Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Novena for Pentecost: Baptism in the Spirit and prayer, Scripture and the Sacraments

People who have been baptised in the Spirit typically manifest a great love for Scripture, expressed in Bible studies and an anxiety to read the Scriptures in order to discover a relevance that can guide in every day life. Teaching is often strongly biblical in character. Again, while this faithfulness to Scripture is a feature of the Renewal, it also reflects something that can be seen in the wider life of the Church - for example the "Gospel Questions and Inquiries" of Fr Bernard Basset SJ, with their "see, judge, act" structure, and the meditations of the Spiritual Exercises.

Alongside this faithfulness to Scripture there is also a renewed awareness of the presence of Christ in the sacraments of the Church, particularly the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Attending Mass and participating in prayer in the presence of the Eucharist are features of the Renewal. Again, the growth in Eucharistic Adoration and the frequenting of the Sacrament of Penance can be seen in other aspects of Catholic life, the events of recent World Youth Days being a prominent example.

For many, certainly in the early days, the main means of contact with the Renewal was through taking part in the regular meetings of a local prayer group. This is an event that moves the experience of prayer to less a matter of routine (though, in itself, that is not a bad thing) towards more a spontaneous response of love and gratitude to God and a confidence in his grace in providing for all our needs.

If we want to understand how Baptism in the Spirit gives rise to a particular style of life in the Church, it is important to place all three of these elements (appreciation of Scripture, sacramental life, prayer group) together and to see, for example, the life of a prayer group in its orientation towards the liturgical celebrations in which its members also participate. 

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