Charis' Message Of Preparation For Pentecost 2020 Part I

Author: Father Raniero Cantalamessa

Picture: Flickr

Charis' Message Of Preparation For Pentecost 2020 Part I

In preparation for Pentecost, papal preacher Fr Raniero Cantalamessa underlines praise as an essential resource for CCR-especially in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. This is part one of Fr Raniero's talk. Click here to read part two.

The Acts of the Apostles recounts this episode in Paul’s life:

“The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. 24 When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake. 25 About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, 26 there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.” (Acts 16: 22-26)

With their clothes torn, covered in blows, and shackles on their feet, Paul and Silas did not pray to God to help them, but instead sang the praises of God.

What a message for us members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at this time!

An Example And Invitation To Praise

The example of Paul and Silas invites us to leave aside, at least until Pentecost, all the discussion about coronavirus, or at least not to make it the centre of everything.

Let’s not sadden the Holy Spirit by considering it as less important (or less powerful) than the virus.

Moreover, the example of Paul and Silas invites us to sing hymns to God. This may seem absurd and difficult to accept, especially for those who experience in their own flesh the devastating effects of this scourge, but in faith we can understand that it is possible. 

Saint Paul proclaims that “all things work for the good of him who loves God.” (Romans 8:28) Everything without excluding anything; therefore also the present pandemic!

St. Augustine explains the profound reason for this: “Being supremely good, God would never allow any evil to exist in His works unless He was powerful and good enough to bring good out of evil itself” (Enchiridion 11:3).

Praise In Every Circumstance

We do not praise God for the evil that brings the whole of humanity to its knees; we praise Him because we are sure that He will be able to draw good out of that very evil, for us and for the world. We praise Him precisely because we are convinced that everything works for the good of those who love God, and above all, of those whom God loves.

I say this trembling because I don’t know if I myself would be able to do it, but God’s grace can do this and more.

In the Good Friday preaching at St. Peter’s Basilica, I tried to identify some of the “goods” that God is already drawing from this evil: the awakening of the illusion of being able to save ourselves, the sense of solidarity that this evil arouses and which has pushed some of our brothers and sisters to the point of heroism.

I would add today: the awakening of religious feeling and the need for prayer. The extraordinary attention to the gestures and words of Pope Francis, even outside the Catholic world, is a sign of this.

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