Pope Francis teaching on Charisms ‘Thought from the …. new Institute on teaching and discerning Charims”

Pope Francis recently taught, ” First, it is necessary to preserve the freshness of your charism, never lose that freshness, the freshness of your charism, always renewing the “first love” (cf. Rev 2:4). As time goes by, there is a greater temptation to become comfortable, to become hardened in set ways of doing things, which, while reassuring, are nonetheless sterile. There is the temptation to cage in the Holy Spirit: this is a temptation! However, “realities are more important than ideas” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 231-233); even if a certain institutionalization of the charism is necessary for its survival, we ought not delude ourselves into thinking that external structures can guarantee the working of the Holy Spirit. The newness of your experiences does not consist in methods or forms, or the newness itself, all of which are important, but rather in your willingness to respond with renewed enthusiasm to the Lord’s call. Such evangelical courage has allowed for the growth of your Movements and New Communities. If forms and methods become ends in themselves, they become ideological, removed from reality which is constantly developing; closed to the newness of the Spirit, such rigid forms and methods will eventually stifle the very charism which gave them life. We need always to return to the sources of our charism, and thus to rediscover the driving force needed to respond to challenges. You have not been schooled in such a spirituality. You have not attended an institution of spirituality in this way. You are not simply a small group. No! You are rather a movement, always on the way, always in movement, always open to God’s surprises which are in harmony with the first call of the movement, namely the founding charism.”

Every person in the Church is called to evangelize. Pope Francis challenged bishops and priests,”Even if a certain institutionalization of the charism is necessary for its survival, we ought not delude ourselves into thinking that external structures can guarantee the working of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is forever keeping the Church young. The moment you think you understand how the Holy Spirit works. He does something new. He surprises you.

We might be tempted to think that just because a diocese has an office of evangelization that means the Church is committed to evangelization. We might be tempted to think that only those who are connected with an office of evangelization are the only ones called to evangelize. Evangelization in not something the Church does. Paul VI taught the Church exist in order to evangelize.

Pope Francis is reminding the Church that gifts of the Spirit or charisms cannot be confined or controlled. The Holy Spirit cannot be put into a cage.

The Holy Spirit is calling all of us in the Church to return to our first love. It is necessary to preserve the freshness of your charisms.

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