THE gifts of the Holy Spirit have been neglected, says Dr Mary Healy, who has made it her mission to see his renewal in Christian hearts everywhere.
Dr Healy is a professor of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and an international speaker on topics related to Scripture, evangelization, healing, and the spiritual life.
Prof Healy, who is also a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, also has a passion for the Charismatic Renewal movement, and was recently in Toowoomba to speak at the 2019 Immaculata Mission School.
“I participated in the Mission School run by the Sisters of the Immaculate, and I was very impressed with the whole thing,” Prof Healy said.
“There were about 250 young adults there and they came from quite a range of degrees of commitment to their faith.
“There were some who were very fervent, very well formed in the faith – others less so. Others perhaps a little bit more unsure. Others who were only recently converted.”
Prof Healy said she was inspired by the way the Immaculata team ministered to the people.
“All of these young adults coming from different places and how they bonded together, and how they greatly loved worshipping the Lord together,” she said.
“It’s almost as if I could watch them during the week growing in their level of interest and their level of zeal for the Lord.”
Prof Healy, who co-authored The Spiritual Gifts Handbook: Using Your Gifts to Build the Kingdom, was impressed by the faith of the Toowoomba youth.
“One thing that stood out were that there were perhaps a higher percentage of young adults who were not yet thoroughly formed in their Catholic faith, but who were interested,” she said. “Many who probably had been brought up in a highly secularised environment but were hungry for God.
“There were young people there with tattoos and piercings and looking like they didn’t just walk out of the church.”
Prof Healy is also the general editor of Catholic Commentary on Scripture, a platform designed to help Catholics strengthen their Bible knowledge.
“We began the series almost 15 years ago recognising the fact that Catholics are rather starved for solid biblical material that’s neither highly academic, nor introductory level Bible study, but rather something in between,” she said.
“We wanted to create a series in an exegetically competent way: explain what the biblical means, but also what the Church has taught about it, what saints have said about it, and how we can apply it to Christian life today.”
Another passion of Dr Healy’s is the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Dr Healy is the chair for International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services – an organisation approved by the Holy See to serve the worldwide Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
“(The ICCRS) is a group of theologians who address important questions relating to the renewal, so that people in the renewal can have a clear and sound way of expressing to pastors in the Church what they’re doing and what goes on what and what the vocabulary we’re using means,” she said.
“And also so that pastors of the church can properly guide and pastoral renewal groups in their parishes and dioceses (can too).
“It’s important to recognise that baptism in the Holy Spirit and the embrace of the Holy Spirit and his charisms is not something meant for merely one movement in the Church. It’s for all. It’s for all Christians.
“To be filled with the Holy Spirit, overflowing with the Holy Spirit with his supernatural power, to live the Christian life, to become holy, and especially to evangelise and serve and to use his gifts, his charisms for the building up of others.”
Prof Healy said that much regarding the Holy Spirit and charisms had been “neglected” in recent centuries and set aside in favour of an imbalanced institutional view of the Church and Christian life.
“The Lord has been restoring the balance and one of the ways he’s doing it (is) by raising up the Catholic Charismatic renewal and he’s been pouring out his Holy Spirit in an amazing abundance in our time. Along with the more obviously supernatural charisms such as healings, miracles, and prophecies,” she said.
“God’s purpose in doing this is to restore the Church to normal.
“All of those things are part of the normal life of the Church.
“The healing of the Mother Church from something that had been not completely lost, but neglected.
“And not in the official teaching of the Church, but in practice and theology.
“Walking in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is the normal Christian life.
“The Lord is reminding the whole Church of what’s normal.”