The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines charisms as, “graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.” (CCC 799)
What would a world filled with all people actively using their charisms look like? One can imagine there would never be a shortage of joyful givers, any pressure from the world to either be “the best of the best” or be forced to accept failure as the only alternative and everyone would know how to graciously receive.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for what our culture of charism-giving looks like today. Sister Miriam James beautifully expresses our world’s predicament on why we may hesitate to share our charisms stating, “Modern man is condemned to success without God to put his failings in.”
Although this may sound like a paradox, Sr. Miriam could not have said it any better. Having our only options to be the absolute best or not be the best, and thus sentenced to failure, are narrow pathways. Society’s belief in perfectionism has stifled many in sharing their charisms, leading them to feelings of worthlessness or self-deprecation.
Amidst the desolation of the current culture of charism-giving, there is still immense hope to be had and ways you can contribute to a brighter future for the culture to come. A world filled with joyful givers unshaken by the perfective demands of the world isn’t far off.
The good news is that there is another pathway Christ has to offer us—a pathway that takes a completely adjusted mindset, but one that gives profound purpose and affirmation to our every joy and talent—a pathway that unites the usage of our gifts to an intimate relationship with our creator.
Marker 4.3 of the Unleash The Gospel Pastoral Letter notes, “Christ has endowed his bride with an abundance of supernatural charisms, gifts of the Holy Spirit that equip every member of the body of Christ to do his or her part in bearing witness to Christ and building up the Church. These gifts range from the simple and humble to the extraordinary.”
What a remarkable concept that Christ has endowed upon us unique, supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit! With this concept in mind, humankind should rejoice in the fact that we have been intentionally created and given gifts unique to ourselves by God to share in his profound, divine purpose for the entirety of the Church.
The even greater news is that we’re not called to be the gold-medal-winning Olympians of charisms. All the Lord desires is for us to gratefully acknowledge and use the gifts, big and small, ordinary and extraordinary, that he has so generously given us.
You may ask yourself what putting that concept into practice looks like today—here are some tips for gratefully acknowledging and fully receiving the charisms the Lord has given you:
Obsessive self-comparison to others can become a potential gateway to feelings of unworthiness and desolation. The truth is that Christ created every one of us so uniquely that we simply cannot compare ourselves to anyone else. Practice building up your brothers and sisters in Christ in admiration of their unique gifts while also gratefully acknowledging the gifts unique to you.
Put Aside Perfection.
Although our world teaches us that we have to be perfect in what we do to even be considered worthy of doing it, we have to face the fact that perfection isn’t attainable on this earth. If there’s something you enjoy doing but you don’t feel the talent has been ‘perfected’ or is ‘good enough’ to share with others, take a step back to recognize that Christ doesn’t ask us to be perfect. The Lord intentionally places the desire and joy in your heart to share charisms in the Church, even if you don’t consider yourself the best at it!
Satan, the author of lies, has a knack for instilling doubt in our hearts and creating lies in our heads when we strive to live out God’s will. Christ desires us to acknowledge and use our gifts from the Holy Spirit to build up the Church and those around us, so the devil will do everything he can to stop that from happening. He does this by creating lies—lies that try to convince us that we’re not good enough, perfection is the only way, others are better than us and the gifts we’ve been given are useless and don’t deserve to be shared. Work against believing these falsities in prayer by specifically, verbally renouncing all lies in the name of Jesus.
Make Time for Joy.
In order to fully receive the gifts that the Lord has given us, we must make time to use them. What good is a gift that’s given and immediately placed on a shelf to collect dust, unused? When we intentionally set aside time to partake in our joys and talents, the Lord rejoices in the happiness we experience from utilizing our charisms.
Take Time for Thanksgiving.
Oftentimes, we fail to recognize even half of what the Lord gives us. To strive for fully acknowledging, receiving and thanking God for his gifts, take additional time in prayer to reflect on the joys you experience throughout your day and to give thanks for the talents you have been given.
Lord, grant us the courage to share our charisms in the extraordinary and ordinary ways you call us to throughout our daily lives, all for your greater glory. Amen.