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‘Shepherds’ must be on fire, for ‘sheep’ to feel the heat

Fr Trevor Nathasingh prays at the conference opening. Photo: Elmo Griffith

Catholic Charismatics were encouraged to embark on a new season of renewing and reviving the Church as “active participants”.

Fr Trevor Nathasingh believed that in order to rid the “staleness” and “lethargy” that exist in the Church, “drastic changes” must be introduced. He recognised a great “deception” in the Church of preaching to no effect of conversion.

“…it is supposed to convict and convince people sitting down in the pews that they need to get it right, not leave them comfortable and have them smiling: ‘Nice sermon Father, you preach well, it was five minutes, that was nice.’

“I want you tell me ‘Ah vex. I don’t like what you say. Yuh upset me,’ …. My purpose is to upset you. You have to go [now] and check yourself before God; you have to ask yourself ‘Am I where God wants me to be?’” Fr Nathasingh boldly declared in his talk for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference Saturday, January 5. His presentation was on the passage Ephesians 6:11–13.

In delivering his talk, Fr Nathasingh observed that after 50 years of the Renewal, members of the RC community opined “That’s not my style”; “I want no part.”

“Alive in the Holy Spirit is not your thing?” he questioned.

“…we are seeing families disintegrating; our numbers are dropping; and yet we trying to tell ourselves we can build Church. We cannot live Christianity without a relationship with the Holy Spirit. It ain’t working…. So I am daring to say a time is upon us when we have to insist that Catholics must be open to receiving and having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said.

Fr Nathasingh said that to share in the blessings of God is also to share in His sufferings and battles. He discussed the importance of being trained and empowered in spiritual battles by wearing the armour of God and observed that many of the physical battles have roots in spiritual escapades.

“What we see manifested before our eyes very often has its beginnings in necromancy, black magic and some form of obeah.”

Fr Nathasingh said that as a parish priest for 31 years, he has recognised that these realities are due to one’s yielding to fear—the gateway to evil and darkness.

“We hearing the Psalm and the Word but it not sinking in our soul….And the moment you allow fear to seep into your being, you are lost because it opens the door and all the enemy wants is a small crack to enter it and he begins to work havoc in your life.”

Referencing the Life in the Spirit Seminar, Fr Nathasingh noted that while over 25,000–30,000 persons have participated over the years “it is not affecting our parishes”. He blamed priests as “obstacles” to this.

“…if we as the shepherds are on fire, the sheep will feel the heat. If we as the shepherds are cold, indifferent, and frozen the sheep will become lambchops…. And I feel very sad when many of us as priests pour ice cold water on everything…”

He reminded those gathered they will not be able to move and call faithful to a newness if they themselves as leaders of Church and prayer groups are not renewed.

To his fellow parish priests, Fr Nathasingh admonished the idea that a Sunday morning homily should be 5–8 minutes. “I consider that Catholic rubbish. You cannot shake anybody’s spirt in 5–8 minutes,” he said.