Aleteia

Pentecost: How to cultivate the charisms you’ve been given

ARTYSTKA
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Your charisms are different than your talents and must be fanned into flame in order to change the world.

The Holy Spirit has the capacity to attribute spiritual gifts or charisms (wisdom, words of knowledge, increased faith, capacity to heal, perform miracles, speaking and interpreting various tongues, the gifts of prophecy, and discernment). This is exactly what happened to the apostles when the flames descended on them on the day of Pentecost. Whether extraordinary or commonplace, these charisms must be primarily placed in the service of the Lord and of His Church. But first, they must be carefully cultivated!

People have always been fascinated by fire — the wet scent of night, the hiss of logs burning, the crackling flames. A flame is like a living entity. It exists and then it doesn’t. It consumes things around it.

The way the Holy Spirit operates within us is no different: the Spirit kindles, burns, rises, and consumes. It cannot be put out. It’s invisible but illuminates us. When the logs blacken, the Holy Spirit escapes. How intoxicating and frustrating it is! 

Distinguishing between talents and charisma

People like talking about charisms. But they don’t always do this with understanding. The charisms are not some form of Christian magic; they’re the fruits of baptism, the sacrament that every Christian adult receives but has forgotten about. But baptism is a sacrament that forever transforms our hearts. Each of us has received charisms from the Holy Spirit. Their manifestations, including the most spectacular ones, are renewed in the sacrament of confirmation. But are we aware of this?

We must distinguish between talent and charisma. A talent is a blessing that can turn one into a saint. A charism is a blessing that gives us the gift of inspiring others to become saints. Often charisms are seen as a complement to our human talents. The Holy Spirit elevates us much higher than we could have ever imagined, but based on what we already are. For example, the silver-tongued St. Paul became an apostle of Christ. 

The secrets of cultivating charismatic gifts

Still, it would be wrong to ignore that talents and charisms must be strengthened by virtue. Virtue will put them into use. Prayerfulness is a virtue that must be cultivated daily or it will be lost. A fire doesn’t feed fire, it must be fed.

Brother Thierry-Dominique Humbrech

 

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