An Unexpected Blessing
In February, Living Streams hosted a worship and prayer meeting that was attended by a few hundred Catholics and Evangelicals. The local Catholic bishops were present along with Matteo Calisi and Giovani Traettino from Italy. I was sitting in a front pew next to Matteo when Robert Briggs, the Executive Vice President of the American Bible Society, took the stage. He greeted everyone and then asked us to pray for the person sitting next to us. Matteo laid his hands on me and prayed a blessing over me in Italian. It felt like a precious moment at the time, but in the following weeks I discovered that his prayer released a special grace in my life.
In 1983, Joe Tosini, a pastor in Missouri, and Mike Heron, a pastor in Oregon, traveled to Caserta, Italy for a three-day worship conference, which was attended by about sixty people. Mike noticed a short man sitting in the back of the room during the first day of their meetings. He felt impressed by the Spirit that this man was going to be used in a significant way in the Catholic Church. Mike didn’t know the man and he wasn’t sure he was even a Catholic. He didn’t share his impression with anyone.
On the third day of their conference, Mike asked the man in the back of the room to come forward for prayer. As Mike and Joe prayed over the man, Mike prophesied that God was going to use him in wonderful ways to bring renewal to the Catholic Church. In the Spirit, Mike saw him traveling the world, ministering through music, and bringing messages of blessings wherever he went. They found out the man’s name was Matteo Calisi.
In the years after that, Matteo got his Ph.D. in music, and became active in the Catholic Charismatic movement. He eventually became the leader of the Community of Jesus and the head of the Catholic Charismatic movement worldwide. Matteo also became good friends with Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul gave Matteo a letter introducing him to every Catholic parish around the world. The letter said that Matteo Calisi was given responsibility to re-evangelize the Catholic Church, introduce Catholics to the fullness of the Holy Spirit, help them understand biblical worship, and bring reconciliation between Catholics and other Christians.
I didn’t know about Matteo’s charge when he laid his hands on me. I was raised Catholic, but I have not been concerned with getting blessings from someone who traces their authority back to Saint Peter. Since I began studying the Bible, I have felt confident that Jesus Himself gives authority to those who know He is the Son of God, and follow Him. However, I have to admit that I’ve experienced an unexpected grace and freedom in the Spirit ever since that night.
The Lord gives each of us certain blessings directly from heaven when we seek Him. He does this so we will understand that “He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). The Lord also imparts other blessings to us when men and women of God lay their hands on us. He does this to remind us how much we need each other, and to establish bonds of love and appreciation between us. I write this with a prayer that you too will soon receive an unexpected blessing that will make you more fruitful than ever before.