The heart of the Christian life is all about deeper surrender to Jesus Christ. Its not as easy as it sounds. There is more to this than just saying Jesus I surrender to you. Every facet of our life needs to be submitted to the Lord. When I think of all the grace I have received and I am so disappointed at how much of myself I still need to give over to the Lord but each day we must all look at what we have not yet surrendered to God and work to give Him everything.

Below I have listed things that have really helped me along the way. As each of these things we incorporated into my life I saw more and more progress against certain sins, faults, attitudes and failings. I hope they will help you as well.

  1. The Charismatic Renewal. The renewal, at its heart, is all about total surrender to God. In the renewal you learn to use all your faculties to praise and submit to God. There is so much freedom and surrender in using your bodies to praise God. In many ways it is incomprehensible to worldly minds.
  2. The Preparation for Total Consecration by St. Louis De Montfort. I first said these prayers as a freshman in high school and I have renewed them many times since. It is a great and profound way to give yourself to Christ.
  3. Memorizing Scripture. Many battles for deeper surrender will take place in the mind. Why not fill your head with the Word of God so that it will be fruitful soil for God’s Word made flesh?
  4. The Brown Scapular. I have no way of proving this but I truly believe that besides mass and confession the brown scapular has been the single most efficacious spiritual tool in my life. I believe there were many sins in my life that I would still be slave too if I had never clothed myself in Our Lady‘s garment.
  5. Obedience to a schedule. Time must be surrendered to God as well. Pray hard and then make a schedule and submit yourself to that schedule each day in hopes of surrendering your time more fully to God. It doesn’t necessarily need to be forever but it does need to be for a good period of time.
  6. Fasting. Fasting is pretty much extremely beneficial to any spiritual endeavor.

Give yourselves fully to the Lord. Surrender to Him. Be Saints!

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Yesterdays first reading was the story of Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal. This is absolutely my favorite story in the Scriptures. I think the story holds special significance for those trying to live the Radical Catholic life. 

Elijah is the last of the prophets of the Lord in an extremely unfaithful generation. (sound familiar?) The king’s wife, Jezebel, is something like a witch and she worships the god (demon) Baal. Baal was worshipped through ritual sex and prostitution, child sacrifice and blood. To say the least this was an evil scary religion. Jezebel had killed all the Prophets of the Lord that she could catch. Elijah just can’t take it anymore so he challenges the prophets of Baal in front of the people of Israel. 

You know the rest of the story… Our God, Yaweh, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega answers with fire while Baal remains powerless and silent. 

Isn’t this what always happens? The “prophets” of this world lead the people away from God. But God always answers with fire. 

A radical Catholic knows that God answers with fire when you have Jesus deep within your hearts. A radical Catholic knows that God answers with fire when you ask for that fire in the name of Jesus. When we go out into the world and the false “prophets” and the worship of false gods is being thrown into our faces we know the answer. The answer, my brothers and Sisters is Jesus and when we proclaim Jesus and when people surrender to Him, He always answers with fire. 

The fire that Elijah called down was physical and it burnt up the stones and wood and sacrifice and lapped up all the water. This fire I am talking about is not physical but it is infinitely more powerful. It is the fire of the Holy Spirit and it will burn up the hardness, doubt, sin, hate and hurt inside each man. If we ask and surrender God will send down fire into our heart that will stir up the gifts we need to kill the false “prophets” of sin, pride, godlessness, lust, and hopelessness that plague our culture. God wants to set us all on fire and as radical Catholics we should earnestly desire this fire. 

Come Holy Fire. Come Holy Spirit. Lord, God answer with fire. People of the world listen! The God who answers by fire; He is God. 

Are you a Catholic? Christian? Believer of any kind? Have you asked the Lord Jesus to send down the fire of the Holy Spirit into your hearts? Ask and surrender right now! Lord Jesus light me on fire. Burn me as a sacrifice to show the folly of glorifying anyone but you. Kill whatever is in me that is not of you. 

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.” 1 Kings 18:39

The God who answers by fire is God!

 

As Radical Catholic we should be living in Pentecost everyday of our life. But how do we do this? We need to develop a spirit of poverty and humility so that the Holy Spirit will come with His gifts. The Radical Catholic should show his spirit of poverty by invoking the Holy Spirit in all things and by constantly praying for more of His treasures.

