Still a week behind. Which, oddly enough, is also what I say after a long bike ride, when it hurts to sit afterwards.
Chapter 11: Personally Encountering Jesus In His Church (click here to read a synopsis on the chapter)
In your own faith:
- How would you describe what your spiritual gifts are (or might be)?
- In what ways could you evangelize or disciple others using those gifts?
- Think for a moment about the other members of your parish. Who do you know who seems to have a very evident gift for some type of ministry, but perhaps is not aware of it?
For pastoral leaders:
- Think for a moment about the lay leaders of your parish. Which would you describe as “disciples”? As not yet disciples? [Or: Don’t really know.]
- Over the next six months, what steps can you take to help the disciples learn to evangelize? To help disciples-to-be grow in their faith?
Now the rubber hits the road. It’s come to this: describing my spiritual gifts, or charisms. This is a dicey proposition. Because here’s the thing: once you’ve identified your charisms, you have to share them. Charisms are meant to be shared with the Church, not clutched tight to oneself, never to see the light of day.
So if go ahead and say “I think these are my spiritual gifts!”, I’m obligated to do something with them. And not just some any ol’ something, but a specific something within my parish and wider Catholic community. And I have to tell you, I’m not sure I’m there yet.
And neither can I refuse to answer the question. I mean, I *can*, but then what sort of disciple would I be? Would I even be one?
So here’s the deal. I’m still in the discerning process – honest. Even after all these weeks of going through the book. Maybe I missed something crucial those weeks I didn’t participate. In any case, I think I’d benefit from Sherry’s “Called and Gifted” seminar-thingy, and come to a full understanding of what spiritual gifts God has given me. I need proper discernment. Something like this requires prayer, reflection, perhaps a box of free donuts, and guidance from folks who know what they’re doing.
In the meantime, though, I can take a stab at what I think God has blessed me with. I’ve been told by several people I have a gift for writing. Not sure if that’s a charism, but I appreciate the compliment. I also have a sense of humor – again, is that charism-ish? Or is that just a combination of genetic formulation, upbringing, and learned survival skills? I dunno. I’m also musically inclined – but there’s something about accompanying the parish music group, playing “In Eagle’s Wings” or “Gather Us In” on the piano that makes me want to run far, far away. Know what I mean?
In all seriousness, though – I know I must learn what my charisms are (look at me, thinking I might actually have more than one!), and then use them as God intended, for the building up of God’s Kingdom and helping others become disciples. He didn’t create me, at this point in time, to be living in the place I am, with my family and within my community, to just write a blog and sell a variety of packaging materials and services. He has a plan for me, and has equipped me to carry out that plan. I just need to sift through the equipment, read the users manuals, and start using it.
It’s heady stuff – but so important. Not just to build up the Kingdom, but by identifying my charisms, I’d also be fulfilling my purpose, thus giving me the peace and joy God wants me to have.
And who wouldn’t want that?