Monday, June 03, 2013

A Wake Up Call from the Holy Spirit

A funny thing happened to me on my way to post an article over at George’s first Saturday New Evangelization link up. A reader asked me about my ‘reversion’ experience and the terminology of conversion.  I recommended him to George’s page on convert stories and then got hooked reading some amazing testimonies.  It’s just breath-taking how the Holy Spirit works, He makes me weep. If you are ever doubtful of the Spirit’s promptings, or wonder if your prayers for conversion work, I’d recommend you read a few of those.  The third person of the Trinity is thriving well and blowing winds of miracles across the lives of many, many souls.

My reversion story isn’t nearly as movie-worthy as those that I’ve read, but in case you’re a tad curious about my reversion experience, let me turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop to an era when Johnny Hates Jazz was on the Billboard Top 40, the scent of Drakkar Noir was floating in the air, and your feet tried to use socks as a buffer for brick-hard Birkenstocks…

I was a boy-crazy Catholic schoolgirl of 16 when a classmate I’d bullied *Anne invited my closest friend, Rose, to a Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting.  Note that I wasn’t invited, only Rose was.  But since Rose and I were inseparable as the Olson twins, I tagged along.  Also note: Rose didn’t need to twist my arm to go since I knew there’d be a band and potential prom dates there.

 Anne later admitted to me she cringed at my presence.  In fact, now that I think about it, her curls shot straight up when she saw me sauntering in as the drummers and guitarists were tuning up.  Anyway, a whole weekend of praise and worship (no organs yay!) and skits about Jesus dying for me and young persons testifying to the power of the Holy Spirit just did it.  I gave my life to Jesus, became BFF with my former victim (Hi Anne!) and began reading the Bible.

Please don’t believe the bad rep Charismatics get because that movement inspired by Holy Spirit is singularly responsible for my renewal of the faith, my wake up call --when I realized Church is not about rules and regulations but a deep personal relationship with Jesus.   (And sure, I will be sending my children to the Stuebenville 'charismatic' youth conferences when they are of age.) Sadly, though I never left the Catholic Church, I was more interested in Ally Mc Beal and the stalls of Nine West than I was in the pursuit of holiness and staying committed to the Charismatic community. To be honest, my lukewarm Catholic life could be summed up as misery staring blankly into emptiness.

One restless night, I dreamed that I was back in the happiest memory of my spiritual life: dab smack in the middle of praise and worship.  The Holy Spirit woke me up in tears because I knew that despite the motions of Sunday Mass and the outward appearance of ambition wrapped in style, I hadn’t become the woman that the 16-year old girl who pledged her life to Jesus, was proud of. 

I leafed through the Bible again.  With God’s grace, I retraced my steps to the Charismatics, found spiritual direction, went on pilgrimage to Banneaux Belgium and grew into a devotion for daily Mass and love for Our Lady.   Most people find Jesus through Mary.  I found Mary because Jesus led me to imitate His holy Mother.  Though I have been away from the Charismatics for a decade now, it is the Blessed Mother and her spouse the Holy Spirit who are guiding me along the continuing road to sanctification.  Because that is what conversions/reversions are supposed to do –make of us saints.

My friends, I’m curious.  What was the highlight of your conversion/reversion stories? If you’ve written about it, would you kindly send me the link of how the Holy Spirit woke you up? 

*Anne is not my BFF’s real name, and needs to start blogging.  She is a talented writer.

P.S. Just in case you hadn’t heard, Pope Francis' message to the Catholic Charismatics in gist is: "Tell them I love them very much.  I was responsible for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Argentina..."


Anna Yager said...

I live in Mexico and our entire diocese (500k - fairly large) is charismatic. I became a christian over 40 years ago during the "Jesus movement" which was totally charismatic, but didn't know anything about Catholicism until about 5 years ago. My husband and I entered the Catholic church at Easter vigil of 2010.

The charismatic movement reminds me of what Pope Francis said (paraphrase) that it's better do be actually LIVING the christian life and making mistakes than to hold back from taking action unless it's perfect.

There are plenty of mistakes within the charismatic movement, but as one of our old pastors said "It's easier to steer a moving car than one that's standing still."

Anabelle Hazard said...

So true, Anna. I think the Catholics in the Philippines and Mexico have a lot in common. I love that paraphrase and as you can tell, I love Pope Francis.

Gina said...

This is probably going to sound like a complete aside, but from your writing, I feel like I can actually hear you in my head.

I "hear" your writing as super excited, very fast and incredibly bubbly.

Does that make any sense? Ha ha - it's true, though. I think you're the only blogger that I "read" that way!


I love this bit of history about you!

Anabelle Hazard said...

Gina, when I'm with kids all day, my thoughts bottle up in my head and it finds pent-up release in one post LOL. Will email you in a few.

Nancy Shuman said...

The Holy Spirit woke me a couple of times.. the most striking when, after several years of nose-stuck-in-the-air-agnostic-superiority, I asked that if there was a God, I wanted "it/him" to show me once and for all who or what "it" was. I wrote about this in 1981 in a Catholic charismatic magazine no longer in existence (it was called New Covenant). Since you asked for links, here is the condensed version (that I made into a much later blog post) of that article:

Anabelle Hazard said...

beautiful story Nancy. oh those life in the spirit seminars have harvested manynevangelizers I admire. so many similarities in our stories, I always knew ou were a kindred spirit.

Vicky said...

This is such a great story, Anabelle. I love how you became a reformed character! You must be a beautiful person for your past victim to choose you for her BFF. It's very inspiring.

God bless, Anabelle:-)

Anabelle Hazard said...

Thank you Vicky but I'm still reforming. My friend gets all the credit for forgiving me.

Anna Yager said...

Did you grow up in the U.S. or in the Philippines? I was born in the Philippines (my dad taught at the university in Quezon City) but I came back to the states with my mom when I was only 6 months old after my dad died. I'm not on FB but I'd love to have some EM conversations with you. My EM is bajamanna [at] gmail.

Anabelle Hazard said...

Anna, I grew up in the Philippimes. Email me I don't chat (kids constantly interrupt and! Wind up leaving the other person waiting indefinitely) but I would love to,email. What is EM by,the way?