Your Spiritual Gifts – How the Holy Spirit Livens the Church
The church needs you! The Holy Spirit breathes life into the Church through charisms (Greek charismata), or graces given to individual members to be used to build up the Body of Christ (CCC 799). You play a vital role. What are your charisms, and how can you use them to benefit the Church?
Paul writes of three types of spiritual gifts, or charisms. In 1 Corinthians 12:8–11, he writes of the manifestation gifts: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. In Ephesians 4:11, he lists the ministerial gifts: the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. And in Romans 12:6–8, we read about the motivational gifts: prophecy, service, teaching, exhorting, administration, giving, and mercy.
Charisms are different from the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that we each receive at our baptism (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord). For one thing, charisms are not necessary for personal salvation. They are to be used to help others and strengthen the Church. Second, they are not an indication of holiness. A problem Paul faced in Corinth was people becoming prideful because of the charisms they had received. They mistakenly correlated the number and type of charisms received with their degree of holiness. Paul reminds them that any gift they have is not of their own doing, but has been given to them by God. It is the Holy Spirit working through a believer to accomplish God’s purposes.
Paul reminds us that all parts of the body are needed, from greatest to the most menial (12:12–26). Anyone who has ever been sick or has broken an arm or leg knows the effect one part of the body not functioning properly can have on the rest of the body. All parts are vitally important, and so it is with the Body of Christ.
Take It to Heart:
Look at the spiritual gifts Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, Ephesians 4:11, and Romans 12:6-8. Which of these charisms has the Lord given to you? If it is not clear, ask him to show you. How can you use your gifts to build up the body of Christ?
For Further Reading:
See also 1 Peter 4:10-11 and CCC 799-800, 2003-2004.
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