January 20, 2010

Grace from Outside Ourselves

Let's continue digging into Paul's words from this Sunday's reading (1 Cor 12:4-11). In part, the reading tells us that:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit....
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. (1 Cor 12:4-6, 11)
Already, we've learned from Paul that each of us is given different gifts, each according to God's will. You may have more gifts or fewer. Your gifts may be more or less visible, or seem more or less grand. They are all given by God for God's purpose.

The footnotes for this passage in the New American Bible point out that "all are gifts (charismata), grace from outside ourselves". Further, the Catechism tells us that these charisms are one of the ways that we know the Holy Spirit [688], who it calls "the artisan of God's works". [741]

God in His love for us gives these special graces, or charisms. [2003] Yes, they are given directly for doing God's work ("leitourgia" or "liturgy", meaning service in public). While being able to do God's will, to take part in fulfilling His plan, is a great gift, it is hard for us, at times, to see it as such. Instead, what is suggested by the Catechism, above, is perhaps easier for us to see. These charisms given us help us know the Holy Spirit. We see the artist in the brushstrokes made in our lives and on our own souls.

When we use our gifts well, we not only serve God and build up the Church [2003], but also communicate with Him. We deepen our relationship by using what His love has gifted us; we open the flue a bit more and urge on the fire of the Holy Spirit inside us.

Today, think about your skills, knowledge, and circumstances. All these good things are gifts from God. Identify one today that you can use more directly in God's service. If you aren't certain, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you to new ways to use your particular charisms, your special graces, to serve Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment