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Why don’t we explore charisms more? Charisms have been a part of the Church’s teachings for centuries, yet their presence often goes unnoticed or underemphasized. Let’s dive into the reasons behind this silence and uncover the hidden gems that lie within.

Delving into Church History

Church history explains the silence on charisms. In the early days of the Church, charisms were prevalent and actively embraced. We see this in the New Testament, especially the Book of Acts. Everyday Christians walked in supernatural gifts, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through them. However, as the Church grew and faced persecution, there was a natural shift towards building hierarchies and addressing theological issues. This transition caused a gradual move away from focusing on the immediate presence of the Holy Spirit . Instead they focused on long-term goals and teaching specific truths.

Rediscovering Charisms

While charisms may have faded from the spotlight, they are far from extinct. The Catholic Church teaches that every baptized person receives at least one charism to build and serve the Church. Often individuals possess multiple charisms. Charisms are for every individual and period. They are active today in those who have been receptive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance over time.

Unleashing the Power of Charisms

Saints Thomas Aquinas and Augustine are known for their charisms of knowledge, teaching, and wisdom. They shaped both Western civilization and the Church through their ability to synthesize knowledge and impart wisdom. These great saints serve as examples of how the Holy Spirit can work through individuals to bring about powerful transformation. By recognizing and embracing our own unique charisms, we can contribute to spreading the Gospel and building up the Kingdom.

The Call to Sainthood

Every person must become a saint. Charisms are the necessary tools to pursue that calling. When we intentionally cooperate with the Holy Spirit and nurture our charisms, we play an active role in the Church.

As we conclude this enlightening episode, we invite you to explore the hidden gems of charisms within the Catholic Church. Let go of the stress, burnout, and frustration that may hinder your spiritual journey. Invest your time and energy in the places where the Holy Spirit has activated you to bring about change. The invitation is a confirmation that God trusts you and an opportunity to participate in His divine plan.

Learn more at Many Parts Ministries.

Jill Simons [00:00:00]:

You. Hello and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons and I’m the executive director at many parts ministries where we equip the body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the church. Let’s dive in. So here we are in the very first episode. I am so excited for you to join me on this journey with Charisms for Catholics. Really diving deep into this topic that is so wildly unexplored underexplored within the church.

Jill Simons [00:00:46]:

And so in this very first episode, I want to talk just briefly about why that is. Why is it that you have maybe made it through all of your life to this point only hearing about charisms, maybe in passing or maybe not at all, maybe this is something that wasn’t ever mentioned for you. And it’s kind of one of those hidden gems of the church of which there are so many. And you think about how long the history of the church is over 2000 years since Christ and then the Old Testament backstory. Prior to that, there’s just been so many good things that sometimes a shift in focus allows something that is still a really good and important thing to kind of fall by the wayside. And that’s really what happened with charisms. When you read the New Testament, when you read the Book of Acts and the letters, you see all of these everyday normal Christians, newly baptized, newly converted to the faith, walking in these incredible supernatural gifts. These were the charisms in the early church.

Jill Simons [00:01:55]:

And we have such amazing powerful stories of them that we’re going to be breaking open even more as we go forward in this podcast and also in our Bible study that’s going to be coming out soon. Looking at where do we see these charisms in the early church and what did they look like. And so in the early days of the new baby Christian Church, there was a huge emphasis on the Holy Spirit, on the Holy Spirit coming, being manifest in their lives. And of course, this is what Christ himself tells us is the purpose for him going back to the Father is that so he can send the advocate and he says it’s better for us that he goes to the Father so that the Holy Spirit, the advocate, can come and live in each of us. And this is what brings about the spiritual gifts, the charisms. We’ll also be having episodes later on kind of disambiguating what are fruits of the Spirit versus gifts of the Spirit versus charisms and what’s kind of the breakdown amongst all of those things. But for now we’re going to be focusing just on where did this concept of charisms go? So after the early days of the Church, there was a need to create structures that would help the Church perpetuate. A lot of the early disciples, first converts of the Church, thought that Christ was going to come again, potentially even in their lifetime.

