By God’s grace I have become more ecumenical as I have matured.  Early on, I learned to see beyond the institutional challenges of the Roman Catholic Church, finding and embracing the rich spiritual streams in its long history.  It all started for me when I met and enjoyed rich, deep fellowship with some Catholic Charismatics.  It continued as I became acquainted with the deep spiritual life found in such people as St. John of the Cross and Bernard of Clairvaux.  So, in this blog, I share two recent articles that could very well be addressed to any evangelical church.  

First, from Ralph Martin’s blog at Renewal Ministries.  I have followed Ralph for years, and believe he has a proven prophetic ministry.  In 1975 at a conference in Rome, he gave this prophecy: “Because I love you, I want to show you what I’m doing in the world today.  I want to prepare you for what is to come.  Days of darkness are coming on the world – days of tribulation.  I will lead you into the desert.  I will strip you of everything that you depend on now, so you depend just on me.”

God is preparing his people for the days to come.  We are to heed the warning.  Days of darkness and tribulation are coming upon us.  We will find ourselves in a spiritual desert.  What we have depended on will be removed.  Through all this the church will be purified. 

Another prophecy that has stood the test of time is from Fr. Mike Scanlan, who spoke these words back in 1980: “What I have not accomplished in my blessings and gifts, I will accomplish by my judgment and my purification.”  Today the Lord is exposing the worldliness in the church.  We are being called to repent. 

Quoting two Catholic brothers who have prophetic ministries might cause some to question my discernment – or to even cry “Heresy!”  Trust me – these are true servants of the Lord.  Their words are for the whole church.  God is allowing tribulation, darkness and pruning to take place.  God is forming a holy, purified church that will speak the truth and shine as a beacon in the days to come.  Don’t be surprised by tribulation. 

Yet another Catholic testimony is from retired Archbishop Charles J. Chaput:  “We need a new Pentecost.”  Speaking to the graduates of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, the Archbishop lamented the religious life of the church as “a malleable, vanilla kind of religion that can be used to justify almost any ugly idea or behavior that needs a moral gloss.”  He spoke of American Catholic life as “the temptation to accommodate, to compromise, to get along and fit in – and then feel good about it.”   Tolerance is placed above “genuine love, justice, and charity, because it seems so much more peaceful to manage differences that way.”

In the Archbishop’s view, the church has “abandoned who we really are. In one word – “holy” which means “other than” or “different from.”  So, his challenge is for “a church rooted in holiness [and] parishes on fire with faith.  He dares to say “we need priests who will spark a new, Pentecostal fire from every vocation and form of discipleship in the Church.”  “We need a new Pentecost,” he declared.  “Remember that.  Give your life to that.” 

Wow.  This retired archbishop is preaching like a Pentecostal preacher to Catholic seminarians.  Oh, that we would have ears to hear the passion and conviction in his words.  We do need a “new Pentecost.”  Be open to the work of his Spirit in your heart.