Each and everyday we should pray for more Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Knowledge, Courage, Piety and Fear of the Lord. Without these gifts we cannot live the Radical Catholic life. T o remain faithful in our world and to spread the name of Jesus to all we meet we have to rely completely on the Holy Spirit and on Pentecost being present in our daily life.

Pray for and desire these “Capital” gifts before asking for the Charismatic Gifts. These gifts sanctify us and work much more powerfully in our life then we could ever even know. I have known people with real Charisms of healing deliverance, prophecy and so on but the people who I have been truly touched and impressed by were those people who were filled with the Seven capital gifts of the Holy Spirit. Focus on Holiness, invoke the Holy Spirit, ask for the Capital Gifts of the Spirit and God will endow you with the Charisms and abilities necessary to make His name known among the nations.

Be a poor beggar in the eyes of God. Come to the Holy Spirit humble, poor and dirty and he will raise you up in His gifts, enrich you with grace and cleanse you with ever flowing water and wind. Then you will walk in the power of Pentecost. Then you will heal, deliver and prophecy. Come Holy Spirit…

Pentecost Sequence:

Come, O Holy Spirit, come!

From Thy bright and blissful Home
Rays of healing light impart.

Come Thou Father of the poor,
Source of gifts that will endure
Light of ev’ry human heart.

Thou of all consolers best,
Of the soul most kindly Guest,
Quick’ning courage dost bestow.

In hard labor Thou art rest,
In the heat refreshest best,
Solace givest in our woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Let Thy radiance in us shine,
And our inmost being fill.

Nothing good by man is thought,
Nothing right by him is wrought,
When he spurns Thy gracious Will.

Cleanse our souls from sinful stain,
Lave our dryness with Thy rain,
Heal our wounds and mend our way.

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful who in Thee,
Trust with childlike piety,
Deign Thy sevenfold gift to send.

Give them virtue’s rich increase,
Saving grace to die in peace,
Give them joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia.

I spent a lot of time when I was in high school with a priest named Fr. Bob. He was holy, intense and in the eyes of the world slightly crazy. He talked often and openly about exorcism, spiritual gifts  and would pray in tongues no matter where he was. I would sometimes help Fr. Bob give retreats or healing masses or sometimes we would just sit and talk about the spiritual life.
 

Fr. Bob put as much tenacity into the spiritual battle as a fighter puts into his next match. Years of doing deliverance ministry made him see things as black or white, good or evil. These days, I have found that a lot of people, including priests, too often see things as  gray and not black and white. In the last 6 months, in almost every confession I have had, the priest has talked more about psychology and stress than sin. I hope that doesn’t sound judgmental, but I need help conquering sin and not a counseling session.
The point I am trying to get across is that I look for confessors and spiritual advisors who I can tell are intensely engaged in the battle for souls that is raging. This many times puts a priest on the fringe. Talking about sin and Satan is not usually popular, but it’s necessary.
St. Francis was considered crazy by so many people. When he went to Rome to ask for permission to start his order, he looked so ragged and poor that he was mistaken for a gardener and sent to the fields to work. He reached the heights of holiness, maybe because he was crazy enough and intense enough to do whatever he had to get close to Christ.

If you find a Priest who is “crazy” enough to do anything for Christ, then thank God for that man and listen to everything he says.

Pray for our Priests!!!

 
 

O Jesus, Eternal High Priest, Divine Sacrificer, vouchsafe to pour forth upon Thy Priests continual living streams of infinite love. Live in them, transform them into Thee: make them, by Thy grace, fit instruments of Thy mercy: do Thou act in them and through them and grant that they may become wholly one with Thee by their faithful imitation of Thy virtues: and in Thy Name and by the strength of Thy spirit, may they do the works which Thou didst accomplish for the salvation of the world. Divine Redeemer of souls, behold how great is the multitude of those who still sleep in the darkness of error, of those unfaithful sheep who stray to the edge of the precipice. Consider the throngs of the poor, the hungry, the ignorant, and the feeble who groan in their abandoned condition. Return to us in the person of Thy Priests: truly live in them; act through them and pass once more through the world, teaching, forgiving, comforting, sacrificing and renewing the sacred bonds of love between the Heart of God and the heart of man. Amen.

