- It is having a charm or special appeal.
- Charismatic is used to describe Christian religious groups whose members believe that they can communicate directly with God to receive help and guidance and the power to heal others.
- Charisma is a special power that some people have naturally that makes them able to influence other people and attract their attention and admiration.
Catholic Charismatic Renewal
- The Church has never lacked charisms to build it up, both ordinary and extraordinary.
- It is an undoubtable fact that in the 1070s having influenced by the Pentecostals, Catholics initiated a renewal movement called, “The Charismatic Renewal as a movement”. Out of necessity, two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II recognized such movement and encourage the faithful to remain anchored in the Church.
Blessed Pope Paul VI
- Speaking to the International Conference on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal on May 19, 1975 Pope Paul VI said: “This authentic desire to situate yourselves in the Church is the authentic sign of the action of the Holy Spirit…”
To Renew the World – How could this ‘spiritual renewal’ not be a chance for the Church and the world? And how, in this case could one not take all the means to ensure that it remains so…
St. Pope John Paul II
- Pope J P II, said to a group of international leaders of the Renewal on December 11, 1979, said,
“I am convinced that this movement is a very important component of the entire renewal of the Church.”
- …As Lord’s own Action
- Giving his own life experience of being “charismatic” since childhood he added,
“…I can understand all these charisms. They are all part of the richness of the Lord. I am convinced that this movement is a sign of his action.”
Pope Benedict XVI = Being in communion with the Church
- What is the relation between personal experience and the common faith of the Church? Both factors are important: a dogmatic faith unsupported by personal experience remains empty; mere personal experience unrelated to the faith of the Church remains blind.
- … to those responsible for the ecclesiastical ministry – from parish priests to bishops – not to let the renewal pass them by but to welcome it fully; and on the other (hand) … to the members of the renewal to cherish and maintain their link with the whole Church and with the charisms of their pastors.
- A charism is simply “a grace freely given by God to build up the Church,” as opposed to the graces given to sanctify the individual.
- As charisms St. Paul includes, ordinary charisms like teaching and administration and extraordinary ones like healing, miracles, and tongues. These things by themselves don’t make the person holier, rather they enable him or her to serve others. (Cor. 12)
- Whether these charisms be very remarkable or more simple and widely diffused, they are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation since they are fitting and useful for the needs of the Church.
- Extraordinary gifts are not to be rashly desired nor is it from them that the fruits of apostolic labors are to be presumptuously expected. Those who have charge over the Church should judge the genuine-ness and proper use of these gifts, through their office, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit but to test all things and hold fast to what is good (cf. 1 Thes. 5:12, 19- 21). [Lumen Gentium12]
Characteristics of Authentic Charisms
- Not to crave for Charismatic gifts, but rather seek the Giver of the gifts.
- These special gifts of the Lord should lead the recipient to a deeper the love for the Church—to a greater devotion to the Eucharist, Blessed Mother and Saints and to the Holy Father.
- Gift by its very nature does not give the person any infallibility or sanctity, rather using that gift the person should strive to make oneself holy.
- The possessor of the gift should guard the purity of their faith, detest from pride, self-seeking and emotionalism that could lead themselves and others astray.
- When properly used, the gifts will bring immense good to the individual and to the whole church.
- Charismatic gifts may also bring test of faith to the individuals as seen in the life of many saints… Padre Pio, St. Anthony, St. John Bosco and others.
- While some gifts were purely from the Lord, others are built upon nature—on the natural talents of the individuals. They are gratuitous gift from the Lord, whom ever He chooses.
- St. Paul in 1 Cor. 13 connects the charisms to the Theological Virtues—Faith, Hope and Charity. For St. Paul Charity is the greatest of the gifts.
- Charity unites our mind to the will of God. Only by charity we can understand the mind of God and be able do His will.
- Charity can be developed by all… hence all of us can possess Charismatic gifts– of love.
- It is only the divine power of the Holy Spirit that turns our gifts of nature into Charisms. If we use of gifts for our personal gains we merely become agents of the world or even the evil one. Because many evil men possessed great gifts, that led to destruction.
- Many spiritual writers, such as the mystical doctor St. John of the Cross, warn us not to seek such extraordinary phenomenon.
- Saints like St. John Bosco, gave up some gifts when they became hindrance to their spiritual growth. Hence it is importance to discern them with faith and prayer.
- There is a need for regular/daily renewal in the Spirit. The discernment of the Holy Spirit’s action is an ongoing necessity within the Church and within the Charismatic Renewal.
- When we are not in communion with the Spirit of God, the devil will use us and use our gifts for his own evil acts misleading us and misleading the Faithful through us.
Discernment of the Spirit
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
The Church is an extension of the mystery of the Incarnation, the Spirit of God would never lead one away from the Catholic Church or Her teachings. Similarly, the Spirit of God would never lead one away from the practice of the faith (morally, devotionally, sacramentally).
It is important to be in union with the Church and we cannot faulter.
- “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt. 7:21-23).
- Knowing God’s will and walking by it, which could be against our own will is the real test of our charism. When we go according to our whims and fancies we begin to abuse God’s gift and the Spirit of God will no more be with us.
- The gifts of God will only be beneficial to the people of God only when the possessor of the gift is holy and uses it for God’s glory.
- As the Spirit of God is active in the Church, it is very easy to know who is doing the will of God and who is making use of the gifts of God for God’s people and God’s glory.
- Prudent study of Catholic theology and tradition will reveal to us which are the gifts that are in line with God’s will and are beneficial to the God’s people.
- God in his own time will reveal to his children his ways, for we cannot be fighting God and his Church.
- The fruits will reveal to us the true gifts.