Refuges

Refuges and The Holy Spirit

When I was growing up and attended Sunday Mass, I took for granted my Catholic Faith. We made the sign of the cross, but it was simply one of those many take-for-granted acts we did as Catholics. I really did not realize the richness and treasures that God has given us through our Roman Catholic Church.

Today, we are being formed and prepared spiritually by Our Lady and the Holy Spirit for the chastisement that is coming to mankind. We are being molded and given spiritual powers by God to combat the evil that approaches, and will continue to come against us.

Many of the emails and phone calls that I have been receiving have concerns related to two issues: How do we prepare spiritually for the coming times? How do we know when and where to go?

I would like to help you understand how to use the Holy Spirit’s grace and power to find the answer to those two concerns while combating evil--- so that you can hear God’s answer---a task that is not as easy as it sounds. I was blessed in receiving mentoring in this area by several anointed priests, and of course, by Our Lady Herself. I can honestly tell you that the task of seeking and finding God’s voice is a never-ending process. Nonetheless, listening to the voice of our Lord and our Blessed Mother really requires very simple training.

One of several routes to determining how to prepare, where to go, and what to do is (as storms swirls around us) is to pray daily to Our Lady and the Holy Spirit; they will be our guides and directors.

In addition, all spiritual aspects of our lives must be in order. I suggest for singles, couples, and entire families to receive the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let’s make a strong effort to attend Mass at least once a week, and receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Eucharist at least weekly. (If this is not possible let’s pray for the circumstances that will enable us to receive this Blessed Sacrament).

Bottom line--- we need to surrender our heart and soul to God. Jesus is the Baptizer of the Holy Spirit. Our Lady will take you to Jesus, and Jesus will give you the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We need to have an open heart to God and let go of our own preconceptions and inclinations, humbly accepting the grace and love of the Holy Spirit.

Once the Holy Spirit is within a person, the person receives the gift of knowledge. This gift of knowledge is a supernatural, mystical knowing---a knowing in our gut, often without intellectual data or information. The gift of knowledge helps us discern people and situations around us, intuitively drawing us to God’s will and His path, and helping us recognize and reject evil. This gift is absolutely crucial for our times, and there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to organize and direct our spiritual and physical preparations. We must seek this gift daily to determine our course of action in each individual situation.

A beautiful illustration of the gift of knowledge and of the Holy Spirit at work in difficult circumstances is found in communist Russia. When Christianity was banned in Russia, Christians would gather on the grounds of the Kremlin in Red Square. They were supernaturally, wordlessly drawn to follow an individual, who followed another person, etc. This trail continued until a silent line was created, taking them to an unnamed place where Mass was celebrated.

How did these Christians know when to go and who to follow? You guessed it-the Holy Spirit!

 

Testimony on Receiving the Holy Spirit

It may be challenging for some Christians to understand how easy it is to receive the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts described by St. Paul in Scripture 1:12 Corinthians

I received an email from a wonderful Roman Catholic lady from Tampa, Florida. She had been praying for years to receive the Holy Spirit, and could never attain this most precious gift, feeling very sad in this futile effort. She asked about taking courses on "How to Receive the Holy Spirit". I suggested attending a Life in the Spirit Seminar if it was available in her Archdiocese. I told her to go before the Blessed Sacrament, pray to Jesus, and He would baptize her with the Holy Spirit.

She wrote me an email, and told me that she would call me at 9:00 a.m. the following morning. There was a genuine excitement in her voice when I answered my phone. The Lord blessed her with the baptism of the Spirit, and she was full of love and joy. Her actual words were: "I did not know it was so simple".

All of us need to understand that God is very sensible and almighty. He can do anything that we ask in right order.

 

MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

It was not until my conversion encounter with Jesus that I became aware of the Holy Spirit. As I have shared on previous articles, my encounter took place alone in our family living room around 3:00 am in the morning. I felt a presence of love, of God that is very difficult to describe. I felt the presence of complete love, forgiveness, joy, hope, holiness and feelings beyond words. I fell to my knees and started to cry for the many offenses that I had committed against Our Lord. Somehow, I knew that it was the Holy Spirit that had entered into my heart and was preparing me for something in the future that I did not understand. I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

There was a feeling of complete surrender of myself to God. I had this holy urge to seek and learn more about my faith. Attending Catholic schools, going to Catechism, going to Mass on Sunday was not enough. My Spiritual Director guided me to a prayer group that, l found out later, was a charismatic prayer group. I loved the praises and presence of the Holy Spirit among these ardent Catholics. They would all sing in tongues, dancing and worshiping God. I went outside and took a look at the building. Was I was in a Catholic Church?

