Saturday May 26th, I received a wonderful blessing from Our Lord, Jesus Christ! He allowed me, along with approximately 850 other people from the Diocese of Trenton, and beyond, to participate in the Diocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal on the Vigil of Pentecost in this year of 2012! The anticipated attendance was expected to be 500 – 600 people. Before my eyes, I had the grace of the Holy Spirit in seeing Jesus infuse many of His disciples with His Spirit that the number of individuals who participated was increased by 350 people!
Actually, there would have even been more of a presence. One of the area churches that is filled with a number of Charismatic people, had an anniversary to celebrate on such a beautiful day, the 50th anniversary of the Ordination of Fr. Jay! Some were able to participate in both events, others not, due to other commitments, and family duties. In any event, for the individuals who were not in attendance physically, they were definitely at the rally in spirit!
I left my home at 7:30, I wanted a good seat! To me that is front row, on the aisle. Driving into the parking lot at the Church of St. Raphael’s I can feel the excitement, and the energy of the Holy Spirit all around me. I said to myself, “this is going to be GOOD!”. At first I wasn’t really sure where the rally was being held, if it was in the Church or the Parish Center. I was beginning to hedge my bet on the rally taking place in the Parish Center, since I saw individuals walking towards there, I hopped out of my van and followed.
I also had a heads up that it might be held in the Parish Center since, the night before, I had been at the Church for Mass, Communion, and Confession. I wanted to be in a state of grace for this rally, to make sure I was open to anything and everything that God wanted me to receive through and from the Holy Spirit! Actually, Friday night, I believe a few other people had the same idea, it was one of the longer lines that I have seen for Confession, besides Christmas and Easter. While leaving the Church, Friday night, I noticed Fr. Kegley and others leaving the Parish Center. I also noticed a handful of cars near the center. It wasn’t a difficult deduction for me to make on Saturday morning that the rally was being held in the Parish Center, or to follow the people.
Fr. Kegley and the Charismatic Renewal Team did a wonderful job with pre-registration, having enough help available to direct people in the different places they were interested in going. Now, I am a very simple person, although there are a few things I must admit, I am a tad high maintenance on……clean bathrooms is one! Fr. Kegley took care of the age old problem of women and bathrooms! Apparently, he has become aware of this issue through his years of being a pastor, or he has an excellent administrative assistant who pointed out this particular issue that concerns women. It was handled quite well, and I, along with many other women were very pleased, and thankful to see the accommodation’s that were made for us. The staff did a stupendous job with this rally. God takes care of the most minor detail, imagine……clean bathrooms without having to be concerned about “port a pots” around, Hallelujah! The women of the rally were able to focus entirely on Jesus and the Holy Spirit, due to one of our most basic needs being met! How awesome is our God!
I enter, sign in, take the advice handed out, “find a seat first”. Walk directly into the gym, and find the first few rows are reserved, which makes absolute sense. Then the next two general rows have the aisle seats taken. Hmmmm, what should one do??? Do I suck up my claustrophobia and sit in the middle of the two general rows or do I accept myself for who I am, and sit on the end of the third row. I took the third row, another reason I took the aisle seat, because if anyone is tall I can still see, having an aisle seat……sounds logical? correct? silly me……..do you know how many tall people were called to sit in those reserved seats, and the first two rows of the general seats……needless to say, I had to chuckle at God’s great sense of humor! I love it!
Then off to get breakfast as suggested. As you walk into the cafeteria, a woman was directing individuals on the breakfast to the right, although she also had a tad bit more information that I didn’t quite remember seeing on the sign up sheet for the rally, VENDORS!!!!!!
Well, as the family joke goes………..”if there’s a gift shop, that’s where you will find mom, if you are lost, or you think she is!”. The woman that was walking into the cafeteria with me, stated “I think I will eat first”. From my experience, the early bird catches the worm at these events, so one of us went right, and one left…….needless to say, “right” WAS NOT my choice. Off to the vendors I went! The first vendor I visited was where my daughter works. I believe, by now, I have purchased most of their inventory in the store. Now I have the DVD’s to begin collecting….St. Teresa of Avila, St. Rita, etc., getting there little by little.
The next vendor I stopped at is called The Timeless Rosary. I spoke with the owner. The concept of how to pray this rosary is fascinating. Yet, at this time, they do not have the rosaries on hand to sell. They had samples, took names down, and I will be contacted when the rosaries are available. All the same, I did buy the four CD’s they had at the table for sale, and am looking forward to listening to them. The four different Timeless Rosary CD’s are called: The Timeless Rosary – Scriptural; The Timeless Rosary – Divine Mercy; The Timeless Rosary – Praise & Worship; last, but not least; The Timeless Rosary – Spiritual Fruits. Our Bishop of the Dioceses has approved these CD’s and the booklet, although; due to life and, well, life, the pamphlets/booklets were not ready for distribution at the rally. When I receive the added information and rosaries, I will write regarding further information on how you can obtain these items.
