Author: Doug K.
I attended the Life in the Spirit Seminar in the year of 2,000. I joke with people, telling them that it was my midlife crisis. The Seminar was talked about in Mass and I’ve heard a little voice inside me telling me that I should really consider it. It was going to be over seven evenings, but I was working evening shifts at that time. Surprisingly, that obstacle was moved away - my boss allowed me to take off for the seminars and come back to finish the job afterwards.
I don’t drive a car due to my poor eyesight, but my mom agreed to give me a lift. Unfortunately, she forgot that she was supposed to pick me up at work and take me to the seminar. It was very unusual for her to forget like that. Something else strange happened the second week of the seminar and I was late again. I thought – somebody doesn’t want me to be here. This must be important because there is this opposition. So I made up my mind to not be late anymore. I still remember how the two people who invited me to the seminar were there at the registration desk. I told them I must look like a lamb being lead to a slaughter. They just laughed, knowing that the Lord had great things in store for me...
The evening of the baptism of the Holy Spirit came. I have never had people praying over me until then. They told me that my life was going to be different. I was hoping that I would jump for joy, laugh, speak in tongues, kind of doing a bit of everything. I don’t remember the specific prayers I received, but what I remember the most are the words “Jesus is here.” I SO wanted to feel some incredible sensation, but I didn’t. I walked home in the dark feeling very unhappy. But I came back the next week, though it was hard, and my life did start to change.
For example, Mass changed for me completely. I don’t know what I’ve been doing for the first 30-35 years of my life. I always went to Mass, including my college years. I tried to be active in each of the parishes that I was in. But after my Baptism in the Holy Spirit, holy Scriptures were starting to come alive for me. I started to actually hear the Mass readings and even understand the connections between them. Everything in the Mass started to fit together – it made sense. I was listening to homilies, sitting on every word, trying to understand what the point was, and walking out of Mass chewing on things I heard and experienced. That has never happened before. I became eager to read the Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn and other spiritual literature. One of the biggest changes was how I started relating to God and what he was doing – all of that tied into the bigger picture. I never worried about any of those things before. But they began to matter to me. After a few years like this, I volunteered to help teach Confirmation classes and sponsored 3 or 4 people in RCIA. Their classes met on Sunday afternoons – even during football season. But I didn’t care, I was happy to be there with those people. It was very exciting to see them being baptized and confirmed. I don’t know that I would have done any of this before the year 2000.
My singing has changed as well. I like to sing more than anything else in this world. At Mass, I was able to offer my singing to God. At times I have a privilege of canting. I always ask the Holy Spirit to make it sound the way he wants. I’ve learned that the gifts that were given to me were not just so that I could be really good at something, but they were meant to be passed on to people. Awareness of that has changed my singing a great deal.
Another new thing for me was that I became very interested in learning more about the Church. I started reading about church history and saints, such as St. Augustine. I found it very captivating. There were always outstanding saints and popes, even in the dark periods.
Being able to praise God fills me with joy. We all know that a prayer of praise is just a type of prayer. But it was new to really understand what that meant and to meet other Christians and be comfortable with talking to them – not just about the Church, but about Christ and our relationship with Him, our walk with Him. When they had questions, I became comfortable with sharing answers. For example, my boss is from the LDS church. We enjoy talking about faith together. He was wondering about what is one place in the Catholic Church that’s important, like Mecca to Muslims. It was a good question that intrigued me. And I said that a really holy place is where each tabernacle stands, with a Eucharist in it. It doesn’t matter how important the place of the church is. They are all holy places because of the Eucharist. I know I didn’t think of that by myself. And I know it was a great answer. Thank you God! I am now working on a job change and want God to really be in the decision.
I think I received a gift of praying in tongues. I did a gift survey based on the Catherine of Siena Institute’s guideline, and, besides the gift of music, I also have the gift of encouragement. When I see or hear people being unsure of themselves while doing something and they obviously have the skill to do that job, I try to encourage them. I also marvel at the people in the Praise and Worship community here and the gifts they have.
It seems that the older I get, the less I know. And my body poses many obstacles for me - I don’t see very well and so can’t really drive and I don’t recognize people, which gets me into embarrassing situations. But I love the Scripture that says “my ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts” - it lets us off the hook. We don’t have to worry about how and why everyone and everything is put together. We just need to know that God is in charge of it. He created it and made it the way he wants it to be. And we need to be the best part of His creation that we can be.
So, now I see that the changes after the year 2000 happened in stages – some of them fast, some of them slowly. The people who prayed for me back then were right. My life did change. The way I view pretty much everything has changed. I’ve got so much to be thankful for!
Catholic Charismatic Renewal - Diocese of Colorado Springs
Deacon Chuck Matzker
Bishop Sheridan's Liaison to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal