The Ascension

B217B: The phrase, being “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5) – how does this differ from John’s baptism or what Catholic Charismatics call “baptized in the Holy Spirit”?

A person who was baptized with the water baptism that John conveyed did not receive the Holy Spirit. That precious gift had to wait until Jesus ascended into heaven, and then sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. From that time on, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within anyone who steps forward in faith and is baptized.

The term “Baptized in the Holy Spirit,” as used by Catholic and other “charismatics,” means “an internal religious experience (or a prayer experience) whereby the individual experiences the risen Christ in a personal way. Rev. Vincent Walsh (appointed episcopal vicar of the Charismatic Renewal) describes it that way. He goes on to say that the term “religious experience” means that the person’s imagination, memory and feelings are touched by God’s action, as well as his intellect and will. This experience is different from, but based upon, a religious faith which generally affects only the intellectual faculties. Signs of this religious experience may, but need not, accompany this “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and include things like consolation in prayer, the gift of tears, a profound feeling of a deep love for Christ, or of repentance and conversion.

In the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell within us. However, many powers associated with this indwelling are bound up, untapped so to speak. A “release of the power of the Spirit” means that the full effects of the sacraments are actually realized, as the Spirit leads the Christian into a new life of prayer, of outlook and of behavior.(1)

KNOW YOUR CATECHISM! The Catholic charismatic renewal has the blessing of the Church, beginning officially with Pope Paul VI. It would be well if every Catholic would round out their prayer experiences by learning about this charismatic movement which is in ecclesial communion with our Church, a sign of true prayer (CCC #2689). [Note: the discussion preceding “1” is from Rev. Walsh’s book “A Key to Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church.”]

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