Each and every one of us is uniquely gifted to reveal God in the world. Today’s blog explores spiritual charisms (gifts) and how they not only assist us in God’s purpose for our lives, but also serve as a source of inspiration for others.
Friends and Mentors
Wednesday morning I had brunch with a dear friend and mentor. She is a person with whom I worked when I was still under the employ of the Institution of the Roman Catholic Church. She served as my teacher, guide and mentor as I stumbled unwittingly into the role of Liturgist for our grieving community in exile. She took me under her wing as I faced a position for which I was completely untrained and ill-prepared and during a time that I was grieving myself. For her teaching, patience, compassion and friendship, I will always be grateful. We worked together until it became clear to me that God was calling me in another direction. My departure from official Church ministry could have and probably should have driven a wedge in our relationship, but it did not. As a result, I have been given the profound gift of being able to witness true hospitality, generosity and to sit in humble awe over the unique way that God has gifted my friend.
The Unnamed Charism
A charism, as defined by the Catholic Church is a unique spiritual gift and the way that God works through us in bringing healing, love, compassion and justice into the world. The Catholic Church has named roughly 28 charisms which include: healing, discernment of spirits, service, preaching, teaching, administration, evangelization. Because of my relationship with my friend/mentor, and seeing this same gift in my father, I have identified another charism that is yet to be named. I don’t know what to call it, but I am truly in awe over this gift because there is no way on God’s green earth that this gift will EVER be accessible to me. In a nutshell, this as yet unnamed charism, provides one with the ability to stay present to a work or life situation that is less than ideal and might even come in conflict with what you know to be 100% right and true. This charism has something to do with tolerance, acceptance of imperfection, patience and forgiveness and it is the kind of gift that might allow someone to remain an employee of an Institution or work with or for an individual that is everything BUT perfect. My father has this gift, as does my friend. And to both of them I bow in humble awe because no matter how hard I try or have tried, this ability eludes me!
The Curse of the Reformer
No matter how much I try to deny it or bargain away this gift, I am called to be a reformer. As such, I see the world through the lens of “How can this be better?” In particular, I see religion, church, especially Catholicism through this lens. To the chagrin of many, I have no choice but to be a voice and a force for change in what we have come to know religion, church, etc. to be. I see myself as creating and holding space for those that are looking to step into a future vision of church that is less about God as defined by some outside perceived authority and more about the God that wants to reveal itself to them in an intimate and personal way within their own hearts. I also see this as a move from the “do it because we told you” faith of a child and the searching and discovering phase of adolescence and the adult phase of personal empowerment and determined mission. Not everyone in the Church is ready to take these steps, and it is because of and for these folks that my friend has been duly gifted. I see her as holding space for an Institution and its people who are struggling with the pain of transition…..knowing that change is afoot, but not wanting to let go of what they have known for something that has not yet been revealed. While I’m the one disturbing the sh..t, she is the one that says, “It’s ok. You are still safe.”
On a Personal Note
So, on a personal note, I bow in humble awe to my friend, my father and to anyone else who has been gifted with this charism. I have great respect and wonder for your ability to hold space in the tension, to breathe through conflict, to have patience, acceptance and understanding for what is. I can only hope to learn from you as I’m sitting here disturbing the sh… 🙂
How are you uniquely gifted to reveal God in the world?
How are you aware of the unique giftedness of others?
Where do you see the way in which our mutual gifts complement each other?
Authentic Freedom Ministries