It’s been a couple of weeks since the Called and Gifted Workshop we held in the Diocese. It was truly a blessed time – many, many people have spoken about how blessed they were by the event. Around three-quarters of people signed up during the weekend for a personal ‘gifts discernment interview’ with one of the interviewers trained by Sherry. These will be taking place over the summer, and will lead into small, local, discernment groups where people will continue to practise, reflect on and discern their charisms.
Some people ask, why do you need to know your charisms? You have a good idea of what your gifts are – why not just get on and use them? Isn’t it a bit of navel-gazing?
Having been through the process, I cannot disagree more! Here are five reasons why it’s an excellent idea to discern your God-given charisms:
1. It makes you reflect on what ‘charisms’ actually are. A charism is a supernatural gift given to all the baptised. It is a gift that, when you use it, has supernatural (not just natural) effectiveness. When you use it, you are ‘aware’ of God working through you. You are all too aware you could not do this on your own strength.
2. When you know what a charism truly is, and you reflect on the experience of using it, it becomes much clearer which of your natural gifts are not charisms. And this is really freeing. For me, it meant that I realised that ‘administration’ perhaps was a natural gift, but definitely not a charism. And it made me realise why there is no “supernatural effectiveness” when I use this talent. It is great to know what your charisms are not! Especially if they have a big impact on others – like music
3. You realise that your charisms are most certainly not about you! They are given for the upbuilding of the Church and the evangelisation of the world. You realise that you can exercise your charisms when you are exhausted, or discouraged, or even lacking in faith, and God will channel his love and provision to others through them. You are aware that these charisms are needed – not for your own salvation – but for the evangelisation of the world. And therefore, you must use them. It is not about you.
4. Charisms manifest when your relationship with God becomes a living reality. When you exercise a charism, it is like praying. Therefore, learning about charisms can be an excellent nudge to people to deepen their relationship with God.
5. If you are gifted, you are called. The charisms are linked to a personal vocation. This belongs to every baptised person – there is no point anymore in any baptised person saying they do not have a mission – it’s too late! They certainly do. Through discerning our charisms, we can discover our mission – there is absolutely no room for unemployment in the Church!
To read more on charisms, see CCC 798-801, 951, 2003… (just a selection)