Recapping the other elements of Catholic Vision in previous articles, we accept that God created us out of abundance, gave us Jesus for our own good, and asks us to open our lives to each other in hospitality, because each one of us has been given gifts meant for service of others and God.
In the church we call the gifts meant for service of others and God charisms. Charism means “gift of grace” and is mentioned in Romans 12: 6 as a power whose source is the Holy Spirit. Charisms are given for the purpose of service or ministry, to build up the body of Christ.
Some examples of charisms include gifts of administration, craftsmanship, encouragement, faith, healing, helps, hospitality, Intercessory prayer, knowledge, leadership, mercy, music, pastoring, prophesy, service, teaching, wisdom and writing. Charisms differ from talents in that they are supernatural gifts of God that are meant to be used for good. An example I think many people can connect with is that of a good preacher, his homilies have a way of reaching your heart and helping you to turn to God in an exemplary way. Someone with a charism in music might not be the most studied musician, but the way they share their gift of music helps people to pray and to turn to God.
“Charism” is the Greek word used in the New Testament for “favor” or “gratuitous gift.” Charisms, or spiritual gifts, are special abilities given to all Christians by the Holy Spirit to give them power both to represent Christ and to be a channel of God’s goodness for people. Whether extraordinary or ordinary, all charisms ought to be exercised in the service of God.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2003
Two startling things about charisms: 1) Everyone has them; and 2) The parts of us that are meant to be shared (our charsims) are good and of God. What are the implications of believing that every person is gifted, and that our goodness is made manifest in the way that we are called to connect with one another in relationship with each other and with God?
To me, the idea that God’s giftedness resides in everyone is freeing, because it allows me to enter into relationships in a trusting way, knowing that goodness exists, and believing that as we bring intention to our living faith, we can know that God has given us the personal gifts needed to bring about His Plan.
Knowing that we are gifted by God also motivates me, because God did not give charisms for us to hoard or to serve ourselves, but for the service of the common good. As the children’s song goes, “this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!” Not only do we have the choice to share our gifts, but in Christian community, we have the responsibility to enter in, to show our love in action and in use of our gifts, for the good of all.
How can we in our parish planning utilize the best of our charisms in relationship with each other, allowing God’s giftdness to motivate our choices and the way we organize our work? How would our answers to questions change if we saw the “other” as good and gifted? How can we refocus our conversations when we move to a place that does not recognize the gifts of all? What kinds of prayer should we engage as we discern our roles as leaders in our parish communities during this time of transition?
Live Loved, Lisa
Up next — Elements of Catholic Vision: Eucharistic
Want to learn more about your charisms? Look into the Called and Gifted program from the Catherine of Sienna Institute: https://siena.org/called-gifted, or read their FAQ about charisms: https://siena.org/charisms-faq.