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14 - 18 November 2013
ICCRS held in Bethlehem, Holy Land an international meeting of 160 key leaders of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. The meeting was not a conference but a “prophetic consultation” to pray together and seek the Lord’s will for the Renewal, especially as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2017. It was a very powerful meeting.
Michelle Moran, the president of ICCRS (International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services), spoke on Deut 11:14 and Joel 2:23: “He will give the rain for your land in due season… the early and the latter rain.” She explained that in biblical lands the early rain (the autumn rain) is what makes seeds germinate; the latter rain (the spring rain) brings in the harvest. In the early years of the Renewal we had the “early rain.” But now we are in the time between the two. We are not in the latter rain yet, because we are not moving in the power of the Spirit strategically, healing the sick, doing miracles, reaching out to the poor, evangelizing in power. There is a need for repentance, because we have at times fallen into the trap of just wanting to entertain people, of settling for the comfortable. It is time to prepare people to go out, because the Spirit is going to bring us into the harvest in a way we’ve never seen before—a massive harvest.
With every sentence I was more amazed, because although I had not talked with Michelle at all about her topic, it corresponded point by point with what the Lord had put on my heart to say for my talk on the third day.
On the second day, there was a surprise of the Spirit. Just before our afternoon session, there was a power outage in our hotel (and apparently in the whole town of Bethlehem). The lights went out and the sound system stopped functioning. The leaders were just about to postpone the afternoon session and ask everyone to use the time for personal prayer. But the Lord gave me a prophetic word. I had to shout out each line, with three translators repeating it one after the other.
“The Lord just reminded me of what happened on the Duquesne weekend in 1967 (the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal). During that weekend the plumbing at the retreat center broke, and it looked like the retreat was over. So they all began praying for water. The Lord answered their prayer and the plumbing was fixed – but he answered in a way far beyond what they had expected. Floods of living water, the Holy Spirit, came pouring down from heaven… and so began the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. It was the “early rain.” Now we’re at a different time. The fact that we’ve lost electric power today has prophetic significance. Just as back then they prayed for water and the Lord gave water from heaven, so now we have to pray for power, and the Lord is going to give us power from on high. We have to lean into this moment, pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is telling us symbolically and ask for power with great confidence.”
After I gave this word Patti Mansfield, who had been one of the students on the Duquesne retreat, stood up. She said, “I want to confirm that and add a couple of things. When the plumbing broke, David Mangan (another student) decided to pray by thanking the Lord in advance for the water he was going to give us. So the Lord is calling us now to thank him with expectant faith for giving us power – power from on high for the Charismatic Renewal and the whole Church, power to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth, power for the breaking down of walls of division among all Christians, and power for the removing of the veil from our Jewish brothers and sisters that they would come to know Jesus the Messiah.”
We then had a time of anointed praise and worship in the dark, singing, shouting, and thanking the Lord for the power he is going to give us. Someone held up a huge crucifix (because it is from the pierced heart of Jesus that the Holy Spirit comes), and walked around the room with it. Everyone was bowing before Jesus and acknowledging his lordship in a deeper way.
Then Oreste Pesare, the director of ICCRS, said, “The Lord has truly given us a word for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. You have no more power. Come to me….” And boom! At that second the lights went on! Everyone was in awe because we recognized it as a truly prophetic sign.
There was a time of silence, then more prayer, then kneeling before the cross one by one… repentance… many prophetic words… a time of great rejoicing and thanking the Lord. One word was, “My people, you have taken off your shoes in my holy presence. One shoe is the shoe of pride. The other is fear and insecurity. There is no place for pride, because all that you do is totally dependent on me. And there is no place for fear and insecurity, because all that you do is totally dependent on me. When you go forth, you will go forth in power. You will not need to be afraid, because it is my power.”
Another word: “I give you a new faith, faith that is deep. Today I break all your bondages. I cut all your chains. Today I let go of your past, I free you, I build a new city in your midst, today the doors are opened. And I see a huge crowd, multitudes. Dear brothers and sisters, the Renewal shall not be the same, if we learn to hold on to the Lord and let go of ourselves. The Lord Jesus is in front. He called us and he knows what he’s doing. We have done it our own way for a long time. He says now he rises up with victory.”
The rest of the meeting was beautiful, as on the third day we focused on prophetic intercession, the call to Christian unity, and baptism in the Spirit with the full power of the charismatic gifts for evangelizing the lost. We had a wonderful time of prayer for impartation of the Spirit. On the last day we visited the holy sites in Jerusalem and had an hour of powerfully anointed praise, worship and prophetic words in the Upper Room on Mount Zion, the very place where the Holy Spirit was first poured out on the infant Church.
All went home greatly encouraged, taking in their hearts the prophetic words and signs the Spirit had given us, and asking the Lord for new wineskins to hold the new wine that the Lord is already pouring into us.
Two of the people present at our consultation were from Tacloban, the city that was worst hit in the super-typhoon just a few days before. In a homily at Mass one of them, a priest, described the scenes of complete devastation—people hungry, thirsty, naked, dead bodies everywhere—and how the Lord spoke to him about it all. The charismatic community there lost 10-20 people, and nearly all lost their homes. Their large renewal center was totally destroyed, except that the chapel was miraculously preserved. A three-foot statue of Our Lady had been swept away from the pillar it was glued to inside the chapel, but they found it outside, upright and unbroken, standing in front of the chapel! They knew it was a sign that Our Lady was with them and praying for them. He canceled his plans to go to Bethlehem, but then through a prophet in the community the Lord told him, “You have to go.” Because the airport was destroyed they drove for 24 hours to reach Manila, and arrived just in time for the flight. At the end of Mass the bishop who was presiding (also Filipino) gave a beautiful blessing and prophetic word for them, in song! “Behold, I make all things new. Trust and be patient, because I am with you and I love you.” It was incredibly moving. Let’s keep supporting our suffering brothers and sisters in the Philippines with our prayers and financial help.
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As part of the journey towards the Golden Jubilee of Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church, ICCRS is hosting a Prophetic Consultation in the Holy Land (Bethlehem) from 14-18th November 2013.
At this strategic time in the unfolding of the grace of CCR, we feel called to draw leaders together from the worldwide Renewal. We sense that this will be an important gathering in this very significant place and that as we spend some days together joined in prayer, listening to the Lord and discerning what the Spirit is saying, then the Lord will continue to lead us forward.
Around 200 key leaders from National Service Committees and other Charismatic realities, Communities and Ministries will gather in Holy Land in prayer, reflection and discernment.
We realise that as leaders there are many calls upon our time. However, we have a sense that the Lord is calling us to a unique and truly prophetic ‘Kairos moment' where the Holy Spirit, gathering leaders from all the nations to this special place, will speak to and prepare our hearts not only for the Jubilee but for all that lies ahead or in the words of Esther ‘for such a time as this' (Est 4:14).
The short programme will also include a one day pilgrimage in Jerusalem with a time when we can ‘join together with one heart’ (cf. Act 1:14) in the Cenacle and pray for all the world to receive a ‘New Pentecost’.