Tuesday, 30 January 2007 07:58
Written by Keith Strohm
One of the (many) challenges I faced in accepting the person whom God made me to be was coming face to face with my charisms.
Well, what do I mean by charisms?
Simply put, charisms are gratuitous gifts given to us by God at Baptism that supernaturally equip us to accomplish the specific work of love that God has given us. Through our charisms we are able to be effective channels of God's love in ways that are far more effective than if we were working out of our own natural talents.
If you want a more fleshed out explanation of the charisms, come to a Called & Gifted workshop. I highly recommend it!
In any event, for most of my life, I simply did not believe that charisms existed let alone that I might actually have any. I grew up on the East Coast with a very intellectual (and somewhat cultural) formation in my Catholic faith. I knew that the charisms were mentioned by Paul in the scripturs (in places like Corinthians and Ephesians), but I believed these were either metaphors or an attempt by the writers of the New Testament to add legitimacy to their new religion by sprinkling in some purely fictitious miracles.
By the time I attended University my heart (and mind) was hardened to the possibility of charisms. It wasn't until Graduate School, when some powerful encounters with the Holy Spirit led to a conversion of heart, mind, and worldview, that I admitted that the Bible not have been wrong about the reality of charisms. :) God certainly does like smashing through hardened hearts!
I still, however, didn't fully believe that I possessed charisms; nor did I understand that these charisms were an indication of what God was calling me to do with my life. That didn't come until much later. I wrote a little bit about that in my first post here at ID entitled, Like Getting Hit on the Head With a 2 x 4.
Now, I have been privileged to join many hundreds (soon thousands) of peeople as they begin their own journey of discovery and discernment with their charisms. It's wonderful to see different people encountering the reality of charisms (many for the first time). It's also wonderful to see how, as these men and women reflect upon their life, they begin to recognize the Presence of God and the charisms in their own life journey.
What about you? What are your experiences with charisms? Do you believe that they are real? What was it like discovering their presence in your life? I'm really curious, and I would love to hear about our collective experiences of charisms--our struggles and our joys!
Because of my experience with charisms, I have encountered the overwhelming Generosity and Love of God--and I find myself overcome with gratitude at God's Abundance, asking myself, "Is this for real? Does my God love me this much?"
Thankfully, it is.
And he does!