Written by Michael Fones
Monday, 29 January 2007 22:01
I just returned from St. Paul, MN, where I was part of a teaching team offering a Called Gifted workshop at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church. In her post title, "Do Ask, Do Tell," Sherry spoke of an interview process that can follow a workshop, and mentioned that there is some trust already developed between the interviewer and the workshop participant. She proposed that in large measure that trust is established through the workshop itself.
And why not? We are teaching with the Church, and sharing yet another "best kept secret" that takes the typical Catholic lay person by delighted surprise. In presenting some of the spiritual riches of the Church, the Called & Gifted workshop focuses on three big ideas:
- Church’s primary mission is outward, not inward.
- Every member is an apostle, anointed and sent by Jesus Christ.
- Every member has been given gifts of the Holy Spirit for the sake of their personal vocation which must and can be discerned.
In the workshop we try to foster confidence in following Jesus as a disciple, and in the gifts of the Holy Spirit given at baptism that empower the Christian to continue the work of Jesus. Revelation becomes alive and relevant to their everyday life, and people begin to recognize a deeper meaning to their own life because they appreciate the significance of their intentional and personal participation in Christ's ongoing work of redemption.
At this last workshop, men and women came up to me at each break, at lunch, and at its conclusion to tell me how much they appreciated the workshop, and to ask questions regarding the discernment of particular issues. They snapped up resources we had available to assist in their ongoing discernment. Several people thanked me for our stories of how God has – and is – using saints as well as ordinary men and women to promote His kingdom through the use of their charisms.
I think many Catholics act (and pray) as though they do not really expect much from God, and we certainly don't expect God to work through imperfect instruments like us! I know I still fall into that delusion. One of the beautiful changes that people so often go through on a Called & Gifted workshop is that they begin to realize God is more intimate and more a part of their daily grind than they had dared to dream. I mean, it's hard to reconcile the idea of a far-off, relatively disinterested deist God, with a God Who gets his hands dirty creating us from the dust of the earth, and Who continues to enter and change our world through these same, imperfect vessels. Yet the evidence we produce supports that conclusion, as does, of course, the Scriptures.
To learn more about the Called & Gifted workshop, you can go to our website, http://www.siena.org/Workshops.htm You can also sign up for to receive the e-Scribe by mail, or order books and other helpful materials.. You can also contact Mike Dillon, our office manager, at