THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT – DAY 6
AVENUES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT’S ACTION – II
The most beautiful experience, however, is discovering how many different charisms there are, and with how many gifts of the Spirit the Father fills His Church. This must not be regarded as a cause for confusion or unease: they are all gifts that God gives to the Christian community, so that it might grow harmoniously, in faith and in His love, like one body, the body of Christ. The same Spirit that grants this diversity of charisms also constructs the unity of the Church. Pope Francis — General audience, St. Peter’s Square, Oct. 1, 2014
The second avenue that the Holy Spirit sanctifies, unifies, beautifies and diversifies the Church and the world is CHARISMS. Charisms are supernatural power/endowment that flow from baptism and confirmation. They are the Spirit’s manifestations on us. Charisms can be understood from two dimensions. First they are gifts given “for the common good” (1Cor. 12:7). Second, charisms are gifts given to one or to some and they are not equally given the same way as faith, hope and love are given. The two dimensions of understanding of charisms must not be separated. Charisms are also given to support our particular vocations. Hence, today the priestly life, the religious life, the marital life, virginity and singlehood are considered as charisms. In sum, charisms are meant for two purposes: common good and personal sanctification.
Sometimes there is the confusion of the place of talents in our spiritual life. Talents are strictly speaking inherited gifts at birth but charisms are charismatic gifts that the Holy Spirit endows us at baptism and confirmation. However, we do not need to fix ourselves in confusion by way of separating natural talents from Charisms. To do so is to be guilty of the fallacy of dualism. Our talents are our natural giftedness and if we understand the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, then they can be graced because our simple theology says “Grace builds on nature.”
There are traces of charisms in 1 Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14 but inexhaustible. Charismatic gifts are classified into three broad categories:
- Gifts of Grace/the word gifts: Prophecy, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues.
- Gifts of Service/the revelation gifts: Wisdom, Knowledge, Discernment.
- Gifts of Works/the power gifts: Faith, Miracles, Healing.
Finally, there is a history of craving for charisms just to massage our egos. And some also allot charisms to people in the name of the Holy Spirit and others arrogate charisms to themselves. Please let us be careful! Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.