The Holy Spirit is a vital part of your faith journey

I was a newly hatched teacher and at loose ends in my life journey.  Through no fault of my own I went to my first prayer meeting just to satisfy an insistent friend who had been inviting me for weeks.  In an experience that defied logic I walked into that meeting and felt more “at home” than any location I had ever been in before.  I was hooked and here it is thirty-five years later.  Talk about an invitation that stuck.  That community and the wonderful priest who established it became my primary teachers/examples for whom and what a catholic Christian is.  Needless to say, my introduction to the faith included many “close encounters” with the Spirit.  Sometimes our teaching and learning happens without the aid of words ala St. Francis of Assisi.

In the beginning, the Charismatic experience is pretty mind boggling.  The things you see and hear are engaging in a way that your spirit has never been stirred before.  The elegant sound of hundreds of people praying in tongues, rising and falling together without the aid of a “conductor” is oddly calming, boldly spoken prophecy, words of knowledge, deep prayer, resting in the spirit and silence that is literally palpable.  In a prayer meeting of long standing, none of these things are out of place and no one in the meeting is “flapped” by any of it.  The Spirit also moves in “the ordinary” and uses other “manifestations” of our incarnation as part of this experience.

The Spirit moves as he will!

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“And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.” (Luke 22:44)

Q: Did Jesus really sweat blood during his “Agony in the Garden”?

A: Jesus certainly could have, if he wanted to. Let’s see what the Bible says:

Luke 22:39-44  And going out, he went, according to his custom, to the Mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him. And when he was come to the place, he said to them: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And he was withdrawn away from them a stone’s cast. And kneeling down, he prayed. Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer.  And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.

Luke’s account seems to indicate that Jesus sweat was like drops of blood. I haven’t found anything to definitively prove that Jesus actually sweated blood, although there is general medical evidence which seems to attest to that possibility.

Here’s another distinct possibility – a total lunar eclipse:

The Jewish Passover (and our Easter Sunday) always closely corresponds with the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox, every spring. The actual calendar date jumps around a lot, but from this, the day itself is fairly easy to determine.

Let’s assume that Holy Thursday was also accompanied by a great (and quite appropriate) sign in the Heavens … a total lunar eclipse … an event which is known to occasionally result in the moon looking deeply red in color … just like blood.

In that event, large drops of sweat would be illuminated by the relatively bright, reddish light … becoming as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.

The prophet Joel seemed to have some particular insight into this, as well:

Joel 2:27-32  And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: and I am the Lord your God, and there is none besides: and my people shall not be confounded forever.  And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover, upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit.  And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved: for in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem shall be salvation, as the Lord hath said, and in the residue whom the Lord shall call.

Virgin Mary statuette allegedly moved its fingers, cried, produced oil.

“I don’t know why God chose me; only he knows,” Sallakian said. “This is a sign for people to love each other and pray. There are people who don’t believe, but maybe this is the sign. I don’t know.”

It began at 10:30 p.m. July 19 when Sallakian was praying in her living room. She said she saw a star on the Mary statue, and when she touched it, her hand was covered in oil.

“She gave us the oil for nine days,” Sallakian said. “I don’t know if it’s finished.”

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Photo – (Raul Roa/News-Press)