I must say, for me; even though my family may disagree, I did fairly well with the vendors. Though having only a few vendors present, may have helped…..thankfully, the Sisters of Pauline Media and Books were present. Shhhhh, don’t tell my husband, yet, once again, I bought books. I love books, I love reading, I love learning, I LOVE BOOKS! I will digress for a moment……..when I was 17 yrs old, I babysat for the doctor that I worked for at the time. I entered into his new home, aka mansion, and was awe struck by the feel and charm of their home. I couldn’t get them out the door fast enough! After I played with the baby, fed him, and put him to bed, I walked around the mansion, and could feel the presence of the owners from years past. Mind boggling, blown away sensation for a 17 yr old, who had no idea what she was experiencing, and then attempting to explain it to people…..well, that’s another story! Anyhow, this doctor had a library, a library, a true blue LIBRARY in his home, with three walls of shelves filled with books, THREE WALLS! I was in my glory! I wanted to pay them to babysit everyday! My love of medicine thrived in that library….so, even though one of the Sisters, very kindly and jokingly stated “you must be a bookaholic, that’s good”, I laughed back………”yes, I am!”. The wonderful blessing, there were others around me, stating, “oh, me too, love books; can’t ever have enough books, especially when it comes to our religion!”. Again, I’ve learned when books are out on display, if the Holy Spirit inspires me to pick up a book and buy it, I do! It took me a few hard lessons to learn that one, though since my girlfriend’s husband (who is also my friend) had a miraculous healing from God, I now “fly” with the Holy Spirit as soon as I get the “nudge”. Needless to say, my hope is, one day, very soon, to finish “my office”, the catch all room, and put up shelves for my books. Hopefully, then, my husband will not feel as overwhelmed, since our bedroom is a pile of books. We have a little nook in our bedroom, that I can easily visualize with bookshelves and a lounger, with a little table, and light next to it, for me to lounge and read. Ahhhhh, the things that dreams are made of……….
Off to the last vendor table……It is a table of beautiful pictures of Icons. One that caught my eye was the Icon of St. Michael the Archangel, and his prayer. It was 10 x 14 in size, and I immediately fell in love with it. Despite that “nudge”, I held back. I looked at all the different pictures, silently speaking to myself (I was out in public, so I did need to watch!). Then the “nudge” became stronger, and I remembered what happened the night before. It was bedtime in the house, my son was wary of something, not quite sure what, yet, his visits to my room were frequent. Finally he asked me, “mom, what do I say again with the Holy Water?”. I told him two things, “One, you can sprinkle it on the ground for the Holy Souls, or; Two, if something is bothering you, you sprinkle your room with the Holy Water, and at the same time state, “In the name of Jesus Christ, satan be GONE! Then ask Jesus to place his Precious Blood all over your room, and to cover you with it, and then you can finish with praying the St. Michael prayer”. He said, “OK, let’s do that!”. So, as he stood on his bed sprinkling his room, we prayed together and finished with the St. Michael prayer. This 10 x 14 St. Michael Icon and prayer also reminded me of the St. Michael prayer card that they have at another church in my area, that is prayed at the end of mass, followed by the three Hail Mary’s. I was speaking to the woman regarding this, and she stated, the Icon you are looking at, is what I gave to my Church, St. Vincent DePaul’s. I instantly bought the Icon, laid it on my son’s bed when I came home, and gave it to him as an early birthday present. It is being placed on the wall, above his head, it’s beautiful!
Now that my “gift shop fix” has been satisfied, I have time to take everything to my car without the items being in my way, or me having to worry about them while sitting during the rally. As I’m walking out to my car, Fr. Kegley and I cross paths. I say hello, then realize “ooh, I need these items blessed!”. I ask Fr. Kegley if he would be so kind as to bless my items, and he does, another blessing, and the rally hasn’t even started! Wow, this was going to be a dynamic day!
All the items were placed in my van. I now have the time to relax, get coffee, and eat a bagel. Well, that is, after I clean up the hot coffee I spilled, because the coffee was HOT! I was so excited, and ecstatic to be there, it’s one of the many goofy things that I do or have happen to me, I obviously do not pay attention to the minor detail of hot coffee, yet am always quickly reminded, yes, some things in life are hot, and you MUST pay attention! Even when excited and ecstatic that I’m out of the house, and get to be around other people who think, feel and have experiences like myself!
