Pope Francis has urged faithful to use the Holy Spirit’s gifts, received as God’s children and which nourish and enrich the Church and promote unity.
Speaking to thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square at this morning’s weekly General Audience, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Church, turning to the Spirit’s gifts, especially its charisms, which are “freely bestowed” on the faithful and “benefit the whole community.”
Asking the crowd “What, exactly, is a charism?” and “How can we recognize and receive it?” he explained that the notion of a charism is often misunderstood.
“In ordinary language,” the Pontiff explained, “when there is talk of a ‘charism,’ it is often understood as a talent, as a natural ability. So, in face of a particularly brilliant and moving person, it is usually said: ‘He’s a charismatic person.’”
Yet, Francis clarified, “in the Christian perspective, ‘charisma’ is more than a personal quality,” for the charism is “a grace, a gift bestowed by God the Father, through the action of the Holy Spirit,” and is “given to someone not because he is more good than others or because it is deserved: it is a gift that God does.”
While these gifts are granted to individuals, the Holy Father stressed, they “are discovered and acknowledged within the wider ecclesial community.”
Signifying God’s immeasurable love for his children, Francis added, the charisms are rich and varied. “Each is meant to serve the building up of the Church as a communion of faith and love,” which, he continued, means they must be shared “generously for the good of all,” and are never to “become a reason for envy and division.”
The “most beautiful” experience, the Holy Father underlined, “is to discover with how many different charisms and with how many gifts of his Spirit, the Father fills His Church!”
“This must not be seen as a reason for confusion, for embarrassment,” he highlighted, because they are all gifts that God makes to the Christian community, in order for it to “grow harmoniously, in faith and in His love, as one body, the body of Christ.”
“See what the Lord asks of us today,” Francis urged, “to recognize with joy and gratitude the different charisms that He distributes in the community.”
In the face of this multiplicity of charisms, the Pope said, “Our heart must open to joy and we must think, ‘What a beautiful thing!’ So many different gifts, because we are all God’s children and all loved in a unique way.’”
To this end, Pope Francis called on those gathered to “consider the special gifts” they have personally received, imploring them to use those gifts to advance the Church’s unity, life, and mission.
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