A Glimpse of Heaven by David Mangan

I have been asked to consider the question, “What is the charism of the charismatic renewal?” How does one look at all of the tremendous gifts and blessings we have received in this move of the Holy Spirit and narrow it down to “the” charism of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal?  The National Service Committee includes in its mission statement that one of our major charisms is to bring the baptism in the Holy Spirit into the heart of the Church. How many lives have been transformed by this wonderful experience? This is certainly a significant gift for us to foster in the Church.  Consider the great variety of ways in which the Holy Spirit has enriched us through the charismatic renewal. We could mention a significant gift for praise and worship, for example. What about the number of people among us who have received healing. Then there is the gift of tongues, which Fr. Cantalamessa once referred to as vocalized contemplation. I know that this gift has transformed my prayer life. Many more blessings could be cited. I think it would be reasonable to say that the charism of the Catholic charismatic renewal is constantly developing, manifesting itself in many and varied ways.

If I may quote Pope Benedict, he also said, “When one has the grace to sense a strong experience of God, it is as though seeing something similar to what the disciples experienced during the Transfiguration.  For a moment they experienced, ahead of time, something that will constitute the happiness of paradise.” For this reason I arism is not only the grace of

think our charism in not only the grace of Pentecost, but also the grace of the Transfiguration.

In my experience of this I like to call it a “glimpse of heaven.” You are probably aware of a phrase that some people say when they are extremely happy about something. They say, “I thought I died and went to heaven.” I realize that everyone’s experience is different, but when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit I thought I remained alive and went to heaven. I would think that for those of us who have been touched by the Catholic  Charismatic Renewal have, on occasion, received a “glimpse of heaven.” Perhaps it was in a prayer time, or at Mass, or in a time of praise in a prayer meeting, or when alone, looking up at the stars.

And I am just like Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration. I want to stay there and build a house and never leave. But then, it is only a glimpse of heaven. The best is yet to come. So I find in my life, these moments don’t last for as long as I would like but they are a powerful motivator to keep me moving toward becoming more like Jesus.  These experiences of the work of the Holy Spirit are only down payment of what is yet to come.

What if I don’t have experiences like this? We still have many glimpses of heaven. At Mass, when the priest elevates the host for us to adore, it is a glimpse of heaven. When we see a newborn baby, it is another glimpse of heaven. Although we may have experiences where we feel great joy, it is not the feeling that is the gift. The gift is that ability to recognize it for what it is, a glimpse of heaven. The gift is the action of the Holy Spirit in our life whether we feel good about it or not.

In the Gospel of John 16:7, Jesus says, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” For the longest time when I read this verse, I found it very difficult to understand. How could Jesus’ leaving us be to our advantage. If I were alive at that time I’m sure I would have been totally confused. I would want Jesus to stay with me always. I suspect the apostles had difficulty understanding that as well. But when I read Romans 8:11, I begin to see what Jesus had in mind for us. Paul said,

“If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.” Just think of it, you have within you the power of the Holy Spirit. You have within you the One who raises the dead!

In the Gospel of John 14:20 Jesus says, “In that day you will know that I am my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”  What a wonderful divine mixup we find in this scripture.  Just imagine, Jesus is in the Father and you are in him and he is in you.  Look at who you’re hanging out with.  We are keeping great company.  And this is accomplished by the Holy Spirit’s action in us.  Now there’s a glimpse of  heaven!” What a gift we have!