Pope Francis Charisms and Community

Pope  Francis wrote, ” In ordinary language, when there is talk of a “charism,” it is often understood as a talent, as a natural ability. So, in face of a particularly brilliant and moving person, it is usually said: “He is a charismatic person.” In the Christian perspective, however, a charism is something more than a personal quality, a predisposition of which one might be gifted. A charism is a grace, a gift lavished by God the Father, through the action of the Holy Spirit. And it is a gift that is given to someone, not because he is better than others or because he merited it: it is a gift that God makes so that, with the same gratuitousness and the same love, he can put it at the service of the whole community, for the good of all.

Something important that must be stressed immediately is the fact that one cannot understand on one’s own if one has a charism, and which one. It is within the community that the gifts with which the Father fills us flow and flourish; and it is in the heart of the community that one learns to recognize them as a sign of His love for all His children. So, it is good that each one of us ask himself: “Is there some charism that the Lord has made arise in me, in the grace of His Spirit, and which my brothers in the Christian community have recognized and encouraged? And how do I conduct myself in regard to this gift: do I live it with generosity, putting at the service of all, or do I neglect it and end up by forgetting it? Perhaps it becomes in me a reason for pride, to the point of always lamenting others and of pretending that things be done my way in the community?’”

A charism is not a natural gift. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Charisms are meant to be used in the context of a community. It is not by accident that the theology of charisms emerged after Vatican II. Vatican II stressed the Church as the people of God, and a mystery.

We read in the catechism, “‘In the Church this communion of men with God, in the love that never ends.’ is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world. The Church’s structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members. And holiness is measured according to the ‘great mystery’ in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the bridegroom.’ Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church’s mystery as the  ‘bride without spot or wrinkle.’ That is why the ‘Marian’ dimension of the Church precedes the ‘Petrine.'”(773)

Thoughts for the day: The Holy Spirit is reminding the Church about the need of Charisms in the Church. Charisms are only meant to be used in the context of a community. The Holy Spirit is reminding the Church of it need for community. Lastly, charisms flow from seeing the Church as mystery. The Charisms are divine surprises given by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church.



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