fbpx


There is a profound connection between personal freedom and the discovery and utilization of our charisms—spiritual gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit.

The American Concept of Freedom

As Jill begins the podcast, she grounds our understanding of freedom in the historical context of the United States. Founded on principles of personal liberty, the United States sought to remove the constraints imposed by lords and nobles, thereby granting individuals the space to make personal decisions and pursue their chosen paths. But does this kind of freedom align with the deeper, spiritual sense of freedom that Christianity teaches?

Christian Freedom: To Do What You Ought

Jill invites us to delve deeper, beyond the secular notion of freedom, into a Christian understanding of freedom. It’s not merely about having the liberty to do what we want but rather the freedom to do what we ought. This resonates with the example she shares from Bishop Barron about a child and a piano. While a child may be allowed to play the piano, true freedom is only achieved through years of practice, enabling the freedom to beautifully express themselves through music.
Similarly, in our Christian journey, attaining true freedom involves understanding and cultivating our charisms. Jill emphasizes that, like a skilled pianist, we must invest time and practice into recognizing and developing our spiritual gifts. This allows us to operate within our charisms’ scope, where we experience the most spiritual freedom and can contribute effectively to the Body of Christ.

The Role of Charisms in Experiencing Freedom

Jill wisely points out that not every good deed or work is meant for us individually. By overextending ourselves beyond what we are called to do, we risk burnout and frustration. Discovering and utilizing our charisms not only aligns us with God’s will but also brings an inherent sense of freedom and fulfillment. Our supernatural abilities make certain realms our ‘playground’—areas where we can act freely, confidently, and in concert with the Holy Spirit.

Recognizing the Roadblocks to Freedom

Despite our best efforts, there may be times when we feel trapped or burdened. According to Jill, such feelings can serve as indicators that we are not living fully in accordance with our Christian freedom. She encourages us to observe these red flags and seek understanding through prayer and reflection. Is it a trust issue? Do we struggle with understanding our own worth? Such questions can reveal the barriers that hinder us from embracing true freedom in Christ.

Embracing Greater Freedom

Ultimately, Jill reminds us that greater freedom in Christ comes through knowing our identity, understanding our charisms, and moving towards them both in our personal lives and within our communities. Living out our charisms faithfully allows us to rely on Jesus, who’s at the helm of our spiritual journey. This reliance dismantles our illusion of control, replacing it with trust and divine peace—key components of true freedom.

Conclusion

As we contemplate spiritual freedom and charisms, Jill’s message on Charisms for Catholics becomes a divine invitation to journey towards greater freedom in Christ. By trusting Him, discerning our spiritual gifts, and living them out faithfully, we find ourselves truly liberated. Whether you’re celebrating the Fourth of July in the U.S. or praying for freedom in your own country, let us strive to embrace the freedom Christ offers—a freedom that leads us to do what we ought.
If you feel called to dive deeper into understanding your charisms, Jill invites you to visit the Many Parts Ministries website. Begin your journey with their charism assessment and explore the spiritual gifts that guide you towards greater freedom and fruitful ministry.

Jill Simons:
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. Hello, and welcome to today’s episodes of Charisms for Catholics. I’m so excited to be chatting with you today on this, which is the birthday of, the United States, which is where we’re located. And so today, we’re gonna be looking at how 1 of Jill the founding principles of our country, which is personal freedom, is really something that we are able to attain in a spiritual sense through the use of our charism. So our theme today is gonna be freedom and how freedom isn’t always what we think it’s going to mean.

Jill Simons:
It really is something that is correctly understood within the Christian context. So to begin, freedom in the secular term, freedom that the founders of the United States of America were pursuing was really the personal liberty to do what you as a person decided to do as long as it didn’t transgress, you know, a group mutually agreed upon laws. So it was govern government by the people for the teach people so that it wasn’t just what’s good for a few people, what’s really good for everyone. Let’s write those into laws. Let’s have those things that we can all agree on be the foundation. But then from there, you get to decide what you do. You’re not, beholden to a lord or another noble telling you what you are allowed to do and controlling your Simons. You’re really at liberty to do what it is that you choose to do with yourself, your time, your property, etcetera.

