Father Stefan reflects on Pope Francis ‘Joy of the Gospel’ Charisms at the service of a communion which evangelizes

Pope Francis writes, “The Holy Spirit also enriches the entire evangelizing Church with different charisms. These gifts are meant to renew and built up the Church. They are not an inheritance, safely secured and entrusted to a small group for safekeeping; rather, they are gifts of the Spirit integrated into the body of the Church, drawn to the center which is Christ and then channeled into an evangelizing impulse. A sure sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesial character, it ability to be integrated harmoniously into the life of God’s holy and faithful people for the good of all. Something truly new brought about by the Spirit need not overshadow other gifts and spiritualities in making itself felt. To the extent that a charism is better directed to the heart of the Gospel, it exercise will be more ecclesial. It in in communion, even when this proves painful, that a charism is seen to be authentic and mysteriously fruitful.” 

St Paul writes in First Corinthians, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess the gift of healing. Do all speak with tongues. Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.”(1Cor: 27-31)

Cardinal Ratzinger in ‘New Outpouring of the Spirit’ wrote, “It is important that the spiritual office, the priesthood itself, be understood as lived as a charism. The priest himself should be a ‘pneumatic’ Christian, a homo spiritualis, a person who has been roused and is being driven by the Holy Spirit. It is the task of the Church to take care that that this charismatic character of the sacraments is seen and accepted. She should not, in her zeal for the progress and continuance of her arrangements, put numbers in first place and downgrade the demands of spiritual aspect…Whenever the spiritual office is thus being lived in pneumatic and charismatic fashion, there is no institutional hardening: there is an inner openness to the charism, a kind of ‘atmosphere’ of the Holy Spirit.” 

The charisms are not natural gift. The Charisms are supernatural gifts. The Charisms are supernatural power, working in and through you. The Charisms are not optional for the Church. The Charisms are essential. Jesus desires to pour out the charisms upon us.We need the power of God today. The Charisms are the Holy Spirit breaking through, creating an ‘atmosphere’ of the Holy Spirit. I remember being at a Mass and Healing service and seeing a dozen people in wheelchairs get up and walk. The priest simply took his hand and said to the person in the wheelchair, “Do you want to try and walk?” It was glorious seeing a dozen people get up and walk. The presence of the Holy Spirit that night could be felt and you just wanted to fall on your knees and give thanks to God.



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