Teaching from the ‘Soul Institute’ On Charisms from Antonio Book ‘The Charism of the Founder”

The etymology of the word charism, as it is generally used, signifies the object and the result of charis or grace. It means some kind of freely given divine favour, a present or a gift from God. The word comes from the Greek root char, and all the words sharing that root indicate something in the nature of well-being. The term char is translated by ‘to condescend, to grant grace, to give, to lavish’ and it accepts the suffixes-ism, isma, to give us our word charism or charisma. Nouns ending in -ma almost always carry overtones of activity. In our case, this would be a concrete result of being given grace.
…In the New Testament: the word charism is to be found seventeen times: six times in St. Paul: Rom 1:11; 5:15,16;6:23;11:29; 12:6; 1Cor1:7; 12:4,9,28,30,31; 2 Cor 1:11; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6
Once in St Peter 1 Pet 4:10
In St Paul in his letter gives four lists of charisma: 1 Cor 12:8-10; 1 Cor 12:28-30: Rom 12:6-8: Eph 4:11
In these lists, he enumerates twenty four charisma which discounting the repetitions, gives us twenty different gifts. Obviously the apostle had not set out to draw up a complete exhaustive and internally consistent list. ‘Their richness and repetitions cannot be reduced to a system. Only the one who has faith, is baptized, has received the Holy Spirit and been made a member of the Church can be made a sharer in the charisms.’
Pual sees these personal gifts as ‘the fruits of a single grace. Under the action of one Spirit these fruits appear in various forms in each Christian.’ Of the sixteen times that Paul uses the term charism, ‘there are certainly seven where he is speaking technically: Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 1:7; 12:4,9,28,30,31. Elsewhere the word is almost synonymous with grace: the sacramental grace of Orders or, more, the grace of state which is the fruit of this sacrament (1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6) finally, it can sometimes mean a spiritual gift other than a charism properly so called (1 Cor 7: 7; 2 Cor 1:11; Rom 1:11; 11:29)
In practice, Paul uses the term charism in indicate a gift of grace, offered lovingly and freely by the Holy Spirit in order to produce in the recipient a definite capacity to act in such a way as to build up the community of believers. In Rom 12 and 1 Cor 12, he develops the meaning which this special capacity of service has for the body of the community.
…St Paul takes a very balanced view of the spiritual events taking place in the community at Corinth. He intervened drastically and with the full weight of his authority when he saw danger of an ambiguous and facile enthusiasm which was not Christian, or of a bizarre spontaneity which was not focused on building up the unity and harmony of the community. (as happened at Corinth) He was concerned to restrain and to refute quite categorically every destructive exuberance, every frenetic ‘privatization’ or individualistic claim on these gifts, as also every exclusiveness founded on greed for extraordinary manifestation and not directed towards building up the body of the Church. For Paul, every gift which does not build up the community, is – in a certain sense-madness, ephemeral, passing and fruitless….On the other hand, has no intention of denying the reality of those gifts which, in practice, he sees are brought into being and raised up by the Spirit for the good of the whole community.

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