The prayer group was having a seven week course of a Life in the Spirit seminar. I signed up for the course with a lot of anticipation. Every week, it became more intense; I felt like if I was going deeper into the heart of God. On the fifth week, we were to be prayed over by the elders of the prayer group. Boy, was I excited! We started with a small teaching on the Holy Spirit, and then a prayer was said. I had my eyes closed and waited with great expectations. The leaders anointed our forehead with oil, and then they placed their hands on our forehead. They were praying in tongues, and the rest of the group was singing and worshipping Our Lord and the Holy Spirit. I could almost feel God the Father sitting in His Holy Throne smiling at us.

There were twelve of us in a circle. Everyone received a spiritual gift, and I was waiting for mine… and nothing happened. I thought that I had in some way displeased Our Lord, but I was happy for everyone else. I realized that I had received joy, love, inner peace and hope. I went home that night, half puzzled and half joyful.

The following morning, I was driving to Kerrville, Texas from San Antonio. As I entered into the city limits of Comfort, Texas; the presence of the Holy Spirit came upon me. I began to sing and pray in tongues. I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me in my heart----It seemed as if an angel was driving my truck, because my hands were up in the air.

The message that was spoken to me was as follows:

"I will be sending you to the Texas Hill Country to assist my Mother and the Holy Spirit to prepare a place for a storm that is on the horizon. I am anointing you with a mission to deliver these messages to the world. You are to keep this to yourself and tell your pastor, Father Tom, what I am telling you.

"My people will come from the West, the East, the North, and the South. There will be many people that will come to you. These times to come will be like in the days of Joseph. You are not to seek any authority, but be equal to all your brethren. I have selected seven leaders to assist you; if you seek them, you will not find them."

"I will raise you up to be my messenger, and your teachings will be life experiences that will become part of your spiritual journey with me. The journey will not be easy."

"Always be obedient to My Church and seek a spiritual director. My mother will take you aside and teach you; and the Holy Spirit will open your heart to understand what will take place. You must not reveal what I am telling you now, but only share it with your spiritual director. I will continue to speak to you, but my Mother will always be at your side guiding you. My complete plan will not be revealed to you until the fullness of time. Be alert at all times and reach out to anyone that needs your help."

"There a chastisement that is coming to the world because of its love of sin. Satan will try to destroy you, but fear not, my Mother will teach you to fight him. The time will come in the future when the plan of my Father begins to unfold. Be at peace, my son."

This was the first time that I experienced this amazing spiritual blessing after the laying of hands in the Life in the Spirit seminar.

I later found out that the road that I was on---the road in Comfort, Texas, where I received the Lord’s astonishing words--- was the same road that the Franciscan priests from Mexico traveled on the "Camino Real". Translated into English, "Camino Real" literally means the "Road to the King". The priests from Mexico City travelled this road over 500 years ago. On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe long ago, the priests celebrated Mass on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and named the river the "Guadalupe River".

So, It was in this remarkable place that I received my first message.

When we moved to Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country; we heard of a hill called Cross Mountain. It has been said that the Franciscan priests also celebrated Mass on top of this hill which overlooks the Texas Hill County, and consecrated the land to Our Lady of Guadalupe. We also discovered that the patroness of the Hispanic community in Fredericksburg is "Our Lady of Refuge"

I share the above because I know without a doubt that it has been Our Lady and the Holy Spirit that have been preparing us for the times to come.

 

THE NATURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HIS GIFTS

Concerning Spiritual Gifts: I Corinthians 11: 1-12

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

 

Pentecost

731 On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance.122

732 On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity. By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the "last days," the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated.

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, and the one most active in the world today. It is important that we understand the Holy Trinity. We know that God is one and three persons, that he is God, and that he is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But what’s the difference between the three persons? The only way you can distinguish between the three persons is by their relationship to each other. So, what does it mean for the Father to be the Father, the Son to be the Son, the Spirit to be the Spirit? Basically, it means this: that the Father is the source of the Son and the Spirit. The Son is begotten of the Father. The Spirit proceeds from the God the Father. It means that anything God does in the world, all three persons do.

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit created the world (Genesis 1:2), led Jesus into the desert (Matthew 4:1), comes to us at Confirmation (Acts 8:18), and intercedes for us in sighs that we cannot understand (Romans 8:26). Always remember that The Church teaches that The Holy Spirit is a person, like Jesus, and like God the Father. The Holy Spirit is not some kind of generic force, like lightning or love. So why then do most people not seek out the Holy Spirit? It's because most people think that we received the Holy Spirit once at Confirmation, and that's that. This is not so!

