Life In The Spirit Seminar


Has anyone here attended a “Life in the Spirit Seminar” where you prayed for a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit? If so how did you feel during and after “hands were laid on you” and you were “prayed over”? Did you notice anything different in your life?
Thanks in advance for your response(s).


I went to one in July 2006. It was a 3-day retreat. I wouldn’t go into details, but my life has been changing ever since.

I have two advices: 1) do not seek for the gifts itself but the One who provides the gifts. 2) be humble.

God bless.


water, I like your signature. One rosary a day keeps Satan away! It’s true:) :o :slight_smile:

*Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.*


Yes, nearly two decades ago.
I was given the gift of joy.

Yes, the Holy Spirit does make a difference. :love:


yes, yes and yes
no I did not experience outward manifestations like tongues or falling down, simply an interior experience and commitment to submitting to the direction of the Holy Spirit, which led of course to renewed commitment to Christ, as it must, an awareness of and reliance on His 7-fold gifts, which I had received decades earlier in Confirmation, bearing fruits in a radical redirection of my life which would take more space than this forum has to describe. No one who knows me would take me for a charismatic Catholic since I don’t pray or act in any overt demonstration of the more dramatic (and minor) manifestations of this spirituality.


Thank you, Ave Santa Maria! I listened to my mother and prayed 10 Hail Mary’s per day for 1 whole year in 2005. Little did I know, that is how it all started in my spiritual journey. Therefore, I told my friends, if I was obedient to my earthly mother and God had helped me, I’d better be obedient and listen to our Heavenly Mother - pray the Rosary daily.


No difference felt here. Since then tho’, sometimes, I do experience tongues, when praying in solitude.


I cannot judge others’ spiritual experiences. More grace to you, however God grants it; BUT

I can for a fact attest to this: a prominent ‘Life in the Spirit’ member in our parish said, “the Holy Spirit is so strong in my life right now that I don’t feel the need to go to Mass.” This person is using his “Life in the Spirit” experience to justify NOT going to Mass! The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our spiritual lives, if something takes you away from the Mass that ‘something’ is not of the Holy Spirit.

After Mass one Sunday a ‘Life in the Spirit’ spokesperson invited the congregation to a “deeper spiritual life” by attending their Friday night seminars. I immediately thought to myself, “we’ve just finished communion, the source and pinnacle of the faith, and he’s suggesting we’re not experiencing the full Holy Spirit until we’ve experienced the Spirit just like himself?!”

One ‘Life in the Spirit’ lady friend asked me what I thought of a particular spiritual question, I answered, “Let’s look in the catechism.” “Oh, no!” She replied, “too many rules! That’s what’s wrong, there are just too many rules in the Catholic Church.”

Yes, I’ve been ‘slain in the Spirit’ and have had my share of supernatural experiences (as I believe any Christian has); but many–not all–charismatics seem to hunger for these charisms to an unhealthy degree.

Another observation: charismatics will often pray with different denominations–nothing wrong with that; but they might be led astray if they don’t know their Catholic theology. For example, I know of one lady in our parish who lovingly accepted a book to read from a charismatic protestant. The book had much truth–and much error (i.e. don’t pray to angels)–that had purportedly come from the Lord.
She accepted it blindly; because the touchstone for truth *for her *was this powerful, moving, emotional, supernatural experience; not what it should be–the Church’s teachings.

Which brings me to another beef I have with charismatics: How come the ‘in tongues’ speaking Pentecostals down the street are claiming that the one true Church is the Whore of Babylon? Those ‘tongues’ don’t come from the one Holy Spirit.

“Life in the Spirit” people are just another part of the Church–like St Vincent de Paul people, adoration volunteers, eucharistic ministers, lectors, etc.—but the group at my parish makes it out to be some kind of eigth sacrament; if you’re not experiencing the Spirit as they do you “need to have a deeper relationship with the Spirit.” That’s so arrogant. We’re all one body. Let everyone have their own spirituality; don’t call others’ charisms less from the Holy Spirit than yours.

The above reasons are why I do not join the ‘Life in the Spirit’ group in our parish and view all charismatics with suspicion (which I guess is not really fair because after all it’s only one parish).


I went through the seminar many years ago as a young adult and grew up in the Charismatic Renewal. While there are many charismatics that are not well grounded in their Catholic faith, there are many that are solid orthodox Catholics. You will find unbalanced people in all the factions of the Church–traditionalists…

The seminar was a time for me to open my heart up more to the Holy Spirit than i had ever done before that time. The fruits have been many and I have experienced several of the different gifts of the Holy Spirit. However, the gifts are not meant to be the focus and receiving them did not mean that I was holier than anyone else. The gifts are meant to build up the body of Christ, they are meant to be used to minister to others. What I learned through my charismatic experience was how to live out my faith daily—trying to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in my life. I went from a cradle Catholic who just went through the motions of my faith to one who was on fire to learn more of my faith, to live it out and to share it with others.