Jill Simons:
And so whether or not we believe that this is being maintained in its desired original form in the United States of America right now or not is beside the point. We’re really just using this as a gateway to talk about this experience of freedom, which I think everyone desires. Everyone desires that feeling of being free to be able to make your own decisions and to really be free in what we consider to be the definition of freedom in the Christian context, which is the freedom to do what you ought or free to do what you ought is freedom. When you are allowed to do something that’s different than being free to do something. So, bishop Barron actually uses an example of playing the piano. He’ll say, you know, maybe a child, a random small child is allowed to play the piano. They’re not really free to play the piano because they don’t understand the piano. They don’t know how to play.

Jill Simons:
And so it’s only with dedication and time and practice that someone actually becomes free to play whatever they would like on the piano because they have developed in such a way that then they’re able to do what they ought or what is best within that scope of playing the piano. And this is the same thing that we see within our Christian life. There are many, many things that are good. There is lots of corporal works of mercy and spiritual works of mercy, and the beatitudes and all these show all these different ways, not to mention the lives of the saints, which we’re talking about in our series going on concurrently with these episodes. There’s so many examples of good things and good things to do, but not everything is for you. Like we talked about a couple of months ago in our episode on burnout, not everything is for you. And when you act like everything is for you, that’s when you get burnt out. That’s when you get really exhausted and tired because the reality is it’s not all for you to do.

Jill Simons:
So when we look at what does it mean to be experiencing freedom in the Christian life, that means that you are able to do what you ought to do. And, of course, what you most ought to do, what you should invest as much of your life as you can in is the functions of your charisms in addition to just the general Christian functions in the pursuit of virtue. So not every single 1 of those things is gonna be contained within your individual charisms. But your charisms show you where you are going to experience the greatest freedom because in those places, you are like the piano player who has been practicing for 20 years. You have been gifted a supernatural ability that makes this kind this 1 arena, this 1 area kind of your playground, somewhere where you are able to move with freedom and confidence and be able to do all kinds of different things while experiencing the movement of the holy spirit. And so these places in our life where we feel most chained, most burnt out, most, just kinda locked in and, trapped in a certain sense, These places show us where we are maybe not living all the way in accord with what Christian freedom is calling us into because it says in the book of Galatians that Christ it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. He desires to bring us the freedom that comes with being a child of God. And so if there’s places where we are maybe trying to use our charisms or pursuing relationship with Christ and we’re not experiencing greater freedom and kind of progressively greater freedom, we wouldn’t expect to go from 0 to 60 in instantaneously.

Jill Simons:
But if we’re not experiencing progressively greater freedom, that can be a red flag that that identity quotient aspect of the assessment, that aspect of our lives Jill needs addressing. Because anywhere that we are resistant to freedom that is being freely offered to us shows us where we think maybe we don’t deserve something or maybe we don’t trust the gift giver. We don’t quite trust the scenario that’s been set up that we are a part of. Whenever that is the case, that is always an invitation from Christ to accept more of the freedom that he wants to give us and to look at what is it that’s blocking that. Is it my struggle to trust God? Is it the fact that I struggle with my own value? Is it the fact that I am, you know, just confused at how I could be asked to do anything or contribute anything to the larger body of Christ. Whatever it is, these are things we can get to through communication and conversation with Christ. As we are going through our relationship with him, we want to ask him questions like this. We want to receive wisdom around things like this.

Jill Simons:
What is it that is holding me back from experiencing greater freedom? Because when our identity is healthy and we know our charisms and are intentionally moving towards them, leaning in those directions, both within our personal life and within the life of our community, we should expect to experience greater freedom, greater peace, all of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but freedom especially. Because then we realize how little we actually control. We recognize that our job is to show up, to be faithful, and to let Jesus do the rest. And if that is not the most freeing thing I have heard today, I don’t know what will be. I hope that if you’re here in the United States of America, you have a very happy and safe 4th Jill, that you continue to pray for our country and to pursue things that help us as a nation pursue the kind of freedom that our country was founded on, this intention that each person might be free to choose what they ought and to be able to move in the direction that they have decided is going to best serve them and their community. If you are in the rest of the world, I ask that you pray for your country, that it will also become a home of freedom both in the political sense and in the sense of people embracing what they ought in their lives and vocations. God bless you. Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics.

Jill Simons:
If you would like to learn more about your charisms or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website at manypartsministries.com where you can download our free pdf guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our charism assessment.