With over 45 years of charismatic experience, Belgian missionary Jean-Luc Moens, a member of the Emmanuel Community, was chosen as moderator of CHARIS, International Service for Catholic Charismatic Renewal (RCC). It was established by Pope Francis at the feast of Pentecost this year (2019) and its mission is to foster the flow of grace that the Holy Spirit manifests in the Church through his gifts. Jean-Luc was in Fortaleza – CE, participating in the Halleluya Festival. On this occasion, he shared a special experience he had with God, his impressions of the event and the importance of the new evangelization.
Just a chance for God
When he met his would-be wife, Jean-Luc was studying mathematics. Encouraged by his girlfriend, he took part in some church activities, but without much involvement. However, even with a rational outlook on life, the mathematician states that although everything about the Catholic Church was not for him, he had a desire to understand why others knew Jesus Christ and he didn’t. But later, after reading David Wilkerson’s book The Cross and the Switchblade, he opened up to God’s actions in his life.
The experience of the missionary with God took place in a meeting on theology. On the spot, Jean-Luc recited the following prayer: “I am very well as I am. I have a wonderful girlfriend and my mathematics studies. I go to mass every Sunday. If you want me to ask you for an outpouring of the Spirit, today I give you a chance.” He also asked God for a young man to pray for him. The meeting was about to end and no one had gone to him. When he was at the door to leave, he felt a hand touch him and turning around, he saw that it was the boy who had caught his attention at the beginning of the meeting. The young man prayed for him and there was his baptism in the Holy Spirit. “I realized that God had heard my prayer.”
The action of the Spirit
The gift that Jean-Luc begs most of God is that of discernment: He recognizes that this is his greatest need now as he assumes such an important role. “I tell God not to allow me to do anything that could prevent the plan of love for the CCR and the Church”, shares the missionary.
Regarding the action of the Spirit, Jean-Luc explains that it is possible to perceive it and that it should not be limited, especially when evangelization is lived. “Living the charisms is being available to the Holy Spirit, letting him act without my knowing it,” says the moderator of CHARIS.
Halleluya and the joy of being in the presence of God
After walking in the Halleluya Festival arena and seeing the various options offered to the public, Jean-Luc realized the presence of a complete system that is attractive to young people, but that takes them further. Another aspect that caught his attention was the dynamics of youth evangelization to meet other young people. “The only way to attract a person to Christ is through personal contact and here it is done,” he said.
Even the social dimension of the event deeply touched him when he saw people donate blood and give food to the needy. This year, the Halleluya Festival exceeded expectations for the collection of blood bags. The CHARIS moderator also pointed out that at the Festival young people can experience the joy of being with God because there are entertainment options geared especially for them which include games, sports and a lot of music.
CHARIS, the wish of Pope Francis
As desired and requested by Pope Francis, CHARIS makes itself available to all the charismatic realities throughout the world. Jean-Luc explains that the mission of this new body is to share the experience of the Holy Spirit lived in the CCR with the whole Church. Pope Francis himself has expressed this intention by asking priests to share more the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Among the works developed by CHARIS are leadership training, studies on Life Seminars in the Holy Spirit and prophetic intercession for ecumenism.
Evangelizing is like parachuting
Concerning the new evangelization, the moderator of CHARIS explains that the New Pentecost takes place while evangelizing. “Evangelizing can be frightening and therefore we want the Spirit to give us security.” But, according to the missionary, evangelization is like parachuting, the Spirit arrives at the right time, not before or after; opens the parachute and gives the gift necessary to reach the heart of a particular person. “Evangelize and you will see the Holy Spirit at work”, He motivates.
Testimony of evangelization
I was on the train and I encountered an American family (father, mother and son). They started talking to me. “What do you do?”, the father enquired. “I am a missionary,” I replied. “Are you a priest?”, he asked. “No, I am married have seven children. Are you Christians?”, I asked. The father answered saying that he is a Methodist. The woman said she was not a Christian and believed in nothing. So, I started talking to her. I saw that her husband was happy that I talked to his wife because “nobody is a prophet in his own house”. There was a moment when I told this woman that she wasn’t born to live 60 or 70 years on this earth, but for eternity. Those words touched the woman’s heart and she began to cry. I understood that it was something said by the Holy Spirit Himself. This is a typical example of when the Holy Spirit acts in us … A simple phrase that deeply touched this woman.
Translation: Jhoanna Climacosa