It has been years now since I have been involved in a charismatic community and I have gone through ups and downs in my faith life, but when lukewarmness begins to take over, I am reminded of the days when my heart was on fire for Christ and I begin once again to open my heart to the power of the Holy Spirit and then my faith is rekindled. Find a Life in the Spirit seminar that is put on by good orthodox Catholics that adhere to the teachings of the Church.


I’m afraid that I have to agree with Scriabin in suggesting that you exercise great caution with Life in the Spirit experiences. I, too, have observed in my own parish the tendency for the so-called spiritual experiences to become the goal in life, and to replace the Mass. I’ve hear some similar comments such as Scriabin described, even to the point of one leader saying how sad it was that some Catholics think that going to Mass is enough. That was the last straw for me and I never went back. I personally find it hard to improve upon the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I think that any part of the Church should enhance the Mass and our experience in it - not EVER be seen as something above and beyond the Mass. I’ve also noticed that under no circumstances is anyone who doesn’t have the Life in the Spirit charisms considered to be anywhere near the spiritual level of those who do have them. I often think of the verse in 1Cor that says “Though I have the gift of tongues and of angels, but have not charity, I am nothing.” I think that’s worth thinking about.


It depends on who is leading the Life in the Spirit Seminars, and if they are obedient to the Magisterium of the Church and have a deep prayer life of their own.

I found the “Life in the Spirit Seminar” to be very helpful as a “jump-start” to a deeper prayer life. Fortunately, I was not subject to leaders who downgraded the Catechism or the Mass…that would certainly have been a red flag to me.

In my area we have a priest who advises the core people in the charismatic renewal, and this priest is a liason to our Bishop.
The annual three-day Catholic Charismatic Conference is very Eucharist centered, and besides the Mass on Saturday and Sunday there is a Eucharistic procession and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on Saturday night. Each year there is also an adoration room to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament set up near the conference hall. The same deacon does this every year.

I had been in the renewal since 1976 till about a few years ago.
I stopped attending prayer meetings not because I believed something was wrong with the renewal in our area, but because I felt that my time and energies needed to be spent elsewhere, and that I would now be helped to grow spiritually in the Lay Carmelite Order.


I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience, but in my 22 or so years association with Charismatic Catholics, I have not heard any of the expressions heard by the previous two posters. I have heard anecdotally about parishes esp in the 70s when the CCR was new that went off the rails, and if there were abuses, they were corrected under new pastors, and the people involved have left the Church in any case. But what I have noticed dozens of times, and this is not limited to “charismatics” is a type of person who is always looking for an excuse for what he has already decided to do, and latches on to any retreat or spiritual experience–including conversion through an orthodox RCIA process–to go ahead and do his thing. Priests and religious who abandon their vows are among the most conspicuous.

I have also noticed, dozens of times, the type of person who has an agenda–these people are almost guaranteed to drift into church type work, just as pedophiles are almost guaranteed to seek out work that puts them in contact with children. Agenda setters have a perfected talent for latching on to any retreat, spirituality, program, process or otherwise orthodox or innocuous ongoing way of bringing people together–and we have all seen the liturgy used this way–as a vehicle to promote their agenda. The CCR has not been immune to this trend.

the third thing I have noticed and it is what I see most often, and I include people who go through a “conversion” experience and change religions every 5 years, is the person who is always looking for the next best thing, has an immature spirituality that is satisfied only through emotional highs, and experiences lows as a sign to change gears. This person is charismatic for a while, then becomes a Secular Franciscan, and when that palls–and the reason for dissatisfaction is almost always conflict or disagreement with other people in the association, esp. the leadership–he gets on a social justice kick, and when he gets bored with that, he might even find some other denom for a while, then he starts going to the Latin Mass, wearing veils and lighting candles, then he finds an ACTS retreat.

but the 4th type of person is maybe the most dangerous and that is the one who says “there is only one valid spiritual path and that is my spiritual path. I reject out of hand the experience and spirituality of others.” That person is so ignorant of classic Christian spiritual direction and teaching, so ignorant of the lives of the saints, so ignorant of the relationship between psychology and spirituality (and Fr. Groeschel’s books are so excellent for explaining that, and incidentally great best 1st books on the topic) that they really have no business offering an opinion, much less attempting to guide others. They sadly are also rife in church work. and all 4 types have been drawn to the CCR at one time or another and done their damage here, as with everything else they touch.


