Pope: Charism, gifts of God for the good of the whole Church
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Charisms "are a gift of God" which "with the same generosity and the same love" should be placed "at the service of the whole community, for the good of everyone," while remembering that "all the charisms are important in the eyes of God and, at the same time, no one is irreplaceable". Pope Francis spoke of "charisms", which in everyday terms refers to a "talent, natural ability" and in the Christian perspective "is a grace" bestowed by God, "for the good of all," to 40 thousand people in the square St. Peter's for the general audience.
In his catechesis the Pope spoke of three aspects of Charisms - which in ecclesiastical language are also used to refer to religious orders and lay movements: they are a grace gifted by God, to they are gifted for the good of the whole community and they are good: "when the Church, in the variety of its charisms, is expressed in communion, it can't go wrong", but "God help us if these gifts become a source of envy or division, or jealousy."
"From the beginning - he said - the Lord has filled the Church with the gifts of His Spirit, thus making it more vibrant and fruitful. With the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Among these gifts, some stand out in being particularly valuable in the edification and journey of the Christian community: these are the charisms. In this catechesis we ask: what exactly is a charism? How can we recognize and welcome them? And above all: should the fact that there is a diversity and multiplicity of charisms in the Church be seen in a positive sense, as a beautiful thing, or as a problem? ".
"Humanly speaking, it goes like this: God gives this quality, this charism, to this person but not for his or herself: so that it may be at the service of the entire community. Today - he added - before arriving in the square, I received many, many children with disabilities in the Paul VI Hall, there were so many. An association dedicated to the care of these children: what is that? This association, these people, these men and women have the charism to take care of disabled children. This is a charism".
"One important thing that should be immediately emphasized is the fact that no one can understand if he or she has a charism - or which - on their own. But, often we hear people say: 'No, I have this talent, I sing well' And no one has the courage to say to them, ' you would do better to stay quiet, because you torment us when you sing!' No one can claim to have a charism. It is within the community that the gifts the Father fills us with bloom and flourish, and it is within the community that you learn to recognize them as a sign of His love for all His children . Each of us should ask ourselves: 'is there any charism that the Lord has gifted me - that the Lord fill me with - in the grace of His Spirit, and that my brothers, in the Christian community, recognize and encourage? And how do I behave with regards this gift: do I live it with generosity, putting it at the service of all, or do I neglect and forget about it? Or maybe it has become a source of pride in me, to the point that I complain about others and demand things are done my way in the community?'. These are questions that we must ask ourselves: if there is a charism in me, do that charism is recognized by the church, and if I am happy with this charisma or I a little 'jealous of the gifts of others and want to have that charism ... No, a charism is a gift. Only God gifts it".
"The most beautiful experience, however, is to discover just how many different charisms there are, the gifts of the Spirit with which the Father fills his Church! This should not be seen as a source of confusion, discomfort, they are all gifts that God gives to Christian community, so that it can grow harmoniously, in faith and in His love, as one body, the body of Christ. The same Spirit that gives this variety of gifts, is the unity of the Church: the same Spirit. Faced with this multiplicity of charisms, our heart must be open to joy and we have to think: 'what a beautiful thing! many different gifts, because we are all children of God, and everyone is loved in a unique way.' Woe, then, if these gifts become a source of envy or divisions, or of jealousy! As the apostle Paul recalled in his First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 12, all gifts are important in the eyes of God and, at the same time, no one is irreplaceable. This means that we all need each other in the Christian community and every gift received is fully realized only when it is shared with our brothers and sisters for the good of all. This is the Church! And when the Church, in the variety of its charisms, is expressed in communion, it can't go wrong: it is the beauty and strength of the sensus fidei of the supernatural sense of the faith, which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn how to follow Jesus in our lives".
"Today - he concluded - the Church celebrates the feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, this saint who died at 24 years of age and who loved the Church so much. She wanted to be a missionary, and wanted to have all charisms. She would say: 'But, no, I would like to do this and this and this ... ', she wanted to have all of the charisms. So she prayed and understood that her charisma was love and she put this beautifully into words when she said: 'I will be love in the heart of the Church'. We all have this charism: the ability to love. Let us ask Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus today for this ability to love both the Church, to love her so much and accept all those gifts with this love of the children of the Church, our Holy mother the hierarchical Church".