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THEOLOGIZING AND THINKING ABOUT THE BAPTISM IN THE

HOLY SPIRIT A FEW REFLECTIONS




INTRODUCTION

On the second of June 2014 Pope Francis attended a conference
of about 2!000 "e"bers of the Catho#ic Charis"atic Rene$a#
fro" countries around the $or#d% In his "essa&e he &a'e his
hopes and e(pectations for the Catho#ic Charis"atic Rene$a#%
One of these hopes "i&ht co"e as a &reat surprise to "an)% *e
said 'er) c#ear#) to those in the Charis"atic Rene$a#+ ,I hope
you will share with all in the Church the grace of the Baptism in
the Holy Spirit-% This brief re.ection on theo#o&i/in& and
thin0in& about the 1aptis" in the *o#) 2pirit is a response to
the Pope3s ca##%


In the Catho#ic Church $e ha'e a 'er) rich and sophisticated
herita&e of tradition% 4e ha'e de'e#oped a #ar&e bod) of
doctrine! of canon #a$! of institutions! of #itur&ies! de'otions
and spiritua#ties% This is $onderfu# but! as Fr Raniero
Canta"a#essa has often pointed out! there is a prob#e" that
'er) often resu#ts fro" this "assi'e herita&e% 4e often present
this herita&e in the $ron& order% 4e often present sophisticated
aspects! secondar) aspects and e'en "inor aspects to peop#e
before the) ha'e understood the basic &ospe# "essa&e! before
the) ha'e had a true con'ersion! and before the) ha'e
de'e#oped a co""itted re#ationship of #o'e $ith Jesus Christ%
4hat has co"e to be 0no$n as the Charis"atic Rene$a# is
he#pin& to rectif) this! "ost especia##) throu&h the e(perience
that it ca##s 1aptis" in the *o#) 2pirit%


There are toda) "an) "i##ions of Catho#ics! possib#) up to 120
"i##ion! $ho ha'e under&one a profound re'ita#i/ation in their
spiritua# #ife! or $ho ha'e co"e to their 5rst e'er conscious
e(perience of faith and spiritua#it)! throu&h $hat has co"e to
be 0no$n as the Charis"atic Rene$a#% Char#es 4hitehead
ri&ht#) points out that these Catho#ics inc#ude #a)peop#e fro" a##
$a#0s of #ife and fro" e'er) #e'e# of societ)6 the) inc#ude
cardina#s! bishops! priests! and nuns6 the) inc#ude peop#e of a##
a&es% 7t the heart of the Charis"atic Rene$a# is $hat has co"e
to be ca##ed the 1aptis" in the *o#) 2pirit! or the 1aptis" of the
*o#) 2pirit%

7s $e consider this e(perience I thin0 it is i"portant that $e do
not #et ter"ino#o&) distract us% 4e need to distin&uish bet$een
the e(perience! the theo#o&) and the ter"ino#o&)% 2t Jose 8aria
9scri'a! in a di:erent conte(t co"p#ete#) unre#ated to the
Charis"atic rene$a# and the 1aptis" in the *o#) 2pirit! said
that the e(perience usua##) co"es 5rst! it is then codi5ed in
canon #a$ and then the theo#o&) co"es% In the case of $hat is
no$ "ost co""on#) ca##ed the 1aptis" in the *o#) 2pirit
so"ethin& si"i#ar can be seen! thou&h the theo#o&isin& and
re.ection has co"e ahead of canon #a$

7s I ha'e said! the "ain ter" used for this e(perience! at #east
in the 9n&#ish;spea0in& $or#d is <1aptis" in the *o#) 2pirit-%
This ter"ino#o&) is preferred b) "an) because of its scriptura#
roots% The ter" <baptis" in the =*o#)> 2pirit- is not actua##)
found in the 2criptures but the 'erba# for" <bapti/e in *o#)
2pirit- can be found si( ti"es in the Ne$ Testa"ent% 2o"e
peop#e! not $antin& the e(perience to be confused $ith
sacra"enta# baptis"! prefer ter"s such as the <re#ease of the
2pirit- or as a ne$ <5##in& of the 2pirit-% 4hate'er theo#o&) one
ho#ds and $hate'er ter"ino#o&) one uses it is c#ear that this
e(perience is at the heart of the Charis"atic Rene$a# and that
it is bein& e(perienced in a "assi'e &#oba# sca#e%