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Gifts of the Holy Spirit, or charisms, refer to special spiritual gifts or abilities of the Holy Spirit to individuals for the benefit of the Church and the world. The term “charism” comes from the Greek word “charisma,” meaning “gift” or “favor.”

Scriptural Basis

The New Testament mentions the concept of spiritual gifts, or charisms, a few times. St. Paul says in Romans 12:6-8, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

The seven traditional gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord) are universally available to all believers, but charisms are more specific and diverse in nature. They are unique expressions of the Holy Spirit’s work in individuals, and different individuals may have different charisms.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit include writing, craftsmanship, encouragement, giving, helps, music, prophecy, discernment, service, administration, knowledge, pastoring, wisdom, faith, leadership, teaching, intercession, celibacy, evangelism, hospitality, healing, voluntary poverty, mercy, and missionary. These charisms empower individuals to serve the Church and contribute to its growth and mission in various ways.

Still One Holy Spirit

St. Paul expounds on this understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit but the same Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.”

Gifts of the Holy Spirit seek the common good and build up the Body of Christ, in love and service. We exercise them in humility and in accordance with the teachings of Scripture and the guidance of the Church, never for personal gain or self-promotion. “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10-11).

To learn more about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to take a charism assessment, visit Many Parts Ministries.

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