Teaching from ‘Soul Institute’ Part 3 teaching on Charism and the Church,

St. Augustine, commenting on this doctrine point of St. Paul’s, makes an illuminating reflection. On hearing all these charisms mentioned, he says, somebody might think that he doesn’t even possess one of them and feel sad and excluded. “But, take heed-he adds-if you love, you possess no little thing. In, in fact, you love unity, everything that is possessed by someone else is also possessed by you! Get rid of envy and what is mine will be yours, and if I get rid of envy what you possess will be mine. Envy separates, love unites. The eye is the only member of the body that can see; but does the eye see only for itself? No, the eye sees for the hand, for the foot and for all the other members. In fact, if the foot is about the bang into something, the eye certainly doesn’t turn elsewhere omitting to warn it. Only the hand acts in the body, but does it act only for itself? No, it acts also for the eye. If, in fact, a blow of some sort is aimed at the face, does the hand say: I shall not move because the blow isn’t aimed at me? In this way, the foot, walking, serves all other members. In this way, the tongue talks for all the other members which are silent. We have, therefore, the Holy Spirit if we love the Church and we love the Church if we keep ourselves withing the unity and love of the Church. Indeed, after stating that men have been given different gifts just as the members of the body have been assigned different tasks, the same Apostle continued to say: I will show you a still more excellent way (1 Cor 13:1) and he goes on to talk about charity.”(St. Augustine, InIoh. 32, 8 ; CCl 36. 304f.).

Thus the secret of charity is revealed, which is also the secret of humility, that which makes it “a more excellent way.” It makes me love unity-that is, in reality, the church or the community in which I live-and in this unity all the charisms present and not just a few of them are mine. Ibnfact, better still, if you love this unity more tan I do, the charism that I possess is more yours than mine. Let us suppose that I have the charism of evangelist, that is, the charism to proclaim the Gospel; I could be pleased with myself and boastful but I would then be “a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1). I gain nothing from my charism,the Apostle warms me, while you, listening to me, continue to gain form it in spite of my sins. Through humility-charity, what is so dangerously mine, is yours without any risk. Humility-charity multiplies charisms; it makes the charism of one become the charism of all. But for this to happen it is necessary, as Augustine said, ‘to get rid of envy’ that is, to die to our individualistic and egoistic ‘self’ which seeks it own glory, and to take on the wonderful and great ‘self’ of Christ and his Church. It is necessary to live ‘for the Lord’ and not ‘for oneself.’

The first teaching on humility ended with psalm 131 which is about the peace of the humble and gives the image of the child at its mother’s breast. let us end this second teaching with other peaceful and tranquil words: Learn from me for I am meek and humble of hearts-says the Lord-and you will find rest for your souls.


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