DAILY CATHOLIC -    Wednesday, April 8, 1998   volume 9, no. 70



by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F.

Faith: Key to the Heart of God

Thirty-Third Installment: Vertical Growth: Our Cooperation part two

     A second way to build faith is by allowing God to make His presence felt through the charismatic gifts, especially prophecy. How many persons really open themselves to hear the gift of prophecy operating? In I Corinthians 14:22, Paul says prophecy (not necessarily futuristic events) is what Christians need. Unbelievers arenít'í ready for it; their faith isnít'í deep enough. He says an unsaved person or one without the charismatic gifts upon hearing tongues is likely to think the tongues-speaker is crazy (I Corinthians 14:23). But on the other hand, he says, if you exercise prophecy (a gift higher than the gift of tongues) and that same unspiritual person comes into the prayer assembly, the prophecies (messages from God) will convince him of the fact that he is a sinner and his conscience will be pricked." "As he listens, his secret thoughts will be laid bare and he will fall down on his knees and worship God and declare that God is really there among you." This, then, is another way that God projects His presence to stimulate faith - through the charismatic gift of prophecy, authentically used.

      As God speaks to us through Scripture as a form of public revelation, He speaks to us also through prophecy as a form of private revelation (and, of course, the gift of discernment is to be used to determine the authenticity of each prophecy). Our faith is thus stimulated by public (scriptural) revelation and well-discerned private (prophetic) revelation.

      I remember hearing a very "high-octane" prophecy from a person who was clearly a genuine prophetónot just a person with a gift of prophecy, but with a well-developed ministry of prophecy. With over a thousand people present at this charismatic Mass, this fellow stood and spoke a couple of simple sentences of prophecy of God, and spoke a couple of simple sentences of prophecy of God, referring to His love for us. It was incredibly powerful and left a perceptible impact on everyone thereóprobably more effective than a hundred sermons in its power of conviction. Iím sure everyone there was given a surge of faith that had long-lasting effects. Today, years later, people still speak about that short prophecy. Faith, especially faith in Godís love for us (I John 4:16 and Romans 5:5) can be enormously expanded through prophecy (I Corinthians 14:24 and 25).

Next Installment: Vertical Growth:Our Cooperation - part three

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