Tag: Mary

‘Saudades’: Brazilians Embrace Renewal

This article originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ May 2019 newsletter.

At the National Formation Conference for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Brazil, attendees each received a sheaf of wheat as they entered. Later, the young people went through the crowd of fifteen thousand, collecting all the wheat in baskets, and then placing them at the feet of Jesus, to emphasize that Pentecost in the Old Testament was a harvest festival as well as a time to celebrate the giving of the law on Sinai. Our Pentecost is meant to bring in a harvest of souls by the power of the Spirit.

By Patti Mansfield

Patti Mansfield

“Patti, I have a great feeling that you will be in my country one day.” These words were scrawled on a postcard from Rio sent to me by a Brazilian Jesuit in 1971. They proved to be prophetic! Since 1994, I have been to Brazil more than twenty-five times. I am in love with Brazil and her people, and I can understand their word “Saudades.”  It means: “I’m missing and loving you!”

Why do I love Brazil? I love the way Brazilians have embraced and lived the baptism in the Spirit with enthusiasm and joy. There are twelve million Brazilians who are baptized in the Holy Spirit. I remember hearing Archbishop Alberto Taveira tell thousands of university students, “You are called to be apostles of the baptism in the Spirit.” There it is! Baptism in the Spirit: front and center! Eight hundred vibrant communities have borne tremendous spiritual fruit and priestly vocations. Then there are the 14,000 prayer groups under the leadership of the Charismatic Renewal of Brazil (RCC).

The baptism in the Spirit has overflowed in works of prayer and formation; intercession; evangelization; care for the poor; ministry to children; outreach to university students, lawyers, judges, and politicians; twenty-four-hour Catholic Charismatic radio and television; publications; and more.

One of the things I love the most is the way Mary is honored in Brazil, especially Our Lady of Aparecida, their patroness. The Brazilians have set to music the Prayer of Consecration, “O my Queen, O my Mother, I give myself entirely to you.” I have never been to an event of the Renewal in Brazil where Our Lady was not honored and welcomed. I believe that this integration of Mary and the Holy Spirit is the secret of their fruitfulness, and we would do well to learn from them!

Speaking of Aparecida, I was called there suddenly in July 2018, to replace Sr. Briege McKenna at a retreat for priests. Aparecida is the town where Our Lady appeared about three hundred years ago, and it is the spiritual heart of Brazil. There were over two hundred priests; the average age was about thirty eight! Some men had just been ordained and about a third of the priests were new to the Charismatic Renewal. I was there just after the abuse scandal broke in the States, and I wanted to do something to strengthen the priesthood. By the grace of God, I was able to minister personally through the charismatic gift of revelation to each man. I’ve been used in this charism before, but never with the speed and accuracy that I experienced during those days. It was an increase and acceleration of grace because the times we’re living in call for it!

And that leads me to the prophetic word I received my last day with the priests:

“Brazil will lead the world in this new move of My Spirit which is coming. As you yield to Me, as you praise Me, as you look to Me, I will greatly increase your numbers. I will open doors that until now have been shut. I will give you an “entrée” to people who up to now have been closed. You will be amazed at the way the fire spreads. As in the beginning, in the first Pentecost, my Spirit will use you with great power. Be careful. Make sure to keep yourself very humble and to acknowledge that it is My power using you and not any force of persuasion of your own. Break your pride. Break your egoism. And you will see what the power of My Spirit can do. Remain humble, looking at Me and watch what I, the Lord your God, will do.”

Two months later, I was back in Brazil for a conference for six thousand teens at the Sanctuary of the Mother of God in Sao Paolo, home of my dear friend Fr. Marcelo Rossi, whose vocation was born in the Charismatic Renewal. His nearly twenty-five years of priesthood have been spent lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ through his celebration of the Eucharist (over six thousand people come to Mass at 6 a.m.), his music, and his books. He is followed by close to ten million people daily on the Internet and is one of the best-known priests in Brazil. What a joy to call the youth “to love Jesus as He has never been loved before!”