I eat, drink some coffee, and am ready for this rally to begin! First, we start off with Praise & Worship, wow, wow, and WOW! Powerful stuff! Moving stuff, the Holy Spirit is descending upon this “Upper Room”, and the people are ignited! To all be one, singing, moving, swaying, clapping, speaking in tongues, it is such a deep inner core feeling of warmth, love, happiness, joy, being alive, they are just a few words I am able to use to describe the beauty of what is happening in the “upper room”.
After Praise & Worship, the keynote speaker walks onto the stage…….it is the one and only Fr. Bill Halbing! If you do not know him, find him! If you ever, ever have the chance to attend one of his conferences…………run to it! If you are given the blessing of being able to see him multiple times in your life…………….GO!
Fr. Bill Halbing is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is full of joy, great sense of humor, and tells you the way it is. Time is short in this world, he doesn’t have time to pussy foot around, too many souls to get straightened out, and too many souls to save! He is short, sweet and honest with you. If you’re looking for a “pat on the back, it’s OK honey” kind of answer, he is not the priest for you. If you want to know where you are making your mistakes, how to fix them, change them, have your soul be saved. He’ll tell you, straight out. At first, you may be taken aback, then, once you sit and think about your situation, what you asked God for, and what you are supposed to do, Fr. Bill Halbing gave you your answer. Now, DO IT!
Fr. Halbing is the pastor of St. Antoninus Parish, Newark, NJ. He has been involved with the Charismatic Renewal since 1975. He is a sought after scripture teacher, and has been a guest speaker at National Charismatic Conferences all over the United States, youth conferences at the Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio; children’s Bible conferences, parish missions, he has traveled to Guyana and Eastern Europe, preaching the Word of God, and continues to answer the call of God for his next assignment.
I did not know this, and I pray I am telling you the correct facts……Fr. Halbing stated at the rally, he first felt a calling at the age of 7 yrs old. I loved hearing that, in the many different books I have read over the past few years, I have learned that many of our very deeply religious priests who have many gifts, feel the calling at an early age in their lives, usually around 7 yrs of age. The more I am hearing this from priests that I now know, I am blown away, it is not just me reading it anymore, I’m hearing it first hand!
Fr. Halbing spoke of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, what we must do to truly receive the Holy Spirit, and what it will cost us. I loved it.
What I learned from Fr. Halbing: First, we are not the “nuts”, we are the normal; God does not lower his standards to the earthly world, and if we desire to have the Holy Spirit live within us, then we must not either! The Holy Spirit inside of us, is the “Comforter”, and it is so true! When I am filled with the Holy Spirit, I feel so great, happy, joyful, at peace with myself, then when I come into contact with someone who may not be, yet, or choosing to not be living in union with God, then I feel uncomfortable on the outside. Fr. Halbing gave me the reassurance that this is normal. Blessing!
Second: Living in the Holy Spirit, WE WILL offend people, not because we desire to do that; instead, we are speaking the TRUTH OF GOD, for those not in union, yet, or, again, choosing not to be in union with Jesus, they will be offended. Blessing! How many times I have had horrible, hateful things said to me, or about me, or treated as though I was a leper, and to realize now it is because I am speaking the TRUTH OF GOD, I am okay with it. I no longer need to worry or fret, rather, I am aware of what is happening, and I can nail it to the cross, and hand it over to the Holy Spirit! Blessing!
Third: We are to stop saying “WE ARE UNDER ATTACK”. As he stated “you’ve been under attack since you were born, it started with the whack on the back side!”.
Fourth: We need to keep Heaven in our hearts. We need to stop measuring ourselves, by our self, by our standards. Allow, and LET the Holy Spirit take over. We MUST die to ourselves, to allow the Holy Spirit to enter and dwell in us, we MUST be NOTHING, and God be and act in us. We need to understand the Cross and the Crucifixion before receiving the Holy Spirit. We cannot comfort others, if we do not have the Holy Spirit within us.
Fifth: The Believer who has the gifts of the Holy Spirit does not have the gift for his or herself, instead they have it to give to others, to inspire others. Once a person has been convicted by God (received the Holy Spirit), they are the scariest people you may know……..why? because they speak the TRUTH OF GOD, no matter what, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and that is TRUTH. When filled with the Holy Spirit, one does not want to sin, one desires to stay in a state of grace. One also knows, we are all sinners, when we fall, we know, we want……we desire…..we need…….the grace of confession as quickly as possible, because the joyful feeling of being filled with the Holy Spirit is so strong, we desire to have it back as quickly as possible.
