My Pentecost

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When: The first weekend of August, 1994
Where: Catholic Charismatic Conference at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pa.

Something had happened that Spring and I was angry with God–so angry that by the time the conference arrived, I didn’t even want to go to Mass. (I can’t ever remember not wanting to go to Mass. Late Saturday nights and cold, blustery mornings don’t count–and I went to Mass anyway)! That scared me! So when I left for Scranton I told God in a not too reverent manner to “FIX our relationship!”

The Charismatics have a strong belief in the laying on of hands, especially for healing. Generally, there is a formal healing service, but it is not uncommon to see small groups around the campus praying with each other. I was sure that this was what God wanted, but I had not yet come to terms with this laying on of hands “stuff.” It symbolized for me the loss of control and I was having NONE of that…and to prove that God was on my side, for whatever reason, there was not formal healing service scheduled that year!

Saturday night is praise and worship. It is the highlight of the conference. Local people come just for those three hours. That year the attendance swelled to over 3500, so they announced that as the Eucharist was processed through the gym, rather than kneeling in such tight quarters, we should stand and reverently extend our right hand toward the Eucharist. In my anger, I balked! Who was going to tell me how to worship my God!!?

We were sitting with good friends Don and Jo-Ann; I sat between Don and Joe. What happened next happened so fast! Joe put his hand on my shoulder as he frequently did, but I took it to mean “laying on of hands”. I started to shake him off when the word “Don’t” came to me. I was on my knees, grabbing Don’s hand. The tears flowed freely–not shaking sobs that I recall, but huge tears that bathed my purse which was on the floor in front of me. Jo-Ann stepped behind Don and lay hands on me, as did the three women, total strangers, who were seated in front of us. I cried and cried—and never, ever felt such peace!! Fifteen minutes later, I stood, shaky and drained, but oh, so peaceful! The next morning I spent an hour before the Blessed Sacrament and received the Sacrament of Reconciliation soon after.

I have told very few people about this. Why do I tell you now? Jesus told us several times the night before He died that he would send the Advocate. The Advocate would teach us and guide us. He promised He would always be with us. He said He and the Father were one and He wanted us to be one with them. The Holy Spirit, the Advocate is that binding force. He wants to be one with us so much that He will seek us out no matter what our disposition. And then take us as His own if we let Him…..and we need to get out of His way to let Him act in our lives. If He had told me how He would call me back, I have no doubt that I would have asked for a different way.

I think that the Sacrament of Confirmation is truly “under-rated.” Baptism makes us part of God’s family and as in any family growth in the family is an ongoing process. We can receive Eucharist and Reconciliation over and over and should as often as possible. Married couples draw on the grace of their sacrament over and over in their commitment to each other and in raising their children, and the priest celebrates his sacrament at every Mass and with every Confession heard. But what about Confirmation? We receive it once and then what? We need to look for the grace of the Holy Spirit every day of our life. He can inspire every decision we make, every action we take. We only need to ask! For those of you receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation today–Congratulations! May you welcome the Holy Spirit every day of your lives!

Linda Caminiti