Friday, April 5, 2013

Easter Isn't Over: C is for Charism & Courage

We are on our way to Pentecost, when we celebrate the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Each of us was given a full dose of the Holy Spirit at our baptism. At confirmation, we believe that dose of the Holy Spirit is stirred up as we reach adulthood to give us fuller knowledge of the special supernatural gifts God has granted us. Then there is baptism in the Spirit, which we believe is a further unlocking and stirring up of that Spirit that is already within us, further unlocking the graces given to us at our Baptism.

Long story short (and to quote a dear friend) - we have superpowers. Our children have superpowers, too. I don't mean exceptional natural talents. I mean abilities that are powered by supernatural means (aka the Holy Spirit). 

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance 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 the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-12

For the purpose of forming disciples and creating apostles, the Catherine of Siena Institute has done some incredible work in developing tools to help people identify and hone their superpowers. Their premise is that you don't live and work out of your charisms if you don't know them, and you don't know for sure what they are if you don't use them and see what happens. There is an inherent risk of failure, yes. Many of us fear looking foolish by exercising our gifts for the common good, forgetting that if it is indeed our charism, the strength to exercise it doesn't come from us. If it is not our charism, we need to be humble enough to accept failure and move on. 

Though we tend to manifest a similar set of charisms through our life, there are also times the Holy Spirit will grant us use of certain superpowers for special purposes. We can also always pray for new charisms, such as healing, prophecy, etc. In this season of Easter, wouldn't it be glorious if the people of God were able to give witness to the resurrection of Christ through signs and wonders? Jesus wasn't the only one to raise people from the dead - there have been saints who have been able do harness the power of the Holy Spirit to do so as well. Talk about a superpower! (Apparently there is a book about 100 saints who raised the dead - not a bad read for the Easter season. Thanks to Sherry Weddell for that tip!)

To perform these miracles, signs and wonders, or even to act out of our other charisms for the greater good, takes courage. We have to tap into a holy boldness with utter trust that the Lord has got our back. He promised that faith even the size of a teeny tiny mustard seed would allow us to move mountains. How small my faith must be that I can't even move a small pebble. 

This Easter I continue to work on praying for a honing of my spiritual gifts. After our experience in Ann Arbor, I know I need to ask and trust with boldness for the gifts which will allow others to experience the risen Christ in awe. I need to work on acquiring courage to step out in faith and use the gifts. [Who knows, Sherry, I may even make the time to finish up my interview from the Called & Gifted workshop to get more direction about where and how the Lord may want to use me. It's only been a handful or two of months, right? I'm guessing procrastination is not an actual superpower or I'd be set.]

The more I am able to hone my own gifts and live in the power of the Holy Spirit, the better I will be able to recognize what may be charisms in my own children and instill in them the courage to live out of them. A deeply profound moment for me was listening to a colleague talk about how she helped her daughter pick her classes in high school. Coming from an all-honors, straight A expecting household, I was surprised when she said she advised her daughter not to take honors math because that just wasn't her gift. Instead, she had her double up on her humanities, which aligned with both her talents and her gifts. Floored. I'd never heard of such a thing. Since then, I have been determined to do the same for my children. What a gift it would be to help them learn to live in and call on the power of the Holy Spirit from a young age! What better purpose for their lives than to figure out how God wants to use them at any given time?

Do you know what your superpowers are? Your children's? How do you use them?

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