Katia Roldi Zavaris, president of the National Council of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Brazil, then invited me to the National Formation Conference in January of this year at Cancao Nova, in the largest covered stadium in Latin America. Brazil is celebrating fifty years of Charismatic Renewal in their country. For me, Katia is a living example of what Saint John Paul II meant when he spoke about “the feminine genius”the particular way a woman can exercise leadership with maternal grace. When Katia assumed the presidency, this event drew four thousand leaders and very few priests. This year, there were fifteen thousand leaders (most under the age of thirty-five), three hundred seminarians, and 180 priests, along with many bishops.

The leadership council began the celebration by processing in with an open Bible over their hearts to signal the commitment to reading and obeying the Word of God. Katia had been deeply impressed by the prophetic word I received at Circus Maximus in the presence of Pope Francis on June 3, 2017. In one of her talks, she referred to that prophecy:

“Lift up your eyes and see, that the fields are white for harvest. And if you would obey me, and if you would obey the prompting of my Spirit, you will yet see, infinitely more than you can ask or imagine. You will yet see the power of my Spirit descend upon the human race. I tell you, the fields are white for harvest, but I need your obedience, I need your docility, I need your faith, and you will yet see marvels that will astound you, infinitely more than you can ask or imagine, for the glory of my name.”

The fields are white! As people entered, each one received a sheaf of wheat. After Katia’s presentation, the young people went through the crowd of fifteen thousand, collecting all the wheat in baskets, which were then placed at the feet of Jesus. Katia made the point that Pentecost in the Old Testament was a harvest festival as well as a time to celebrate the giving of the law on Sinai. Our Pentecost is meant to bring in a harvest of souls by the power of the Spirit.

My travel companion received a prophetic word for the Brazilian leaders, knowing nothing about my prophecy to the priests last July. The similarities are striking!

“I am sending a new and greater wave of My Spirit upon you. Greater things will you do in My Spirit. All that you have seen and experienced has been a foretaste of My Spirit with you. As I release this new wave upon you, there will be increase . . . exponential increase of numbers . . . increase in My gifts and power. As you love My Mother and remain low in humility, I will bring more! You, My people of Brazil, will be a light, a witness to the world of the new and fresh outpouring of My Spirit. They will look upon you and hunger and thirst for My Spirit to come in new ways. You will bring My Spirit to the world.”

Amen!  Let it be!

Patti Gallagher Mansfield was a participant in the historic Duquesne Weekend that marked the beginning of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. From the first days of the Renewal, she has served in leadership through her teaching, writing and pastoral ministry.  Patti has ministered at conferences and retreats for laity and priests around the world.  For the past fifty years, she has proclaimed the grace of the baptism in the Spirit on all five continents. 

She has authored As By A New Pentecost: Golden Jubilee Edition,Proclaim the Joy of the Gospel, and Everyday Holiness. She also is a frequent guest on The Choices We Face.

Patti is married to Al Mansfield, Director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans, Louisiana, and together they serve as liaisons to the Archbishop of New Orleans on behalf of the Renewal.  They have four adult children and eleven grandchildren.  In the Jubilee Year 2000, the Mansfields were awarded the Papal Medal, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For the Church and the Pope), by Saint John Paul II.

Abide with the Lord

Lent begins this month, which makes it a perfect time to share the following reflections by Ralph Martin, on resting—abiding—with the Lord. The following article is compiled from a talk that Ralph originally shared at a recent Renewal Ministries’ staff retreat.

Why do we have this time on earth? We are here to get ready to be with Jesus. To prepare to be with our Lord, we must strive “for the holiness without which nobody will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14).

Sometimes we miss how clear and absolute what Jesus says is. An essential aspect of striving for holiness is “abiding in the Lord”—simply being present with Jesus.

Picture an image of the beloved disciple John resting his head on Jesus. What amazing confidence in His trustworthiness, fidelity, loyalty, and love! Only the love of God is perfectly reliable—something we can rest the whole weight of our lives on. God wants us to live in surrender, confidence, and trust. In order to do this, we must take the time to be attentive to the Lord, to be in His presence.

Christ loved the Church by sacrificing Himself for us so He could present Himself wholly and without blemish—and He asks us to love in this same way. To live in this way, we must tap into the supernatural. He says, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Thankfully, He also says, “for God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26).

