CCR: The Way Forward

Author: Maria Heath

Picture: Andersen Air Force Base

CCR: The Way Forward

Maria Heath, Chairwoman of the English NSC, shares how she sees the way forward for Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

“Fifty years is a good moment in life to stop and reflect. It is the moment for reflection: halfway through life. It is the moment to go ahead with greater strength, leaving behind the dust of time that we have allowed to accumulate, being thankful for what we have received and facing the new with trust in the action of the Holy Spirit!”

-Pope Francis, Pentecost 2017, CCR Jubilee, Rome.

The National Service Committee for Catholic Charismatic Renewal in England (NSC) met together following this celebration. We asked God about where we are and where we are going in Catholic Charismtic Renewal (CCR) in England.

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back, lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left.” (Isaiah 54:2-3)

I believe this word is a key prophecy for our time.

Like Pope Francis’ words, this word invites us to grow in strength, to trust, to mature and to move forward. I believe we need to strengthen our stakes to be part of the mission of the Holy Spirit.

Our Church needs us to be faithful to our specific calling: to faithfully share the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit and use the gifts we have been given to benefit the Church and the world.

Go With Greater Strength

The NSC recently hosted five regional days in Preston, London, Coventry, Bristol and Leeds. We called these days ‘Go with Greater Strength’ to reflect Pope Francis’ challenge to CCR. Here is a short summary of the talk I gave.

God’s Word invites us to ‘strengthen our stakes.’ These seven areas represent important ‘stakes’ which need strengthening if we are to move forward with greater strength.

1. A return to praise - Praise is a gift of our heart to God’s heart. It is a gift that the Spirit has bestowed upon CCR in a particular way. When we are faithful, it is our gift to the whole Church. It is our duty and privilege to spend time in praise, individually, and in our groups and communities. 

2. Use of the gifts – we need to create space to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in praise and worship, especially the gifts of tongues and prophecy.

3. Scripture – Pope Francis has called charismatics to return to our first love of the Word and to carry the Word with us wherever we go. We must be formed, first and foremost, by the Word of God, which has the power to transform us and our world.

4. Recognising giftedness in others and being willing to bring our gift. If we are used to letting others get on with it, it’s time to bring our gift. If we are used to doing everything, it’s time to encourage others to bring their gifts.

 5. Unity – I sense the Lord is calling us to a new depth of unity with each other- within CCR, intergenerationally and with other churches. Sometimes there has been unhealthy competition or rivalry between groups, ministries or communities in CCR. We need to be humble and seek healing and unity, working together for our mission. Intergenerationally, we need to see the gifts each generation brings and be open to new ways of doing things.

Of course, the very heart of CCR is ecumenical; the grace of baptism in the Spirit is a current of grace we share with many other churches. This needs to be reflected in our relationships and mission.

6. Reclaiming our hope It is easy to become disillusioned and lose hope in God’s promises. Some of us need to receive healing from God in order to walk again in the hope, love and power of the Holy Spirit.

7. Expectant faith – Again, it is easy to believe the miracles and wonders of CCR’s early days no longer happen. I really believe, as we use our gifts for mission, we will see God act in amazing ways in the coming years. People will come to faith, and lives will be transformed. We need to be expectant that He will act.

Seeking to Impact the Whole Church

We invite you to reflect on these ‘stakes’ as individuals and communities. I believe we will see a new level of fruitfulness in CCR, which will impact the whole Church.

As we strengthen our stakes - our key commitments and priorities – and as we stretch out our tent, we will see God move and many people come to know Him.

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