Our sins chase the Holy Spirit away from our bodies, which are temples to the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Confession along with a firm purpose of amendment to never sin again restores that relationship, but it certainly doesn't hurt to personally invite the PERSON of the Holy Spirit back in occasionally. That’s why the the Catholic Church sponsors "Life in the Spirit" seminars, where people learn how to praise God, and where the Holy Spirit is invoked to change our lives. This involves the laying on of hands (Acts 6:6) by ministers at the end of the seminar. The laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit is very biblical. Acts 9:17 says "So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Many Catholics flinch when they think of this, as if it were foreign to the faith or a Protestant practice. We Catholics never think twice about receiving Jesus over and over again in Holy Communion, but some may dissent at the thought of receiving the Holy Spirit more than once! Peter received the Holy Spirit when he was baptized, and again, when Jesus gave him the power to forgive sins, and again at Pentecost. Mary received the Holy Spirit at the Incarnation, and again at Pentecost. It is a good and holy thing to have the Holy Spirit come into our lives as often as we can. The Bible says in Luke 11:13 "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" . "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8.

I believe that God the Father and God the Son love each other so much that this love is the Holy Spirt. The Holy Spirit is so gentle and loving that He is protected by Jesus Himself. In the Gospel of Matthew, He says: "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).

Those are strong words spoken by our Lord.

 

Personal Witness on the Work of the Holy Spirit

My spiritual journey has always been an adventure because I never know what the Lord and Our Lady have in store for me. It is amazing the practical interventions and teachings that are given to us by God. When I was prayer group leader at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, Father Flanagan would have a healing Mass the last Wednesday of each month. We had different Prayer Teams that prayed for people after Mass. The teams were quite beautiful, loving and anointed by the Holy Spirit. I was one of three persons on a prayer team, and we witnessed many healings and deliverances. People from all over the Archdiocese would come to Mass, and then ask for healing prayer.

One day, a lady approached our team, asking us to pray for healing, and we asked her what specifically should we pray for? She was crying and couldn’t talk. As we were praying, one of the team members gave this word of knowledge…. "God loves horses too!". I said to myself "Oh my God, we blew it". The lady that we were praying for smiled and thanked God profusely for the word she had received. As she explained, she had an inner healing. She told us "All my life I have been calling myself an "old nag". Now I know that God loves me!".

The Lord has a sense of humor.

By the way, the majority of times that people ask for prayer, priests will tell you, it is a request for prayer for their families. All of us have concerns about spouses, children, parents, siblings, and grandparents. "When praying with people, I have found that 60 percent of them request prayer for their families," notes Father Robert DeGrandis, an American priest who recently held a retreat in Bolivia that was attended by 42,000. Michael Brown – Spirit Daily

On another occasion I received a phone call at about 2:00 a.m. in the morning. It was my friend Mike Castillo, who asked me if I could do him a favor. His aunt was dying or would be dead by the time I got to the Metropolitan Hospital in San Antonio, and he was asking me to attend to her spiritual needs. I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go to our parish church St Rosa De Lima Catholic Church, and to take my Pix with me. I went to the tabernacle, and took one consecrated host, placing it on my Pix. When I arrived at the Hospital, Mike was waiting for me in the lobby. He thanked me for coming, remarking that it might be too late to pray for healing as she was battling cancer. We went upstairs and he opened the door to her room. I saw her and she was yellow from head to toe, her skin was dehydrated, and they were waiting for the doctor to pronounce her dead. Now, what would you do? I asked the Holy Spirit to help me, and to tell me what to do. Immediately, He told me to anoint her with holy oil on her forehead, and then remove Jesus from my Pix and place Our Lord on her lips. I was told to say these words "Jesus you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow … in your Holy Name, Jesus, I speak healing upon this woman". I took the Host, placed it back in my Pix, and said a little prayer for her. I looked at Mike and didn’t know what to say. I gave him a Christian hug, and went home. He gracefully thanked me for coming.

The next day I had to make a business trip to Houston, Texas. I was gone for about a week. When I got back to my office, I had over 25 calls from Mike--- there was great excitement and joy in his voice. He told me "John, remember my aunt whom I asked you to pray for last week?". I responded yes. He continued "after you left, she opened her eyes; 3 hours later she was sitting on the side of her bed and asked the startled nurses for a cup of chicken broth. The next morning, she was going from room to room in the hospital, telling other patients and random people that Jesus had visited her last night, and that He had healed her. The doctors subsequently examined her on Sunday, and all traces of her cancer were gone. This is the miraculous, extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to God!

