Apologetics for the Masses #443 - The Asbury "Revival" - A Few Thoughts

Bible Christian Society


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The Asbury Revival - A Few Thoughts

General Comments

Hey folks,

     Since this issue of the newsletter is focused on the Asbury Revival, I wanted to mention here about another revival that's in the works - a Catholic Revival! 

     May 20th, Saturday - there is going to be an "I Thirst" conference at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville.  This is one of a series of conferences taking place around the country this year and next as part of the national Eucharistic Revival the bishops' conference has called for. 

     One of the last things Jesus said on the Cross - "I thirst".  He thirsts for our souls.  For repentance.  For reparation.  For conversion.  This is going to be a dynamic event, with both an English and a Spanish track.  This is going to be revival, Catholic style.  Holy Spirit-inspired and Eucharist-centered.  And this event is just the prelude to a series of events that are being planned over the next few years, so come and help us kick a true Eucharist revival into high gear!

     If you are in, or near, the Diocese of Birmingham, please make plans to join us.  For more information, and to register for the conference here (it's free to attend, but we do need you to register, please):



     I've been getting questions about the "revival" that was going on at Asbury in Kentucky, as well as other places around the country - even here in Birmingham at Samford University.  These are my thoughts on this phenomenon.


On the Asbury Revival

     Let's keep all of this in perspective.  First, what was going on at Asbury and these other places, including Samford, is undoubtedly, for the most part, a good thing.  However, again, keeping things in perspective, even though lots of folks, even Catholics, are talking about people “being saved” at Asbury and these other places, no one is actually being "saved" at any of these venues, in the sense that no one is receiving the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit that a person receives through the Sacrament of Baptism - at which point they are then truly “saved”.  And that's why I said this revival is a good thing, "for the most part".  People are turning their lives towards Christ, yes.  But, after the initial zeal wears off, what comes next?

Our world is in a very dark place - spiritually and morally speaking.  Our secular society has abandoned God and abandoned belief in a Savior - or even the need for a Savior.  And the ones who are feeling the results of that abandonment the most keenly - whether they are consciously aware of it or not - are our young people.

It seems that at Asbury, Samford, and all of these other campuses - and, hopefully, many more places still to come - there is an awakening...an acknowledging...of the deep spiritual hunger of the soul for its Maker...for its God.  This longing for God will hopefully draw all involved into a deeper relationship with Jesus and the Father, through the Holy Spirit.

In order for that to happen, however, the emotion...the feelings...of the moment cannot be fixed upon as what is to be sought.  The emotions and feelings one experiences at such a revival are fleeting.  What is to be sought is a translation of the emotion of right now...that deep longing for Christ...into a life that is irrevocably changed.  A life that is lived more in conformity with the will of God for that life.  No longer can one believe as a Christian and live as a heathen.  No longer can one walk the line between living for Christ and living for the world.  One must choose sides. 

     And here's the thing, Catholics, we have the great treasures of the Church - the Sacraments, the Rosary, the liturgy, the devotions and novenas, and so much more - that will give one the grace, the strength, the fortitude to live a life devoted entirely to Christ.  One cannot long be carried on a wave of emotion, no matter how powerful that emotion may be.  One can, however, long be carried by frequent reception of the Eucharist, by frequent Confession, and by frequent adoration of our Lord and Savior in the tabernacles of our churches.

As I read one person's post on some Facebook page, or maybe it was in an article on the Asbury phenomenon, there was an accompanying picture of students standing in line in the rain - I believe at Samford University - for sometimes hours to get into the chapel to, as the writer explained, "experience the presence of God".  As I read that, and looked at the picture, I thought, "You know, just 5 or 6 minutes up the road, they could walk right into Our Lady of Sorrows - no need to stand in line for hours - and "experience the presence of God" in the Eucharistic Lord abiding in the Tabernacle.  

It is incumbent upon us then, as Catholics, to look at this phenomenon and all the attention it is receiving, as an opportunity to plant seeds of our faith with those experiencing these emotions...these longings...as well as with those who are talking about these happenings, in the hope that the Holy Spirit will, in His good time, bring all of those souls longing for union with Him into the Church where they can actually experience it in this lifetime...union with the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  Where they can, anytime they want, walk into a church and be, literally, in the presence of God.  

We need not be craving what they are experiencing, rather, we should be cognizant of the fact that they are craving what we already have.  The problem is, too many Catholics take what we already have for granted.  Or, they are too uncomfortable to step out and share what they have with others who don’t have it.  This, people, is an opportunity to evangelize.  To share the fullness of the truth that we have in the Catholic Church with those who are longing to be in His Presence, to receive Him - body, blood, soul, and divinity - into their bodies and souls. 

Now, please don’t take what I’m saying as some triumphalist Catholic musings: “Yeah, they may be having a ‘revival,’ but we’ve got the Eucharist.” It is not that at all.  Or that I’m trying to downplay or dismiss what was happening at Asbury and elsewhere.  Not in the least.

If one reads carefully what I wrote, the first thing I said was that this "revival" is a good thing and then I said I hope it happens in even more places. Why? Because the outward longing for God simply reveals the inward longing for God of the soul. All good. We need more public acknowledgment of that. So I was not saying, "Oh, revival...bad; Catholic Church...good." It wasn't an either this or that comment. Except, of course, when it comes to the Eucharist. Why did I mention the Eucharist?

hat is going to happen to all of these young people when the fervor of the moment dies down? Will this experience be applied to their lives? Will it change their lives? Or, will it feel really really good for a short while and then they'll go back to living their lives as they were before? What if they want to keep this experience going, how are they going to do that? Where can they enter into the presence of the Lord in their daily lives, while struggling with school, with family, with work, with marriage? Where can they receive the Holy Spirit like this week in and week out?

     One place, and only one place. The Catholic Church. Specifically, and most notably, the Eucharist. We have the most incredible treasures known to man in our Church, and we, as Catholics, generally don't share them. That is what this is all about. Are we going to leave these folks hanging...wanting more but not knowing how to get it...or will we share what we have and point the way to how they can continue to receive grace upon grace, and how they can continue to "experience the presence of God" over and over again?

(For a good article, written by an Asbury journalism student, which essentially asks the same question about what happens next...or “when the dust settles”...click here):  http://www.theasburycollegian.com/2023/02/when-the-dust-settles/?mibextid=Zxz2cZ)

Closing Comments

I hope all of you have a great week!


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Apologetics for the Masses