I have had a fairly negative experience with the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. Don’t get me wrong: the people are very friendly. However, I am personally dissapointed. Since the beginning of summer I have attended a charismatic prayer group at a local parish. I don’t speak tongues or prophecy, but everyone else in the group does. This doesn’t really bother me, except that I don’t know what to make of the tongues. I figure that, if I am baptized in the Holy Spirit I might be able to speak in tongues as well.
While I understand that there might be real affection behind spontaneous words such “Praise you Jesus!!!” and “Thank you Jesus, Thank You!!!”–more often than not I wonder if these are just the expressions of over-emotionalized individuals. The prophecies are interesting; and I must admit that it is amazing that individuals without prior meditation can speak words of encouragment several sentences in length. However, the prophesies seem too basic, and they don’t really inspire me or get me thinking. Most of them are in the first person, too, which makes me cautious, since the heretical Montanists of the 2nd century prophesied in the 1st person, which is unusual for prophecy.
What really bothers me are the laying of the hands after the healing masses. Since I am not sure what to make of the Charismatic Renewal yet, I always pray to God before attending a service, and I ask God to prevent any spirits not of God from entering me. However, I also ask God that, if it is really the Spirit at work, that He causes the Spirit to work in me. After about six healing masses, I have yet to experience the Holy Spirit. And I desperately need to experience Him, since I have recently not been well in mind, body and spirit. I am beginning to wonder if the Charismatic Renewal is simply another great deceit of Satan.
Sorry if you’re Charismatic, but I’m just having several problems with the Charismatic movement. The people are some of the nicest people I know, but God, specifically the Holy Spirit, whom I sought in this group, is not to be found–by me at least. If the Holy Spirit is Peace and Love, then I have experienced neither since entering my prayer group. I have begun to wonder: if indeed this group is authentic, then am I predestined not to partake in the Holy Spirit, and so damned to Hell?
In any case, although I’m not a hard-core intellectual, I tend to be more rational and less emotional in my faith. Perhaps in normal circumstances I would do better in a Bible study or prayer group run by Jesuits or Dominicans. However, right now I need healing; and the Charismatic prayer group claims to heal not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Any thoughts on why I have never experienced God in my life, much less in my prayer group?