However, while we must offer the Lord all of our loaves and fishes (Mt 14:17-18), we also must then dispose ourselves to God’s action; we can’t try to force God’s action. We must be open to receive from the Lord, instead of taking, even the good things that we think may be His will for us. This is why it is important to work from our rest, from our abiding with Jesus. We need to act in a way that allows God’s power to come into our actions. Abiding has value.

The Lord wants to be close to us. He had us in mind before He created the universe. He really chooses us. “He destined us in love to be His sons” (Eph 1:5). He created us to be holy and to love. Ultimately, there is no other vocation than holiness and love.

In order to live this way, we must get clear in our thinking. We must be sober. As 1 Peter 1:13 says, “Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Christian hope, hope in Jesus, consists of sins forgiven, death overcome, eternal life, and union with God. The gift that’s coming to us is the gift for which we were created—perfect love and community.

Consider the simplicity of it all: Fatima, Guadalupe, and Lourdes—the mysterious action of God. At Lourdes, our Blessed Mother appeared to a fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette, in a difficult family situation, in dire poverty, living in an old jail cell that was not fit for prisoners. She appeared to Bernadette eighteen times and eventually described herself as the “Immaculate Conception,” which indicates our Blessed Mother’s conception without sin, a title that the Church had given her only four years before the appearances at Lourdes. Bernadatte was uneducated and could not read or write; as her local priest later wrote, “She could never have invented this.”

After one of the apparitions, in which our Blessed Mother asked Bernadette to dig in the ground for a spring and to wash her face, Bernadette both humiliated herself by covering her face with mud as she drank and uncovered a spring that had not been known to previously exist. People continue to flock to Lourdes today, and many healings have been attributed to their prayers at the waters there.

After each of her visits with the “Beautiful Lady”—which is how Bernadette originally described our Blessed Mother—Bernadette’s own face was transformed and radiant with joy. Lourdes is not heavy on messages—it’s heavy on the reality and beauty of heaven and the supernatural. Bernadette would bow down to the ground and show profound reverence for the holiness of heaven revealing itself. She also made the Sign of the Cross with such reverence that it showed the holiness of the Trinity.

After the last apparition, Bernadette stayed in Lourdes another eight years and became illuminated every time she told the story of Mary’s appearances. She eventually joined a convent and lived a quiet life of prayer and suffering. Bernadette experienced ill health throughout the rest of her life and died at age thirty-five. In fact, our Blessed Mother had told Bernadette that she did “not promise to make (her) happy in this life, but in the next.” Now, almost 140 years later, Bernadette’s body remains incorrupt.

Much of Mary’s message at Lourdes was personal to Bernadette, about Bernadette joining her suffering to the suffering of Christ for the salvation of souls. However, Mary also called all of us to penance, penance, penance—prayer and sacrifice, just like in Fatima.

The last time Bernadette saw Mary was from across a river, because she couldn’t go to the grotto. For fifteen minutes, Bernadette said “all Mary did was look at me with love, and I’ve never seen her so beautiful.”

How often do we take time to abide with the Lord and ask Him to show us His love for us—to look at us with love? That is the only way we can go forward in His will, better loving Him and others.

Bernadette’s simplicity should reinforce our understanding of the fact that, unless you become like a little child, you will not enter the kingdom of God. Being like a little child affects our ability to receive the word He speaks to us. Let’s keep pressing on while resting in the heart of Jesus, allowing Him to little by little transform us into His likeness.

Rest in Him. Abide in Him. Be a child.

Calling on Mary in the Rosary

In Renewal Ministries’ January 2018 newsletter, Country Coordinator Lloyd Greenhaw outlines “A Survival Plan for 2018 and Beyond,” that you can read here. In it, he mentions the unique ways in which he invokes Mary’s intercession while praying the rosary. We are sharing those details below:

By Lloyd Greenhaw

I invoke the intercession of Mary at each decade of the Rosary. I begin with Our Lady of Fatima, asking her if I can join her in praying for the conversion of Russia and the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.

At the second decade, I ask Our Lady of Kibeho, who is the Mother of the Word, to plant the Word of God deep within me. I ask that it would transform me into the image of her Beloved Son and flow from me like a mighty river of living water, flooding the parched land and bringing forth abundant new life in Christ Jesus.

