Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"If anybody tries to lay their hands on me, I'm outta there!"

In my last post I spoke about the dreams I began having after my conversion. The nights were great, but during the day I wanted to talk to people about God, but ,with the exception of my mom, nobody wanted to talk about Him. I thought about God day and night and started getting depressed due to the lack of people willing to talk about Him. "Lord, you don't have many friends here", I would tell Him. This wasn't true... I just couldn't find them! One day, after Mass, I saw a pamphlet in the back of the Church that described a seminar called Life in the Spirit. Having had bad [horrendous really] experiences with the Charismatic Movement as a child I was very wary about attending but I was desperate to learn and talk to anybody about God. I understood, by that time, that what I had undergone as a child was a form of "toxic religion" and didn't really mean that every charismatic christian group was like this [after a period of counseling, I had mostly come to terms with this part of my past]. It was on Tuesday night from 7:00 - 9:00 and my husband was asleep at this time since he worked third shift back then. After some prayer, I decided to go. I figured that I could stop attending if I didn't like it.

The first meeting was great, everyone talked about God, prayed, and someone gave a talk on the Holy Spirit. The people were kind and you could tell that they really loved God. "This is cool", I thought to myself, "I can handle this."  The second meeting was a little different; after speaking about God, people started praying in tongues. "Here we go", I said to the Lord, "The bizzare stuff is coming next." I didn't know how to speak in tongues, but I had known people who had this gift and the thought didn't thrill me.  " Lord, if I did that I would probably accidentally blaspheme you or something. You probably shouldn't give me this gift."

I skipped the next week. The following week I felt the strong urge to go. "Okay, Lord, but if anybody tries to lay their hands on me I'm outta there!" I went and no one laid a hand on me but the meetings were getting stranger and stranger. At one point a bunch of people got up and started singing to the Lord, all in different languages! The harmonies were spectacular!  "Wow!", I said to God, "that's pretty awesome."  After the singing, people started standing up and giving " Words of Knowledge". These were all passages from the Bible. I remember praying very hard and saying, "Please, Lord, don't give me one of these words. I'm too shy and afraid to stand up in front of all these people." At that moment, someone stood up and said, "My strength is made perfect in weakness."  I giggled... I knew this one was for me, I could feel it. Luckily, the Lord never called on me and I relaxed and enjoyed the seminars in the weeks that followed. Until, that is, the final week. When they explained that teams would be praying over all the newcomers I got really nervous and started to panic. Though I knew this group wasn't like the ones from my childhood, by the time it was my turn I had a panic attack. My body was drenched with sweat from head to toe and my hands were icy cold. I tried taking steady breaths and tried to relax. The team started praying over me and.....nothing. Nothing bad happened. I didn't know what I was expecting, but the only experience that I had ever had with charismatic groups in the past were the kind who thought there were demons behind every cough and sneeze and the devil's minions were lurking about in every corner ready to pounce on us if we were not good. By the time I was 16,  I had stopped going to church because I was terrified of God the Father - He didn't seem very loving to me, or to my brothers and sisters. We all left the church, though our pain had nothing to do with Catholicism. Luckily, we were all confirmed, but that was about it. But I am digressing [or maybe I should say: regressing ], nothing bad happened while I was being prayed over and it was fine. One of the ladies even had a vision of me in heaven at the Lord's table and he was anointing me with oil .
Did I ever have vivid dreams that night! With the exception of this seminar I have had no involvement in the Charismatic Movement [except for the childhood stuff]  but I do know a few people who have charisms. I am not sure why I didn't join this group. I think part of it is that I love peace and quiet. The Church that I attend is very traditional and beautiful, this Christmas we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1st Mass celebrated here! The architecture is incredible and Catholic to the bone: I love it here. And it was here, in this quiet, old, church that I first started receiving "Words of Knowledge".

I can speak in tongues, now, but I rarely do so. Only in emergencies :)

13 comments:

  1. I so miss these posts. I so know the feeling about not wanting someone praying over me, at our prayer meetings there are some with some very strong illnesses, one very perverted. When I mention this too father he says she has a great gift of intercessory prayer but still is awful to see her start going up to the priest very pervocatively. I have since not wanted to go to them. I am also having trouble in my community in Carmel and have even prayed and prayed about leaving. They begged me too wait.

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  2. I once went to a charismatic prayer group that had silence along with praise and worship. I loved it. I didn't feel comfortable the first time I went. My sp director told me I needed to hang in there for 5 weeks and then decide. So I did. By the 5th week, I loved it and felt very comfortable. I stopped going when my husband started the Diaconate formation. We had to cut down on things. But I still miss it. I go to a Magnificat when I have a chance. It is a Catholic Women's group. Only meets about 4 or 5 times a year. Ever been to one?
    BTW, did you get my email? I hope I had the right one. Have a blessed Christmas!

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  3. Colleen,
    I'm glad you enjoyed the prayer group. No, I've never even heard of the Catholic Woman's group Magnificat. I do a Rosary group and attend a Bible study but that's about it.

    I just checked my e-mail after seeing your comment. If I have trouble with the paypal account maybe we could do it the other way. I promise my checks are good:) God bless you and have a great Christmas!

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  4. Linda,
    It is so good to hear from you! Do you have a school break for a few weeks?
    I am not fond of being prayed over unless it's a priest, it stems from my childhood when I would be forced to allow this. I used to run in my room and cry after and ask Mother Mary what was so wrong with me that they felt the need to do this. She has been my consolation my whole life.
    You are in my prayers still:) I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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  5. I'm going to call a spade a spade, even though my elderly mother would tell me not to. If I don't want to be touched, and me not wanting that is a problem for someone at one of these groups, then it their problem to solve, not mine to suffer. I can so identify with people's experiences and feel for you Mary, as a child that you had to suffer in that way.
    Being with Our Lady and Jesus is such a different experience though, and surely this is the atmosphere one should sense when with fellow christians. There are always people with defects of character in prayer meetings, but they should not be the leaders, as this might mean a hidden agenda.As is said in A.A, we don't want the lunatics running the asylum!

    God bless everyone,this Christmas week.

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  6. Hello Mary,
    Yes I am on school break. I think I have all A's but on one of my finals I froze up. It was all essays and we had only one hour to answer them and utilize which therapy we would use for the client. I needed more time and I felt rushed. Not a good feeling when you are use to going at a pace.

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  7. Shadowlands,
    At the time that I attended these meetings I was too afraid to speak up. The Lord has done a lot of healing in me over the years and now my voice is much stronger.
    Merry Christmas, Shadowlands!
    You are in my prayers:)

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  8. Linda,
    I am glad that school is going so well for you! We missed you:)

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  9. I really enjoyed reading this, you should write a book. You draw the reader in very well :)

    "demons behind every cough and sneeze" ...
    I laughed at this, I know what you mean :)

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  10. I, too, love the beauty and peace of the traditional church.

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  12. Thank you, Nick. What do you want to know? :)

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