We recently requested prayers for Ralph Martin’s trip to Spain to speak at the National Catholic Charismatic Conference and a five-day priests’ retreat, and are thankful for your response. Ralph has been experiencing the fruit of your prayers during his time in Spain (he returns home tomorrow). Below are some of Ralph’s reflections after he finished speaking at the conference and was about to begin the priests’ retreat.
By Ralph Martin, written on July 3, 2016
This national conference was very inspiring. They had 2,000 people come last year and this year there were 3,000 participants. The leadership seemed impressive and the priests appointed seem very gifted and very charismatic. There were about sixty priests at the conference and the new archbishop of Madrid celebrated a liturgy.
The highpoint for me was the music ministry. I think it was the best I’ve ever experienced. The level of instrumental talent, vocal talent, sound mixing, and arrangements, combined with amazing spiritual fervor and sensitivity to the Lord, was really amazing. All the musicians seemed capable of fervent leadership in prayer, in prophecy, and selecting just the right song and playing it for just the right amount of time, sometimes—no kidding—ten to fifteen times in a row, and it was perfect. Think about a combination of Mannheim Steamroller, Tijuana Brass, and Miami Sound Machine, completely transfigured and glorified, and that was the sound. It moved from time to time to a cappella or soloists—some of the male and female soloists were like Andre Bocelli and Sarah Brightman plus. It was not at all a performance, not at all theatrical, but truly in the service of glorifying God and lifting all 3,000 participants to heights of encounter with God. Thanks be to God!
I was the only speaker and gave four hour-long-plus talks with interpretation. Before I gave my first talk, I was wondering what approach I should take with things. When falling asleep the night before, the last sentences I read in Maryam of Bethlehem, a little biography of a Lebanese holy woman, written by Sr. Emmanuel of Medugorje, encouraged me in a direction. In speaking about various approved Marian apparitions in which Mary warned of the consequences of sin, she wrote: “The world is without hope for those who do not know Jesus.”
Sr. Emmanuel notes how Maryam was very direct in asking people to repent in light of the shortness of life and the reality of the final judgment. Sr. Emmanuel then commented: “But these things, so important to all, are rarely ever preached about! May they be preached about again, because without this perspective of eternity, where is man headed today?”
The next morning, I received an email before my first talk. It was from a close friend of Fr. Peter Ryan, SJ, who is joining the Sacred Heart Major Seminary faculty this Fall. She wrote,
“When I was reading a reflection today that Dr. Scott Hahn sent out about this Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20), an image immediately came to me of you preaching to the Charismatic conference and to the priests in Spain. The words that struck me were:
‘Jesus has a vision in this week’s Gospel—Satan falling like lightning from the sky, the enemy vanquished by the missionary preaching of His Church.’
May your missionary preaching in Spain be powerfully guided by the Holy Spirit so that you will inspire your listeners, especially the priests, to courageously speak the truth about the reality of God’s judgement and our need for repentance! In that way, we can again look forward to Satan falling like lightning from the sky!! You will be in my prayers this weekend and next week.”
I experienced these two things as the Lord giving me special encouragement to “go for it” with the message He has entrusted me with, and I must say, the Lord worked powerfully. At the end of my last talk, I clearly felt the Lord was inviting me to lead the people in a solemn request to God the Father to allow the angels assigned to Spain and the great litany of Spanish saints—Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Dominic, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, John of Avila, Peter Alcantara, Isidore and his wife, and so many others—to descend with the Holy Spirit in a new Pentecost, for the Holy Spirit is the communion of the communion of saints, and to let them help Spain “more than normally” and to start acting more directly by the special dispensation of the Father in this very critical time for Spain.
Also, there were many testimonies of conversions, healings, and deliverances. Many ministry teams were praying for people and priests were hearing confessions. It seemed as if you could pick any Spaniard at random, whether a teenager, or even younger or much older, and put a microphone in their hands and they would start testifying/preaching with great passion and freedom.
Thank you for your prayers! I’m glad to be united with you all in the service of GOD!