blank'/> SHARING CATHOLIC TRUTH: Does A Priest Need Conversion ?...Fr Elija Vella OFM Conv - and some of his missions around the world to spread THE TRUTH

Friday, December 13, 2013

Does A Priest Need Conversion ?...Fr Elija Vella OFM Conv - and some of his missions around the world to spread THE TRUTH

Fr. Elija Vella OFM, the Official Exorcist of the Archdiocese of Malta, tells his faith story and how he came to a deeper conversion to Christ through the Catholic Charismatic Renewal


After being a priest for 15 years, the Lord called me to follow Him in a new way, a way that would change my life forever. The first time I came into contact with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal was when we invited a Jesuit priest, Fr Bob Faricy SJ to Malta to lead a retreat. One of the many things he said that touched me deeply was his remark that “the most difficult people to bring to conversion are priests”, and then he added “especially Jesuits”. After many years I can confirm that what Fr Bob said is true. As a priest I had reached a point in my life when I had come to believe that I had learned everything I needed to know and had fulfilled the aim of my calling. Then in 1978 God showed his mercy to me and showed me this was not true and saved me from myself.

I was sorted!

It was the year 1978 when there was a big Catholic Charismatic Renewal(CCR) international meeting in Dublin, Ireland. A group of young friends insisted that I should accompany them and I agreed. To be honest at this time I did not believe in the CCR because of the exaggerated emotions that I had seen many times being manifested by those who participated in these meetings. At the time I was teaching theology and I didn’t want anything to disturb my quiet and comfortable life. I was a member of the Provincial council of my order in Malta. I was leading retreats all over the world. I was called to speak on various TV programmes. I was writing books… I felt I was doing pretty well and didn’t feel the need of anything else. I was, so to speak “sorted” as far as my life was concerned.
Although I wasn’t keen, these young friends insisted so much that I changed my mind and decided to accompany them. They had paid the air fare for me already so I felt I couldn’t say no. As we arrived at the meeting place there were 800 priests and religious there and 2000 nuns. The programme of the conference was varied and we were divided into small groups according to our state in life. I was part of a group led by an Irishman who gave us a simple question to start with. The question was “Why are you here?” My answer was obvious I thought. “I am a theology teacher and I want to know more of this reality and have more information about it to share with others.” I never thought for a moment that I was there to receive something myself! Those who answered before me gave me what I thought were amazing and strange answers. I remember one priest said, “I am here to meet the Lord”.
Personally I could not relate to this kind of answer and I wondered how can a priest who has served the Lord for so long still need to encounter Him? His answer was thus incomprehensible to me. Even more shocking was the answer given by another priest who said, “I am here to ask the Lord to convert me.” I was deeply scandalized by such a response. I thought “how can a priest who celebrates Mass every day ask for conversion?” I started asking myself “where am I?” When my turn to answer came I replied that I was there to learn something more to teach my students. I remember the priest who was leading the group looked at me and almost ordered me to kneel down as I was in need of prayer! His invitation sounded like an order and took me so much by surprise that I obeyed and found myself kneeling down with all the other priests surrounding me, praying for me to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Everything went so fast that I do not really remember what happened after that except that I started crying and I realized that something inside me was being unblocked. Anyway, after this first session we all gathered together with the rest of the participants. When I met my young friends they asked me why I seemed so perturbed. I tried to change the subject because I felt embarrassed by the event that had just taken place. But they insisted so much that I confessed what really happened. They listened to me very attentively and afterwards confessed to me that they had all been praying for me for a while that I might experience conversion in my life. I felt a real change after that prayer. I was still doing the same things as before but I knew that something was different. I had the Holy Spirit in a new way and He was bringing more joy to my existence.

We have constant need of Him

We all need to open our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit. We are all called to co-operate with God in furthering His Kingdom. We can only do that when we acknowledge that we are sinners and that we have a constant need of Him and His love to be changed, transformed and converted so that we can become perfect witnesses.
Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical “Evangelii Nuntiandi” said “The world does not need theologians, but if they are needed, they have to be witnesses as well.” When I studied Dogmatic Theology we did not consider mystical experiences. as gifts of the Holy Spirit for us theologians. We saw these as belonging to spirituality and not to dogmatics. The Holy Spirit was something to be understood rationally rather than experienced mystically. For me my experience has been like someone who has lived all his life underground, talking about the sun, but who finds it difficult to believe the words of those who see the sun every day and who enjoy its light and its warmth. My real conversion consisted in trying to look at the sun rather than only speak about it. It consisted in beginning to let the Word of God flow from the mind to the heart. Remember that Mary kept all in her heart, not in her mind. It consisted in meeting Jesus rather than only speaking about him. It consisted in living the liturgy rather than doing it. It consisted in experiencing Jesus as mystics do rather than discussing the mysteries as most theologians do. I really thank God that he made me meet the Charismatic Renewal in my life. It was through this movement that Jesus met me, distracted on my road...

... and yet again Fr. Elija Vella's same testimony in one of his produced programmes - God, Ocean of Love - Missier Ocejan ta' Mhabba   - on Radio Marija Malta - 11, April 2016 

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More on some of the missions to spread THE TRUTH from FR ELIJA VELLA OFM CONV. Found in Youtube

Fr Elija (Elias) Vella OFM Conv. - CCR - Catholic Charismatic Renewal

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Fr Elija (Elias) Vella OFM Conv

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PRAYERS by Fr Elija Vella OFM Conv.