Pope Francis spoke, “The Holy Spirit distributes to the faithful a multitude of spiritual gifts and graces; the “imaginative” wealth, let us say, of gifts of the Holy Spirit is ordered to building up the Church. The charisms — that word is a little difficult — are gifts that the Holy Spirit gives us, talents, possibilities…. Gifts given not to be hidden but to be shared with others. They are not given for the benefit of the one who receives them, but for the use of the People of God. If a charism, one of these gifts, serves instead as self-affirmation, then it is doubtful that we are dealing with an authentic charism or one faithfully lived out. The charisms are special graces, given to some for the good of many others. They are attitudes, inspirations and interior promptings that are born in the consciences and experiences of certain people, who are called to put themselves at the service of the community. In particular, these spiritual gifts further the sanctity of the Church and her mission. We are all called to respect them in ourselves and in others, to receive them as serving the Church’s fruitful presence and work. St Paul warns: “Do not quench the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess 5:19). Let us not quench the Spirit who gives us these gifts, these abilities, these very beautiful virtues that make the Church grow.
What is our attitude to the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Are we aware that the Spirit of God is free to give them to whomsoever he wishes? Do we consider them as a spiritual help, through which the Lord sustains our faith and reinforces our mission in the world?”
St Paul tells us, “Do not quench the Holy Spirit.” Bishops and priests have a responsibility to encourage the use of charisms among God’s people. It is not a overstatement that many bishops and priests have been skeptical of charisms. There are many reasons for this. One reason is the lack of teaching on the charisms. St Paul said to the Church in Corinth, “I do not want you to be ignorant about the spiritual gifts.” Not only are we for the most part ignorant about the spiritual gifts. We have no idea what they even are.
Recently, at a talk by Father Cole OP. He mentioned how even St Thomas Aquinas was for the most part ignorant about the spiritual gifts. This distinguish scholar said that St Thomas seemed to equate charisms with extraordinary graces. Charisms are normal graces given to every Christian. They are a normal aspect of the Christian life. More than that charisms don’t have to be equated with the unusual. St Paul says, graces such as mercy, alms giving, service, administration are charisms. The charisms of mercy, alms givings, service… are hardly the domain of the extraordinary. Vatican II spoke of ordinary and extraordinary charisms that the Holy Spirit breaths on the Church that should be accepted with gratitude by the Church.
Question of the day: Do we allow the Holy Spirit to give his gift freely to the Church? Do you quench the Holy Spirit?