Jill Simons [00:03:23]:

There was obviously nothing that he said that made them think that specifically, but there was enough of a belief that he was going to be coming back soon, that there was a very in the moment kind of focus, not to mention the fact that they were being actively persecuted. And so there was always that possibility that they were going to die basically at any point. And so there was really a huge focus on what is the Holy Spirit doing right now in this moment? Where is he? Active? Where is he present and how is he inviting me to co collaborate with Him, to co create with Him and make his presence known? And so as they moved away from this, as the time passed and it became more clear that there was going to need to be further structures in place to perpetuate the Church, and there was the need to sort of build out the hierarchy and address very specific heretical claims that were coming up in the early church. There was a shift in focus to both the hierarchy and the theology of the faith. Both totally necessary, totally important. I don’t want to demonize either of those things in this conversation, but it became one of those situations where there was only so many things that people were holding in their hands at one time. And as there was a focus shift to the hierarchy, to theology, and also as persecution lessened, there was this sort of natural shift away from what is the Holy Spirit doing in this exact present moment? And more of an emphasis on what is it that we are looking to do in the long term and how do we need to catechize people and what specific truths do we need to teach them? And so a lot of people for a long time thought that charisms were kind of the gasoline poured on the early church to kind of get the fire going. But once you have a fire going, you don’t keep pouring gasoline on it.

Jill Simons [00:05:23]:

That’s kind of a recipe for disaster. And so there was this mindset that the charisms and active through the Holy Spirit were given specifically to the early church for this kind of kickstart and that they were not continued to be given throughout history. But I think it’s really easy to refute this claim when you look at the lives of the saints. Pick a saint, it doesn’t matter who you pick. You can look at their life, at their body of work, at the miracles they did, at how they lived their life. And you can point to at minimum two, three, a lot of times more very specific gifts of the Holy Spirit. Active in their life. So simple example that almost everyone’s familiar with St.

Jill Simons [00:06:13]:

Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine huge charisms of knowledge there. Huge charisms of teaching, huge charisms of wisdom where they are people that stand out throughout the 2000 year history of the Church as being able to synthesize knowledge and transmit teaching in a way that has shaped all of Western civilization and certainly the primary teaching body of the Church. And so these charisms were clearly active in them outside of the context of the early church. And I think it’s important to remember that what God does in one person’s life is particular to them in terms of the fact that they are given specific gifts, but it’s not particular in them in the fact that the Holy Spirit wants to do something in each person. We’re all called to sainthood and that’s going to look different in each life. But we can rest assured that we are all going to be given the tools we need to become saints should we earnestly pursue that. And that’s why it doesn’t make any sense to say that, oh, this was just for the early church and God doesn’t want to do that anymore.

Jill Simons [00:07:29]:

That is just not in keeping with what we know about God in the New Covenant. There’s this beautiful line in Revelations twelve that says the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. And what that means essentially is that if it happened in the life of Jesus, god wants it to happen again. It is a prophecy of what is possible for each of us who come into right relationship with God the Father. That’s not to say that we will become God, it’s to say that we will actually be empowered through the Holy Spirit to live the way that Jesus lived. And we see all of these charisms actually active in the person of Christ. He is the prototype of all of these things. And that wasn’t only through his own divine nature.

Jill Simons [00:08:19]:

That was also through the Holy Spirit empowering his human nature to show us how to be humans and to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. And so this was formalized in church teaching. This isn’t just my ideas about this. This was formalized in church teaching. In Vatican Two, there was really these two sides of the story that came to a head. There was sort of a group of bishops that thought and cardinals, I should say, that thought this was like the gasoline analogy where charisms were something just for the early church. And then there was another contingent of cardinals that said, no, this is something that the Holy Spirit wants to pour out in the church all the time. It was cardinal Suens from Belgium was the one who really spearheaded the sort of pro charisms argument and he has lots of beautiful argumentation available from the Vatican Two records that you can read if you’re interested.