Today the prophecy of Joel is coming to pass:

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants IN THOSE DAYS, I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT". Those words were written by the Prophet Joel around 800 B.C. and can be found in the Old Testament (Joel 2:28-29).

God is pouring His Holy Spirit upon us---with His many magnificent gifts---- for the time is now.

Blessings from your brother in Christ, ,
John

 

APPENDIX

Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

O Holy Spirit, Divine Spirit of light and love, I consecrate to Thee my understanding, heart, and will, my whole being for time and eternity. May my understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations, and to the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which Thou are the infallible guide; may my heart be ever inflamed with love of God and of my neighbor; may my will be ever conformed to the divine will; and may my whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honour and glory forever. Amen.

 

The Holy Spirit and Mary

The Catholic Church has always believed, moreover, that when the Holy Spirit intervened in a personal way in the work of man's salvation, he made the humble Virgin of Nazareth his associate in that work. The Church has also maintained that the Holy Spirit acted therein in a manner consistent with His proper character as Personal Love of the Father and Son. That is, he acted with both infinite power and infinite gentleness in perfectly adapting the person of Mary and her dynamic powers of body and spirit to the role assigned her in the plan of redemption.

This belief has arisen from an ever deeper and clearer understanding of the sacred texts. On the basis of it, the Fathers and Doctors of the eastern and western Churches have attributed to the various missions of the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, the fullness of grace and charity, of gifts and fruits of virtue, of evangelical beatitudes and special charismas which, like a hope chest for a heavenly marriage, adorned the predestined mystical Spouse of the divine Paraclete and the Mother of God's Word made flesh. It is precisely because of her privileges and the exceptional gifts of grace which the Holy Spirit gave her that Mary is saluted in the liturgy as "Temple of the Lord" and "Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit."

It was the Holy Spirit who filled Mary with grace in the very first moment of her conception, thus redeeming her in a more sublime way in view of the merits of Christ, the Savior of mankind, and making her the Immaculate One.(5) It was the Holy Spirit who descended upon her, inspired her consent in the name of mankind to the virginal conception of the Son of the Most High and made her womb fruitful so that she might bring forth the Savior of her people and Lord of an imperishable kingdom. It was the Holy Spirit who filled her soul with jubilant gratitude and moved her to sing the Magnificat to God her Savior. It was the Holy Spirit who suggested to the Virgin that she faithfully remember the words and events connected with the birth and childhood of her only Son, events in which she played such an intimate, loving part.

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church : THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Chapter 3 – Article 8 "I Believe in the Holy Spirit"

687 "No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."7 Now God's Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who "has spoken through the prophets" makes us hear the Father's Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. The Spirit of truth who "unveils" Christ to us "will not speak on his own."8 Such properly divine self-effacement explains why "the world cannot receive [him], because it neither sees him nor knows him," while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them.9

688 The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:

in the Scriptures he inspired; in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses; in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists; in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ; in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us; in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up; in the signs of apostolic and missionary life; in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation.

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Holy Spirit:

767 – "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church. Then the church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun. As the ‘convocation’ of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them."

768 – "So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit ‘bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and this way directs her’. Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom."

798 – "The Holy Spirit is ‘the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body.’ He works in many ways to build up the Body in charity: …by the many special graces (called ‘charisms’), by which he makes the faithful ‘fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church.’ [252]"

 

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Oh Holy Spirit, You are the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. You are the Spirit of truth, love and holiness, proceeding from the Father and the Son, and equal to Them in all things. I adore You and love You with all my heart. Teach me to know and to seek God, by whom and for whom I was created. Fill my heart with a holy fear and a great love for Him. Give me compunction and patience, and do not let me fall into sin.

Increase faith, hope and charity in me and bring forth in me all the virtues proper to my state of life. Help me to grow in the four cardinal virtues, Your seven gifts and Your twelve fruits.

Make me a faithful follower of Jesus, an obedient child of the Church and a help to my neighbor. Give me the grace to keep the commandments and to receive the sacraments worthily. Raise me to holiness in the state of life to which You have called me, and lead me through a happy death to everlasting life. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Grant me also, O Holy Spirit, Giver of all good gifts, the special favor for which I ask {name special petition}, if it be for Your honor and glory and for my well-being. Amen.

 




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