Continuing the conversation on charisms – the unique and special way each of us is called to be a vehicle through which Divine love finds its expression in the world. Charisms are our own special magic and the way in which we participate in God’s unfolding plan of turning the world from fear into love (aka “salvation”). Charisms are gifts that we possess that when utilized facilitate results far beyond which we know we are humanly capable. In today’s blog, we will explore the charisms of leadership, mercy, missionary and music.
In speaking of the charism of leadership, I’m going to borrow from the Catherine of Siena Institute in their Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory: “People with the gift of leadership are God’s catalysts (Weddell, 1997, p. 40). Those with the charism of leadership are problem-discoverers, able to see the world through the eyes of “what needs are not yet being met,” and “what could be made better here?” Leaders have the ability to come up with a vision and share that vision in a way that makes others want to come together to make it happen. Leaders tend to see with an eagle vision, seeing the big picture and content to leaving the details to others. As problem-discoverers, leaders are not to be confused with the gift of administration which is about problem-solving. When I reflect on this distinction, I am reminded of the relationship between myself and my editor (who has interestingly found herself in administrative roles with a wide variety of people I suspect as possessing the gift of leadership). I see the big picture, I write the big picture, she challenges me to pay attention to the details. She sees the problems in the text, and I’m content to let her fix it. 🙂
While all human beings are called to tend to the needs of the hungry, the poor, the homeless, the imprisoned, the sick, and the disenfranchised, those possessing the charism of mercy, are called to do so in a unique and special way. Possessing a deep sensitivity to the needs of the marginalized and oppressed, are sensitive to their suffering, those with the gift of mercy are compelled to help and do so in a cheerful and effective way. Careful to respect the dignity of those with whom they work, those with the gift of mercy lift up the lives of the oppressed and in the process feel energized and renewed. It is through their deeds that that lives of others are transformed. Mother Teresa is the perfect example of one who possesses the charism of mercy.
Again quoting the Siena Institute, “Men and women with this gift (missionary), love to live cross-culturally and are remarkably effective channels of the love of Jesus when they do so. (Weddell, 1997, p. 42)” I would argue that this gifts goes beyond those of a Christian faith and is present within anyone who is passionately attracted to cultures outside their own and who effortlessly and passionately adapt to another culture’s language and customs. The distinction around what makes simple interest in the culture of another a charism is that the cultural interest leads and blossoms to a service to that culture. In this I think of my friend, Peggy who yearns and hungers for opportunities to travel to third-world (specifically Asian) cultures to be of service to children. In Peggy, the missionary and mercy charisms are combined and she does so with an effortless grace and ease. Peggy’s example reminds us that the missionary charism never stands on its own, but is accomplished in conjunction with one or several other charisms.
Amy Grant anyone? Click on the following YouTube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcTUz0M0XcY and you will see the perfect example of music as a charism put to action! 🙂
As you have reflected on the charisms presented so far, what do you think might be your magic?
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