I haven’t been to a “Life in the Spirit” seminar, but I have been to something similar.
Feeling: Peace
Gifts: Renewal of trust in God

It’s deepened my faith and what I do in my spirituality.:extrahappy:


I went through it about 33 years ago. It was a beautiful experience, and I was so overwhelmed with the presence of the Holy Spirit , I did pray in tongues. However, that was the only and last time. It wasn’t long after this that the Lord pointed me toward interior contemplative prayer.

All that being said, I would urge you to ignore everything you hear about it here, whether positive or negative.

Go through it yourself and open yourself up to the Holy Spirit and remember, this is YOUR experience alone. Don’t try to compare it to anyone else.

Stay centered on Jesus and allow Him to feed you.

God Bless


JimR-- good answer!


best advice ever given on the forums on this topic
bottom line: be open to the action of the Holy Spirit in your life



Many years ago, I was involved with one of the first prayer groups which had formed in Southern California, this was shortly after
what is now termed the "The Duquesne Weekend’
It and the life of prayer and particiapation in the life of the
[Catholic] Church changed my life.

Rather than share my exact experience after being prayed over…[as everyone has their own unique experience] let me say that I am still in contact with members of my old prayer group…and it has been over 30 years since many of us were at our University where it began.

In answer to your question… yes it was a life changing experience as it deepened my prayer life and brought me to daily mass and
well of course to my vocation. While today I am not active in the Charasmatic Renewal per se… I do hope the experience will deepen your prayere life and wish you blessings.

Blessings of Peace and Good!*



I went through a Life in the Spirit seminar almost thirty years ago and while I haven’t been active in the Charismatic Renewal in many years, I am still benefiting from that seminar. I did not fall over in the Spirit, I did not speak in tongues, I did not even experience a great peace at first. However, the gifts gradually built up, as did my relationship with my Lord, and my appreciation of His Presence in the Eucharist.

I remember one of the priests who led our group. He said that the first time he was prayed over, he was disappointed that he did not “experience” anything. However, when he and a fellow priest returned to the monastery after the prayer meeting – around 10pm, he decided to stop in his office to check a couple verses in his Bible. He said that verses started jumping off the page to him with new meaning, and he started marking things up with his highlighter. And he kept going. Next thing he knew, the cleaning woman was coming in at 6am to clean up his office, and he was still busy with that highlighter.

If you want to read/hear some solid teaching from a charismatic Catholic, check out Ralph Martin’s work at He has written a wonderful book – actually lots of wonderful books – gleaning the wisdom of some of the saints, called “The Fulfillment of All Desire.” Another charismatic Catholic – who is very orthodox and does not tolerate any “overly charismatic” expression in “his” liturgies – is Fr. Richard Simon. He is the Hispanic Liaison to the Renewal in Chicago and often appears on Relevant Radio. His homilies are available at Worth the visit.

Finally, though, as someone above, pointed out, it’s up to what God has planned for you and how you respond. Pray for discernment and let the Spirit guide you. He’ll never steer you wrong.

God bless,



We all need each other.

I needed to hear puzzleannie’s good experiences so I can understand my parish’s “Life in the Spirit” seminars are probably a bad anomaly of the movement.

I needed to hear marthagreys’ bad experience so I realize I’m not alone.

That being said, is this really good advice?—

ignore everything you hear about it here, whether positive or negative.

Wouldn’t it be more prudent to “take into account everything you hear about it, both positive and negative.”

Taking everything into account, I’m getting this out of this thread: “Life in the Spirit” seminars are overwhelmingly positive experiences, but like anything else, can turn out bad at times."

Respectfully, is this good advice?—

this is YOUR experience alone. Don’t try to compare it to anyone else.

We are not alone. After all, isn’t that why you posted your question on this forum—to get comments from others?

***Do *compare it **to someone else—the lives of the saints.

That’s one of the great things about the Catholic Church, we have 2000 years of spiritual writings describing the spiritual life and its necessary discernments. If your “Life in the Spirit” seminar experience doesn’t dovetail into the lessons of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, or into the theology of Thomas, Trent, or the Catechism then something is awry. Please, *do *compare–our faith is a “we” thing, not a “me” thing.

One more thing. This discussion isn’t charismatic movement specific. We really could be talking about *any *movement within the Church. Just take a gander at the Latin Mass comments on these forums. You’ll find the same thing: somebody asks about the goodness of the TLM and others will start bashing NO masses as if they’re *all *irreverent.



That being said, is this really good advice?—

I gave the advice because a person taking the seminar wants to avoid taking pre-conceived expectations, negative or positive, on what is going to happen, rather than opening themselves to the actions of the Holy Spirit.

In prayer, which the Life in the Spirit Seminars actually are about, we don’t want to take any agendas of our own or others into it. We must be open in allowing God to feed us, as He wills.


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