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The Lord began my spiritual life at my Baptism as a child. My parents’ life of faith was a great support for me from childhood to grow in the devout life, but the real process of renewal began in 1980 when, as a student of Theology in St. Albert’s college; I attended the first Charismatic retreat in the Seminary.
After my priestly Ordination I was appointed as parish priest of St. Paul’s parish, Christnagar, Ghaziabad, in the outskirts of New Delhi. I came in contact with the Delhi Service team, I was invited on regular basis to preach the recollection for the various charismatic prayer groups in Delhi, and became aware of the charismatic gifts. Those years I used to attend the summer programs of the National Charismatic Renewal Services in Ernakulam, Kerala.
In 1995, at one of those programs, I had the first tangible experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Though I regularly attended, I was most of the time a mere spectator or trying to get some new ideas and points from the various talks for my own preaching. During praise and worship I witnessed an ordinary-looking man next to me, fully lost in prayer, and his face was shining. I was not praying –I was only watching my neighbor. I was simply taken up by him, and thought, “I am a priest and this is only a lay man. But how graceful and how ardently prayerful and Spirit-filled he is?” During that prayer I did not disturb him, but as soon as the prayer session was over I turned to him and enquired about how he was able to get into this prayerfulness. His reply was a very touching; it changed me from a mere spectator to an active, earnest seeker of the Holy Spirit. He was leading a bad life and fathered two children. Afterwards some friends helped him and forcibly brought him to a week-long retreat where he received the grace of conversion. After his conversion, while leading a life of Renewal, he fathered three more children. He told me, “Father, if you meet my five children you will notice the two older ones are so closed up, reserved, timid-looking and gloomy, while the three I got after my conversion are so cheerful, active, graceful, and full of life. Now I am spending my life in prayer and penance to make my two older children come out of the effects of my sin in their lives”.
This experience touched me and I began to pray earnestly to become a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led person. That evening during the infilling prayer I was anointed and captured by the Spirit. Now I am striving to grow in the Renewal. I serve the Renewal in my capacity as the Episcopal advisor to the NCCRS in India.
Among the books that I read during the last 12 months are: The Holy Spirit and Charismatic Renewal by R.H.Lesser; Charisms and Charismatic Renewal by Francis A. Sullivan S.J; Miracles do Happen by Sr. Briege Mckenna, O.S.C. with Henry Libersat; and Mercy by Cardinal Walter Kasper.
I see the Renewal of the future as the Pope Francis says that it is the “Current of Grace”, which alone can make the Church a vibrant community. It will give the right leadership in the Church, It is the only source of unity in the Church and among the various denominations, it alone can enliven and inspire every association and movement within the Church.