A Spiritual Journey Remembered
Joe Caruana a former government minister in 1969 and brother of our late Roman Catholic Bishop Charles Caruana, is also an established author with six books to his name. Born in 1937 he is now a jovial octogenarian and describes himself as a poly-faceted man. He is that and he’s also a talented artist who has sold many paintings displaying them on the Costa marinas where I have seen him many times. I have previously reviewed three of his books each as different as the next. ‘When the Hangman Came’, ‘The Iron Knight of Malta’ and ‘Eyes Set on Heaven’ which he wrote about his brother the Bishop and I daresay, his late dearly loved mentor.
Being of Maltese origin with strong roots in the Catholic faith, it was always going to be on the cards that he would also undertake a spiritual journey at some point in his life and in this latest book which I’m about to describe, he traces that long journey as a legacy to his Christian faith. Now in the sunset of his years, his hopes are that the story of the journey he’s undertaken maybe encourages those whose faith may have gone lukewarm and prompt a return to worship and persist in the faith they once had. He is as excited as he is wary about his latest book because as we well know Religion and Politics tend to polarize opinion.
‘The Power of Pentecost-The Power in Hands’ is the double barrelled title of his latest offering and there is nothing to fear about dipping into its 150 pages well illustrated with photographs and profusely supported by bible quotations as you would expect. I can do no less than reprint the author’s synopsis here to help acquaint the prospective reader with the contents of the book before I add my own appraisal of it.
“My Spiritual Journey
Though still a sinner my spiritual experiences have strengthened my faith.
In the ‘Power of the Pentecost’ I testify to the power of the Holy Spirit.
The book goes through the rich and sad history of the many attempts to destroy Christianity.
Christianity would not have survived had it not been for zealous defenders of the Apostolic faith.
The separation of literature, authenticated from unauthenticated, would have not produced the present correct Bible that is known as the cannon of the Bible.
The chapter on heresies drives home the many disparaging issues confronted by the early Christian church.
No less than two million Christians were cruelly martyred for holding on to their Christian beliefs.
We touch upon other important subjects of today such as the Eucharist and ‘the Real Presence therein’ which is held to this day.
The Last Supper and the mystery of the Holy Eucharist and how it came about are analyzed from the original Greek text.
We explore the power of hands from the ‘imposition of hands’ when praying for cures. The laying- on of hands when empowering someone with authority within the church. The use of hands when praying. All are spiritual gifts from above.
I trust that this book will encourage those who may be lukewarm towards their church to return and persist in the faith they once had.
I have no shame in proclaiming my faith since I have the conviction that God is relevant to all our lives. Therefore I speak up for my Christian faith to remind Christian believers about their roots.
Maybe this book will kindle the glowing embers into a raging flame in the hearts of the faithful.”
The above synopsis adorns the glossy back cover of the square format semi-hardback edition which is published by ‘authorHouse’. The first thing that comes to light is that this book was written in 1984 when the author lived in Canada. This does not make it an old story. It provides the starting point of a journey at a time when Joe Caruana was a successful businessman who was going through a separation which led to divorce. These life changing events usually lead to a self-appraisal, which in this case saw the author being drawn back to his Christian roots and then finding a desire and discovering a flair for pastoral work that saw him immerse fully into the Charismatic renewal movement. At first in Canada then beyond and eventually leading back to the Rock where he has finally made his home.
The story is told in an easy and honest manner which is enriched by many photographs and acknowledgments to those who have helped and influenced the efforts and the vision of the author, who at one time even wanted to become a priest and at another time spearheaded the Camp Emmanuel project in nearby Los Barrios, which saw him helping addicts and fostering young people through religious retreats and volunteer work. Addicts who came to the Camp Emmanuel for treatment underwent a drug or alcohol rehabilitation recovery programme that was based on the 12 step AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) programme and a few hours of hands-on work too.
Through seven chapters the book moves swiftly and effortlessly through Joe’s personal experiences and his journey with Biblical references that extol the ‘Power of Penetcost’ and the ‘laying of hands’. It’s a well known documented fact that in Hinduism this ‘laying of hands’ is called Pranic Healing and in my own experience of being prayed over I can attest to the obvious transfer of energy, which is felt as heat, even though no touching is taking place at any point in the ‘praying over’. Whether the intended reader believes or not, the varied contents of this book, will depend on their disposition to accept or not, the strongly held universal view that there is a higher power.
We are not alone in our universe and as an Alaskan fishing skipper facing heavy seas once remarked “When you have a fifty foot wave coming at you everybody believes in something!” Indeed we are genetically programmed to believe and even in the deepest jungles throughout history tribal people have been guided in their actions by belief in a higher power that needs to be appeased by offering sacrifices and many forms of prayer.
Joe Caruana’s book ‘The Power of the Pentecost - The Power in Hands’ may be purchased from the following outlets: Heritage Bookshop, Cornerstone Bookshop, Petrol Station shop Queensway, Parody Tours Town Range, Eroski Rotunda airfield.