Each and every one of us has been uniquely and creatively gifted to be a vessel through which LOVE is made manifest in our world. In service to this unique giftedness, we have also been blessed with a certain kind of magic which allows these gifts to be used in service to the betterment of the world and in ways that are no less than miraculous. In the Catholic tradition in which I was raised, this magic is referred to as charisms, known in other traditions as spiritual gifts or in the yogic tradition as siddhis.
From the perspective of the Catholic tradition, The Catherine of Siena Institute has identified twenty-six charisms or spiritual gifts:
- Discernment of Spirits
- Intercessory Prayer
- Voluntary Poverty
- Speaking in Tongues
- Interpretation of Tongues
A charism is not, however, to be confused with a gift or a talent. Talents are something we learn. Charisms are something with which we are endowed. The mark of a true charism is in its effortless accomplishment and in its miraculous fruits. When we are engaged in our charism, we find that the work of doing it is effortless and the results are far beyond what we know ourselves to be humanly capable of. The reason for this is that when engaged in our charism, it is not ourselves who are doing the work, but God doing it through us.
In the coming days, we will explore all twenty-six charisms with the goal of helping you to discern your own special brand of magic and how God might be calling you to be a vessel of God’s love in the world.
Today…..we will start with administration, celibacy and craftsmanship.
The Magic of Administration:
If we do not personally possess the magic of administration, we know someone who does. In my pre-entrepreneurial days, I witnessed the greatest examples of the magic of administration in church secretaries. Not limited to those in secretarial roles, the magic of administration is present in those who are gifted to make and execute the logistical plans that make the overall vision happen. Administrators specialize in problem solving and in seeing the forest through the trees. They are detailed, organized and thorough. They have the uncanny ability to see the unmet needs and organizational gaps in a project and are strongly motivated to meet these needs themselves and to assign tasks to those best able to accomplish these tasks while expertly coordinating all the various components in accomplishing the task.
The Magic of Celibacy:
Celibacy is a challenging topic in our Western culture. The most familiar image of celibacy in our Western culture is the vow taken by some men and women as they enter into religious life. Choosing celibacy as part of a religious vow and possessing the charism of celibacy are not necessarily one and the same. Celibacy is also not to be confused with chastity. Celibacy, as a charism, is the ability to live a life without sexual intimacy and marital commitment and to live this lifestyle joyfully. Celibacy as a charism is embraced with the knowledge that absent relational commitments, one is being freed up to focus their attention on another calling, most likely reflected in an additional charism.
The Magic of Craftsmanship:
The charism of craftsmanship is about creative expression that results in the material. Painting, sculpture, cooking, sewing, construction, etc, In craftsmanship, we distinguish a charism from a gift or talent in the way that engaging in this activity deepens our relationship with God (love, peace, joy, contentment) and is a means through which we express that relationship. Is performing our art an outpouring of the love we have come to know in God or as a celebration of that love? Do we find that engaging in our art feels meditative, even prayerful? Is the outcome of engaging in this charism beyond what we believe we are humanly capable of? Does the sharing of our art inspire others to know love, peace or joy? If so, our artistic and creative expressions might be the mark of a charism.
Stay tuned in the coming days for more on charisms and on the invitation for you to discover your own special magic.