 

 

Adding praise to our prayer helps us in our Spiritual Battle.
 
 

When we praise we proclaim:

  • Who or What God is.
  • What God does.
  • What God has done.
  • What God will do.

Satan is the father of lies and what we do when we praise is proclaim Truth in the fullest sense. Satan and his demons are always trying to build strongholds in our lives and communities. He essentially tries to build his kingdom. When we praise we enthrone our God and tear down these strongholds of the evil one. If you are struggling with temptation (isn’t everyone?) or if you have been praying for deliverance for yourself or a loved one praise is essential to your “arsenal” of weapons against the evil one. Praise silences the enemy. Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the chief exorcist of the diocese of Rome often recommends to those people he is “treating” that they join an authentic Charismatic prayer group. This is because they have a special charism to praise and particularly how it relates to deliverance.

You may be uncomfortable with this kind of prayer. I would suggest you give it a chance and pray that God will cultivate a spirit of praise in your heart. Below I have included some prayers from “The Lion Roars” prayer book to get you started.

There is power in Praise!

Praise help from The Lion Roars Prayer Book (available April 2010)

  • Your Name is above all other Names
  • You are The King of the Universe
  • You are The everlasting King
  • You are The Bread of Life
  • You are Faithful and True
  • You are the Lion of Judah
  • You are The Creator of all
  • You are Lord of Lords
  • You are King of Kings
  • You are Almighty God
  • You are The Christ
  • You are The Lamb of God
  • You are The Bright Morning Star
  • You are The Way, The Truth, and The Life
  • You are The Prince of Peace
  • You are The Light of the World
  • You are the Living Word
  • You are The Redeemer of the World
  • You are The Rock of Ages
  • You are The Bread of Life
  • You have won the victory
  • You are The Great I am
  • You are The Most High God
  • You are The Resurrection and The Life
  • You are worthy of our praise
  • You are The Alpha and the Omega
  • You are The Beginning and The End
  • You are Our Salvation
  • You are The Victor

You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Isreal. Psalm 22:3

 

Most people are shocked to learn that I am Charismatic. I’m not always raising my hands and praying really loud. I’m not always at prayer meetings or praying over people. You will never find me playing praise and worship songs on a guitar or any other instrument for that matter.

If that’s what you think Charismatic Spirituality is then let me clear things up.

I had the amazing opportunity to spend a summer, during high school, working a few days a week for a man named Bobbie J. Cavnar. Bobbie was a great leader in the Charismatic Renewal. He taught me a lot of things about Charismatic Spirituality, but there were a few things I wish more people knew and understood. I share them now.

  1.  Charismatic Spirituality is not first and foremost about the gifts but about total surrender to God. This is the heart of it all. Surrender everything: body, mind and soul.
  2.  The importance of Praise. He taught people how to praise God because he knew that true and sincere praise led to full surrender and therefore the Holy Spirit working fully in your life.
  3. Discernment comes from rejection of sin and secularism. Discernment is sometimes a Charismatic gift from God, but Bobbie taught me that the most important aspect in being able to discern is getting sin (especially pride) out of your life.
  4. Humility is essential to sincere spirituality. He was really one of the most humble men I have ever met. He was troubled by the pride he saw in the world and in the Charismatic Renewal.
  5. Healing comes from focus on Christ and Praise not from focus on us or long, wordy prayers. I personally witnessed Bobbie pray over at least 3 people who received emotional and at least one physical healing. He never  said anything during the prayer other than praising God. I mean this literally. He prayed in tongues and he praised. That was it. (I wish more Charismatics understood why he prayed that way.)
  6. The Primacy of the Sacraments and the Church. He was a daily communicant and on more than one occasion he explained to me the link between full surrender to God and frequent communion and confession. I would try to relay it here but I couldn’t do it justice.

The Charismatic Renewal taught me how to be a Radical Catholic. Bobby showed me that it wasn’t so much about the gifts, or the music, or the healings and prophecies as it was about totally surrendering yourself to God. This puts everything else into perspective.

Bobbie was “Baptized in the Spirit” after hearing Psalm 150 in the form of a song. There is power in Praise. I share Psalm 150 below.

 
 
 
 

Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his exceeding greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 

Praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

 

Bobbie J. Cavnar Rest in Peace