In the area I live we are very blessed to have confession available to us seven days a week. One church does it daily, including Sundays, before mass starts. Another church, does it nightly, during the week, after the 7 p.m. mass, that is St. Raphael’s, where this Charismatic Pentecostal Rally was held. There is another church, about 20 minutes away, that has confession on Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m. Another, on Friday’s at 6 p.m.
The times that I lose my focus, and make myself my god, instead of allowing God to take over the issue in my life, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in my life, I have gone to confession two or three times in one week. Other times, I have gone once a week, and other times I have had longer period of times go by. Although, personally, I do not advise going longer than a week in between confessions. I know, by Church law, once a year is required. Be that as it may, for me, the longer between confession, I notice a farther distance from God, which bears the loss of the Holy Spirit, and the comfort inside is gone. I absolutely do not like that feeling! Confession brings back my “Comforter”, and it is a MUST for the Holy Spirit to be able to work in us, and FOR US to be able to be of help to others, and to do GOD’S WORK that he has planned for us – OUR MISSION! I truly want to make sure when the DVD/Blu-ray disc of my life is being played for me with God sitting there, I truly desire that God tells me I fulfilled the mission that he wanted me to fulfill!
Lastly what I learned from Fr. Halbing is……..I will be one of the martyrs for our Catholic Church, and that is okay with me. If that is what God needs from me for the salvation of the souls of my family – husband, children, family of origin, in-laws, ancestors, and the future souls of my lineage, and my children’s lineage, I can and am willing to do that. It is very important for me that all souls be saved, I accept God’s will for my life. As long as I am filled with the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then I can accept and will accept God’s will for my life.
Back in 2008, I ended a friendship, with an individual I believed to be my best friend. I was wrong. As I am known to do, I was speaking the truth of the Catholic Church, as I delve deeper and deeper into our faith, I have grown stronger and stronger in speaking out. During the 2008 elections, I spoke out regarding abortion, and how it is the first intrinsic evil, and how, as a Catholic one CANNOT VOTE for a pro-abortion candidate, period, end of story, no room for debate. Basic tenet of our Catholic faith. I had been physically ill off and on, and suddenly realized I had not heard from my friend, so I called, and in my usual way, asked “are you upset with me, or angry with me?”. I was told yes. I asked if I could be told what it was, and if it could be worked out.
It was regarding an email with the tenets of our faith that I had sent out to my Catholic friends and family. It turned out, there were other things I had stated in the past that we apparently differed on, yet, I did not know that because I was not told that there was a disagreement on the other end. At the time, I truly did not want to lose the friendship. I asked how we could work it out? After a few times of talking and discussing, it came down to………..if we only spoke about the things that did not offend this individual, then the friendship could continue. At first, I agreed to this, because I was so upset that I had hurt this friend unintentionally, and felt so bad that this had been going on, and I did not realize it, or pick up on it. I truly beat myself up over this situation. We spoke a few times, and then I felt so stifled, I felt as though I was dying inside. Then by God’s grace, I realized what I was truly being told “DO NOT SPEAK THE TRUTH OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO ME, even though I was born, raised and received the sacraments of the Catholic Church, and raised my child in the Catholic Church, I do not want to hear the TRUTH of the Catholic Church, nor live it, then we can be friends”.
Once I was given the gift of understanding and knowledge of the situation, I also received the gift of fear and piety, knowing that I did not want to offend God, I did not want to sin against him, not because I do not want to go to Hell. Instead I love God so much, I do not want to hurt Him, by sinning, and by not speaking the TRUTH, is sinning, especially if I make the choice not to try to save a friend’s soul. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t want their soul saved, would I let them die in a fire? NO. Then, why would I stand by to watch their soul be lost. I am not judging. By the gift of fortitude and counsel, I chose not to be muffled on speaking the TRUTH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. I pray for my ex-friend, and that the family’s souls are not lost.
As Fr. Bill Halbing stated, being infused with the Holy Spirit we will offend people! I can now look back at that time and put it in the proper perspective, Praise God!
On an interesting note, regarding Fr. Halbing’s prophecy of martyrdom……back in 2008, I told one of my prayer warrior friends, “when times begin to get tough, I will not be surprised if people begin to turn people in as they did in Hitlers time. I have no doubt I will be one of the first because of being outspoken”. The other interesting note, this is my second time in less then a year that I have been in Fr. Halbing’s presence when he spoke of martyrdom. Pretty cool! With God and His Holy Spirit, I can do anything, because it is not me doing it, it is God taking over, and the Holy Spirit comforting me!
Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!
This rally was so magnificent, I have to break it down into parts. One blessing after another, just blown away! Tomorrow is my son’s birthday, much to do, hopefully will be blogging more tomorrow night or Tuesday!
God Bless, Praise God! Die to yourself, so God can come alive in you!