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The InterVIEW

It’s time to ‘wake up,’ speaker says

Maria Vadia - Photo provided

A regular feature of The Catholic New World, The InterVIEW is an in-depth conversation with a person whose words, actions or ideas affect today's Catholic. It may be affirming of faith or confrontational. But it will always be stimulating.

On June 19-20, members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Chicago will gather at St. Luke School in River Forest for a revival. Organizers promise it will be a spirit-filled weekend with lots of praise and worship of Jesus. Speaking at that revival will be Maria Vadia, a Florida-based charismatic author and prayer leader.

Vadia was born in Cuba and fled with her family to Miami when she was 10 years old. This lifelong Catholic said she was “baptized in the Holy Spirit” in 1987 and consecrated her life to the Lord and to the preaching of the Gospel.

She is active in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the Archdiocese of Miami and speaks at charismatic conferences around the world.

Vadia authored five books, the latest being “Break Open Your Wells.” The following are answers she gave through an e-mail interview with Joyce Duriga.

Catholic New World: Those in the charismatic movement often focus on the work of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. How would you describe the Holy Spirit and how can we see him?

Maria Vadia: The Holy Spirit is a person, not a force or energy. We know when the Holy Spirit is present because of the fruit: joy, love, peace (Gal 5:22). He is the Spirit of truth, illumination, revelation, wisdom, knowledge. He gives gifts to us so that we can carry on with the works of Jesus (Jn 14:12). The Holy Spirit thrives in an atmosphere of thanksgiving, praise and worship, which is the atmosphere of heaven. He always points to Jesus and gives all the glory to him. Wherever Jesus is being exalted, magnified and lifted up, there is the Holy Spirit.

CNW: A hallmark of the charismatic movement is praise during services — hands and arms lifted in the air, some people speaking in tongues. For those used to more sedate styles of worship, this can be intimidating or off-putting. What advice would you give to someone attending a charismatic service for the first time who has never experienced this type of worship?

Vadia: I would recommend the persons who have never attended a charismatic prayer group to read the Scriptures, especially 2 Samuel 6, 2 Chronicles 20, Psalm 145, 149, 150, to name a few. Revelation 4 and 5 clearly show the worship that’s going on in heaven. Praising and worshiping the Lord with all of our beings comes from the heart of God. The charismatic renewal did not invent this; the Holy Spirit simply restored a truth that was lost.

CNW: In your book “Break Open Your Wells,” you say that during praise, the Lord’s “manifest presence is released.”

Vadia: The manifest presence of God is when the Lord makes his powerful presence known; in other words, the Holy Spirit starts doing the same things that Jesus would do if Jesus was physically present. People get healed and delivered; they experience the joy of his presence (Ps 16:11); they experience a freedom (2 Cor 3:17).

There is a release of the prophetic, meaning that people start having visions and hearing the voice of the Lord in that time of intimacy with him. The Lord inhabits the praises of his people (Ps 22:3) and when this happens the atmosphere of the place totally changes; it’s heaven invading earth.

CNW: How do you define praise?

Vadia: There are many words for praise in the Bible. Basically praise is giving someone the honor due him. In this case, the Lord Jesus Christ deserves all the honor, praise and glory. We celebrate who he is with all of our being, spirit, soul and body. This means that we praise him with 100 percent of our being. We shout, clap, dance, jump, twirl, sing.

CNW: What can people attending the revival on June 19 expect to hear from you?

Vadia: That it’s time for the church (us) to wake up and live out our baptismal vows of priests, prophets and kings. We are co-laborers with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 6:1) in extending the kingdom of God on earth and we cannot remain as spectators any longer. There is a harvest of more than 4 billion people that still do not know Jesus.

Vadia will lead a revival sponsored by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Chicago, 7-10 p.m. June 19-20, in Waldron Hall, St. Luke School, 519 Ashland Ave., River Forest. For information, call (708) 209-1199.