Jill Simons [00:09:20]:

But to distill his point, he really made the argument. Don’t we all know people who are just clearly active in the Holy Spirit in doing things that are outside of their human capacity? Don’t we see supernatural fruit from the actions of these people? And who are we to say that the Holy Spirit can’t do that? So essentially this was again formalized in Lumengensium at the Second Vatican Council. But the church teaching is now that every single baptized person baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is given at minimum, a charism to build the church. A lot of times it’s more than one. I have never come across a person where it was like, no, absolutely only one, no way there’s any more. A lot of times I see people with three or so that are kind of starting out on their journey and really cooperating with Grace and cooperating with Holy Spirit in this intentional way. But it’s also very possible to have a lot more than that if this cooperation with the Holy Spirit has been a part of your life for a long time, even if you didn’t have this vocabulary to talk about it with. So let’s say that you’ve been a devout person seeking after the Holy Spirit, developing an intimate relationship with God in prayer for many years.

Jill Simons [00:10:51]:

It’s very likely that you have been using your charisms well, and most likely given more charisms based on that faithfulness and based on that intimacy with which you have walked with God. And so then we see, when you add in the vocabulary, having a way to talk about this, about what is happening and why it is happening this way, is really helpful. This gives you a way to share about what you’re doing and how you’re growing spiritually with other people who might not be experiencing the same thing organically in their lives, but can choose to go after this more intentionally when they have sort of the theory and the vocabulary to interact with it. So that is really our goal, both on this podcast and through our ministry at many parts, is to help people intentionally go after this expression of charisms in their life. As we say over and over again, we want to help people identify, value and invest in what the Holy Spirit is already doing. And those three steps are so important because if we never identify what the Holy Spirit is doing, it can seem like he’s just showing up at random, maybe not showing up at all. Sometimes it’s just out of the blue he decides to do something over here and it can feel very frantic, disjointed and hard to follow. But if you actually put words to what the Holy Spirit is doing, then you can pay attention to the much more nuanced movements of the Holy Spirit, the things that don’t necessarily come with a lot of flash and a lot of bang, but come with just that quiet, sustaining presence of the Holy Spirit.

Jill Simons [00:12:41]:

And so then once you have identified that you are able to value it, you’re able to see those quiet and simple movements of the Holy Spirit and value them just the same that you would value the more flashy, maybe more exciting movements of the Holy Spirit. In miracles and conversions and big moments like that, we can recognize the fact that the Holy Spirit is empowering us to do the simple tasks of our lives that line up with the charisms that we’ve been given. And then once we realize that that’s where the Holy Spirit is moving, we can let go of so much of the shame and performance and desire to be good enough and just let the Holy Spirit be present where he has shown us that he is already present. So this helps, I always say this helps women know what to say no to. This helps men know what to say yes to. And that might be overly simplistic, dividing the genders like that, but I think it really does hold true most of the time. A lot of times women struggle to say no to things and a lot of times men need just that little bit of nudge to say yes to where the Holy Spirit is really inviting them to work and move in their lives. And so that permission to focus only on the things that the Holy Spirit is actively doing in you in the larger church can be really freeing for a lot of people.

Jill Simons [00:14:11]:

You can let go of the things that stress you out, burn you out, make you frustrated, make you feel like you don’t fit in in the church. We can just let those things go and spend our time and energy on the places that the Holy Spirit has really activated us to bring about change and bring about movement in the church. And so finding the place for those three steps in our lives, the identify, value and invest gives us that clear path for how do I show up and bring the Holy Spirit with me? Because essentially that’s the job. We don’t bring anything, we don’t create anything that we have not first been given. This is not because many of us have these supernatural powers in and of itself, ourselves. It’s about the fact that we get to help. God and the Holy Spirit specifically have chosen to empower us because he wants to invite us to help, not because he cannot do it on his own. It’s because it’s good for us to get to help.

Jill Simons [00:15:23]:

It’s good for us to be active, not just in the church, but in the family, the body of charism that we are truly a part of. So thank you so much for listening to this first episode. We’re going to be launching many more in the weeks and months to come. We are still kind of landing on what our output schedule is going to be, but I imagine that we’ll land on that in the next couple of weeks. And I thank you so much for being along for the ride. Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your charisms or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website@manypartsministries.com where you can download our free PDF guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our Charism Cement.

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