Column: What gifts has the Holy Spirit given you?

by Matt Karr

So what are your spiritual gifts or charisms? Do you have any? Do you want any? Are they Catholic?

According to the teachings of the church, charisms are a part of normal Christian life. Charisms are spiritual gifts given to each of the baptized by the Holy Spirit. St. Paul clearly teaches: “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. . . . Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts” (1 Cor 12:7,31).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which . . . benefit the Church. . . . Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the church as well” (nos. 799-800). The Second Vatican Council taught that the Holy Spirit “distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank” for the building up of the church (“Lumen Gentium,” no. 12).

Although this teaching seems clear, I had little experience, knowledge, or expectation that the Holy Spirit wanted to give me gifts for the building up of the church. Charisms were not something we spent much time studying in my Catholic school. It was during college that I began to believe that there was a God and he had a wonderful plan for my life. As I began to surrender my life to Jesus, I experienced the fervor and passion that I had only heard about in the apostles’ lives. Charisms began to manifest themselves in my life. A deep desire was planted in my heart to bring the Gospel to others. I wanted to go to Mass and to pray. I could speak with boldness about the love of God.

The charisms of the Holy Spirit are meant for all the baptized. Thank God, or I would have been passed over!

Perhaps you grew up not hearing much about the charisms of the Spirit or experiencing any spiritual gifts. Perhaps you have experienced spiritual gifts in your life, but you have never discerned which gifts the Lord has given you. The words of St. Paul apply to all of us: “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”

In order to increase our knowledge and understanding of the Catholic teaching on spiritual gifts, the office of evangelization and Catholic formation for adults will host a Called and Gifted workshop in January. The aim is to help Catholics like you begin to understand charisms and to discern which the Lord may have given you.

The workshop will be held at Ascension Parish in Overland Park on Jan. 22-23, 2010. To register or for more information, call Stacy Niedbalski at the Catholic church offices at (913) 721-1570 or visit the Web site at: www.

About the author

Matt Karr

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