We read in cardinal Suenen’s book, ‘A New Pentecost’ in the chapter ‘The Holy Spirit and the imparting of His Gifts’, “The Holy Spirit reveals himself as power, which sends forth the Church to the far ends of the earth, endowing it with its missionary dimension, its catholicity. It is also he who creates the living unity of the mystical Body, making Christian holy, and clothing them with power. St Paul continually speaks of this omnipresent action.
Jesus had said that to those who belonged to him, the Spirit whom he would send would reveal himself by means of such graces and marvelous gifts that they would do greater works than he himself. (see Jn 14:12) The charisms which mark in this way the life of the early Church, like buds in the springtime, are essentially the varied and visible manifestation of a single unique reality: the life of the Spirit overflowing the souls of Christians.
The charisms are gifts conferred for the upbuilding of the Church, and they complement one another. St Paul stresses this convergence:
‘Now there are varities of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common Good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another the gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All of these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each individually as he wills.”(1 Cor 12:4-11)….
The Spirit is at work through and in the abundance of the charisms (Rom 12.6; 1 Cor 12, 9,28.30. 1 Tim 4.14, 2 Tim 1,6, 1 Pt 4, 10) Some of these are extraordinary and striking, other are not. Thus Paul can speak of the gift of the word of wisdom or knowledge (1 Cor 12,8) the gift of faith (1 Cor 12,9) the charism of teaching (Rom 12,7 1 Cor 12,28, 14,26) or of exhortation and consolation (Rom 12,8) There is the charism of service (Rom 12,7) the gift of discerning spirits (1 Cor 12,10) the gifts of helping, the gift of administrating (1 Cor 12,28). In Paul’s mind the Church of Christ in no way appears as merely an administrative organisation; it is the Body of the living and personal Christ, animated by the Spirit of God.”
Some thoughts on charisms. Charisms are not natural gift. Charisms are gifts of the Holy Spirit. Here is an example. A priest might have a natural gift of preaching. When he preaches everyone says wow what a beautiful homily. However, while all will say to him and others, ‘What a beautiful homily.’ very few conversions happen. On the other hand, if a priest has the charism of preaching while the priests words might be simple. His words convert hearts. This priest has the charisms of preaching. Think of Mother Theresa. She would say, “God Love You.” and people were touched to the heart. But here is an important thing to remember. St Thomas wrote that grace perfects nature. It would seen reasonable to assume that if a priest had the natural gift of preaching God would give him the charism of preaching. However, as logically as this might seem. It is possible that the priest in him pride might be overly content and self satisfied with his natural gift of preaching. You see it take a certain degree of humility to admit that we need the gifts of God. With this mind we how simple uneducated persons can often have the charisms of preaching, teaching who have little or no formal theological training, think of St Therese little flower who is now a doctor of the Church.
Holy Spirit pour out your charisms on all the people of God
St Stephen and St Paul pray for us