Activate Your Gifts
I never forget to eat – except when I’m writing.
I’m a classic introvert – except when someone gets me talking about Mother Church and the Eucharist.
When writing is paired with evangelism, something inside of me ignites. I can’t explain it, but I hope it never stops happening to me.
On September 14 my parish hosted the Called and Gifted Workshop presented by the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado Springs. The participants took the gifts inventory. I ranked five stars across the board in evangelization and writing. No surprises there.
Then, we got down to the nitty gritty.
A charism is a free gift from God uniquely given so that the baptized person can fulfill his/her unique mission.
As Blessed John Paul II said, each one of us is gifted, and we have a responsibility for this singular, unique, and unrepeatable deposit of grace by which we each contribute to the building up the Body of Christ (Redemptor Hominis #21). Bottom line? We are all gifted. Each and every one of us.
But charisms and natural talents are not the same thing. The first is a free, unmerited deposit of grace. The second is a result of DNA, practice, and study.
I’ve been a teacher. I’m pretty good at it. But teaching is not a charism for me. The subject matter makes all of the difference. If I’m teaching history, I’m putting in time. There, I said it. No one will ever hire me to teach history again. What about English? That’s only marginally better than teaching history. What about sharing the Gospel joy? Now, I’m on fire. Suddenly, I feel like I know what I was born to do.
As I said, I sometimes write through breakfast and lunch. Somewhere around three in the afternoon, I realize that I should probably grab a bowl of cereal.
But I’m not like that when I’m writing letters or a grocery list. I wasn’t like that when I wrote all those papers in graduate school. It only happens when I write about the faith.
that free gift that I must activate in order to be fulfilled? It’s evangelization. That’s my charism – and I love it like I love my own child. Both are gifts from God and entrusted to me.
Here’s what I discovered. When one’s natural talent connects with one’s God-given charism, that Catholic becomes super-charged.
Look out, because that’s the moment Jesus Christ walks into the room, and He does it by way of you and me! We have received Him in the Eucharist – but in the moment talent and charism collide in the baptized Catholic, Jesus shows up.
The Body of Christ is as unique and diverse as the gifts we’ve been given.
Wow! Stop right there! If your heart rate hasn’t gone up while reading this article, you probably don’t know that you have gifts from God. You probably have never experienced that rush of the Holy Spirit when God speaks to you, saying: This is how I’ve wanted to use you! You received God’s grace at Baptism, and the Holy Spirit sealed you at Confirmation. Jesus feeds you with His Body, and sends you out to use the gifts He’s placed within you. My friend, if you are just going through the motions and you’ve never really had a moment when you knew this is what I was born to do, then you owe it to yourself to do some digging and experimenting until you figure it out. You’ll forget to eat. You’ll feel like someone just plugged you into the power distribution grid. You’ll be super-charged!
So, here’s the mandate. Pray. Study. And start activating your gifts. Mass is over. It’s time to genuflect and meet the world. Go now, and share Christ by activating your gifts!