At the third decade, I ask Our Lady of Guadalupe to allow me to join her in praying for an end to abortion. I ask her to key another mighty revival as she once did in Mexico, that it would begin in the USA and spread worldwide, and that billions of souls would come to a saving knowledge of her Son.

At the fourth decade, I ask Our Lady of Lourdes, who is the Immaculate Conception, that her Immaculate Heart would triumph in Nancy and I, in our marriage, in our family, and in the ministry we serve.

At the fifth decade, I invite our Lady of Genesis 3:15 to come crush the head of the ancient serpent, who is the accuser of mankind and the father of all lies. I ask that our nation would truly become one nation under God and for a reversal of the culture of death.

At the Holy Queen, I invite Momma Maria to reign and rule in my life. I ask that God’s perfect will would be accomplished in this year of 2018 in and through her and the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.


[photo source]

The Fatima Children’s Wholehearted ‘Yes’

bergers-fatima

Today, on the one-hundredth anniversary of the final Fatima apparition, I want to share with you about my recent time in Fatima, where I spoke to a capacity audience of 2,300 people. Thankfully, Anne was able to join me, as the organizers invited her and paid her way, which is quite rare. I think Mary wanted us both there and inspired them to do so. It was good to share this special grace together. The conference celebrated fifty years of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the one-hundredth anniversary of Mary’s messages there.

Like many of you, I have been familiar with the events and message of Fatima for many years. I was even there, many years ago. I wasn’t expecting anything special to happen during this visit, but something did. Once again, a surprise of the Holy Spirit! Before I share that story, let me recount what happened at Fatima a century ago, for the sake of those who haven’t heard or have forgotten.

In 1917, an angel appeared three different times to three small children—ages seven, nine, and ten—who lived in a small rural village. There was a brother and sister, Francisco and Jacinta, and their slightly older cousin, Lucia. The angel, which identified itself as the Angel of Portugal and the Angel of Peace, taught the children two prayers. The angel prayed with his forehead touching the ground and taught the children the profound reverence owed to God. They forever after often prayed like that themselves.

Mary then appeared to the children once a month for six consecutive months. She revealed to them three secrets, which they could only reveal at a later time. During her last appearance in October of 1917, she manifested the “miracle of the sun,” which was viewed by perhaps 70,000 people and reported on in Portugal’s secular newspapers. A very important part of what she communicated to them was the reality and horror of hell, where “many sinners go.” She very briefly gave them a vision of hell, where they saw the suffering of the lost souls and the horror of the demons. Mary told them that many souls go there, because there is no one to pray and offer sacrifices for them, and she asked the children to do so. She also asked them to pray the rosary every day for peace.

This vision and Mary’s words both deeply impacted their souls, and they fervently responded to her request. Little Jacinta would often ask her brother and cousin: “Have you sacrificed for the conversion of sinners today?” They would often give their lunches to poor children, go without drinking water for long periods of time, and do other sacrifices. Mary also asked the children to offer the suffering that would come their way, as well as their voluntary prayers and sacrifices, for reparation for the sins that are so offending God and Mary. She told them that the present war, World War I, would end soon, but unless there was repentance from sin, there would come a greater and worse war, and that war was a punishment for sin.

Mary said a sign would be given before the beginning of the next war, if there was not sufficient repentance. Indeed, that sign was given in 1938—one month before Hitler annexed Austria—and was seen throughout Europe as an aurora borealis. She also warned that if there wasn’t repentance, Russia would spread its errors throughout the world, whole nations would be annihilated, and the Church would suffer much.

Mary also told the children that she would take Jacinta and Francisco to heaven soon, but that Lucia would need to learn to read and write, as she needed to stay on earth longer, in order to witness to this message. Lucia died in 2005, at the age of 97, in a Carmelite monastery. Francisco died in 1919, not yet ten, of the flu epidemic that swept the world at that time, and Jacinta in 1920, at the age of ten. Mary told Jacinta that if she was willing, she would suffer much and die alone in a hospital, but Mary would be with her. In a brutal operation, the doctors removed two of her ribs. Jacinta was so weak, she couldn’t have general anesthesia, the local anesthesia was ineffective, and she died alone in a Lisbon hospital.

Jacinta and Francisco were officially proclaimed saints this year, by Pope Francis at Fatima, and the cause for Lucia has begun.

So what struck me so deeply? The children—their totally fervent, wholehearted focus on the salvation of souls, and how they focused their whole way of life and each and every day on prayer and sacrifice for the conversion of sinners. It would take me more space than we have to tell you all about this, but suffice it to say I was deeply inspired and challenged to do more myself. As I visited each of their graves in the Basilica of Fatima, as as I read Lucia’s Memoirs, I felt like I was being given new friends, new models, by the Lord, to help me in my own spiritual journey and our work for souls.

Pray, fast, and offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, for peace in the world, and for mercy. As Jesus said as He began preaching: Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand.

……

These prayers were taught by the angel to the children:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.”

“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.”

These prayers were taught by Mary to the children:

“O my Jesus! Forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”

“Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

The children were moved by an interior impulse to pray this prayer:

“Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

Mary’s Example Leads Us into Discipleship

Mary and apostles
Image Credit

This post originally appeared on i.d.9:16’s blog.

By Joey McCoy

What is the deepest meaning of being a Catholic?

It is being a disciple of Jesus. This is what JPII, who always referred to Mary as the first disciple of Christ, called the ‘Marian profile’ of the faith.

Mary, he suggested, was the first disciple, for her assent to the angel’s message made possible the incarnation of the Son of God. The incarnation had been “extended” in history through the Church, the mystical Body of Christ. Mary’s assumption into heaven prefigured the glorification of all who will be saved. Thus Mary provides a “profile” of what the Church is, of how the people of the Church should live, and of what the destiny of disciples will be . . .

The ‘Marian profile’ in the Church is, John Paul suggested, even “more . . . fundamental” than the “Petrine profile.” Without being divided from it, the “Marian Church”—the Church of disciples—preceded and made possible the “Petrine Church”—the Church of office and authority . . . The two profiles were complementary. But the “Marian profile is . . . preeminent” and richer in meaning for every Christian’s vocation.

Put another way, the deepest meaning of what it means to be Catholic is to be like Mary. She came before Peter, Paul and all the rest. She shows us what we should be. She shows that what it means to be a Catholic is to be a disciple. This is the “preeminent profile” of the Catholic life.

The very first days of the Church, documented in the Acts of the Apostles, further depict this. The early apostolic years of the Church is a Church without buildings, programs, budgets, conferences, theological degrees, academic institutions, books, blogs, Catechism or Bible. It was simply a people obsessed with Jesus and living a new way of life by the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t obsessed with itself (‘ecclesiocentric’). It didn’t even seem to think of itself as ‘a religion.’ The Church was ‘The Way.’ It was a people with eyes fixed on Jesus and hearts set on learning Jesus (what it meant to live His way of life in the world). It was a people incarnating Jesus in the world. It was a people following Jesus into the world and into eternity.

JPII’s words help remind us that absolutely everything we do as the Church must flow from discipleship.

What is discipleship? It is the commitment to be a lifelong learner of Jesus. The commitment to be at His waist, looking over his shoulder, seeing what He does, how He does it and why He does it. It is to become an apprentice of Jesus. It is a complete way of life. It is the process of daily laying yourself on the altar so that the Holy Spirit can reproduce the life of Jesus in you. It is the process of learning to become a “little Jesus.”

This starts with first realizing that Jesus is alive and living within us, by the Holy Spirit given to us at our baptism. This means we can have an ongoing dialogue with Him for the rest of our lives! We can listen to Him, hear from Him, respond to Him. Hence, to be a disciple means essentially to live in two ever-repeating, foundational questions: 1) “what is God saying to me?” and 2) “what am I doing about it?”

Do we live with Jesus like that?

Being Catholic is not about adhering to an ideology. It is about being a people who follow (and therefore incarnate) Jesus, who hear and respond to His call, and thereby live intimately the way of life of the only One through whom we can receive the life of God (the Holy Spirit) and by whom we can be led back to the Father.

Where do we start? With desire. For the next thirty days, take your desire to be more like this into the wilderness of prayer and say: “Jesus, I desire to become more deeply, totally, and radically your disciple. I don’t know how. Help me. Show me the way. What are you saying to me?” Then listen, day after day, and follow Him.