To prepare us for our life as member’s of Christ’s Body, we received both the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit and Charisms, Spiritual Gifts, in Baptism and Confirmation.
Please read through this entire page prior to filling out the Spiritual Inventory Form, we also encourage you to be in prayer as you go through your discernment. Come Holy Spirit!
Charisms are Spiritual Gifts that supernaturally empower us to do our part of Christ’s work in the world. They give us the power to act effectively in the loving service of others. Pope Francis catechesis to the general audience in St. Peter’s Square on the charisms that build the Church and make her fruitful conveys well what these profound gifts are for each of us and the life of the Church. . . .
(Vatican City 2014, General Papal Audience). “Ever since the beginning the Lord has filled his Church with the gifts of His Spirit, making her forever alive… and among these gifts, we find some that are particularly valuable for the edification and the progress of the Christian community: these are charisms,” said the bishop of Rome, explaining that in everyday language we often refer to “charisma” in relation to a talent or natural ability. However, from a Christian point of view, a charism is far more than a personal quality, a predisposition or a gift: it is a grace, a gift from God the Father, by the action of the Holy Spirit, so that with the same gratuitous love, it may be placed at the service of the entire community, for the good of all.
On the other hand, Pope Francis emphasized that, alone, it is impossible to understand whether or not one has received a charism of what form it takes, as it is within a community that we learn to recognize them as a sign of the Father’s Love for all of His sons and daughters. It is therefore good for us to ask ourselves, “Has the Lord made a charism issue forth in me, in the grace of His Spirit, that my brothers in the Christian community have recognized and encouraged? And how do I act, in relation to this gift: do I experience it with generosity, placing it at the service of all, or do I neglect it and end up forgetting about it? Or does it perhaps become a pretext for pride, so that I expect the community to do things my way?”
“The most beautiful experience, however, is discovering how many different charisms there are, and with how many gifts of the Spirit the Father fills His Church. This must not be regarded as a cause for confusion or unease: they are all gifts that God gives to the Christian community, so that it might grow harmoniously, in faith and in His Love, like one body, the body of Christ. The same Spirit that grants this diversity of charisms also constructs the unity of the Church.” He warned, “Beware, lest these gifts become a cause for envy, division or jealousy! As the apostle Paul recalls in his First Letter to the Corinthians, all charisms are important in the eyes of God, and the same time, no-one is indispensable. This means that in the Christian community everyone needs the other, and every gift received is fully realized when it is shared with brothers, for the good of all. This is the Church! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, is expressed in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei (truth of the Gospel), of that supernatural sense of faith, that is given by the Holy Spirit so that together we can enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life.”
Pope Francis went on to recall that day, the Church commemorates St. Therese of Lisieux, who died at the age of 24 and “loved the Church so much that she wanted to be a missionary; she wanted to have every sort of charism. And in prayer she realized that her charism was love. She said, ‘In the heart of the Church, I will be love’ a beautiful phrase. And we all have this charism: the capacity to love. Today let us ask St. Therese of the Child Jesus for this capacity to love the Church, to love her dearly, and to accept all these charisms with this filial love for the Church, for our hierarchical holy mother Church.”
7 GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When identifying and developing our charisms, we shouldn’t overlook the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. They aren’t just abstract terms we had to memorize for Confirmation! Not only does understanding them make it easier to distinguish them from our charisms, they are in themselves more helpful, empowering, and practically beneficial than charisms!
The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit are primarily given to us for our own sakes: they give us the power to overcome the human failings we possess and in fact to exceed even our noblest natural capabilities so that we can truly participate in the life and mission of Christ Himself. This is why they are called gifts of “sanctifying grace.” They sanctify us–conform us to Christ–so that we can see and act as Jesus would. Take a look.
WISDOM draws us to divine things and disposes us to appreciate and value them. It moves us to reflect on dogmas of belief, makes dwelling on divine truth a joy, and encourages us to judge all things according to their principles.
UNDERSTANDING empowers our minds to grasp revealed truths. It gives us insight into the meaning of what we believe, where faith merely assents to what God has revealed.
KNOWLEDGE allows us to rightly judge the place of created things, especially those that come between God and us.
COUNSEL empowers us to choose and act successfully in concrete situations. It builds on understanding of revealed truth and knowledge of the relative value of created things, applying these to life. With Counsel, we can transcend the limited ability of our natural reason to grasp all the facets of a situation, without distortion. Counsel supernaturally empowers the virtue of prudence, the ability to see reality clearly and respond swiftly to realize the good.
FORTITUDE is inspired courage provided by the Holy Spirit so that we can persevere in the service of God despite all evils and dangers that oppose us, including our own vulnerability to physical suffering, emotional weakness, and fallible thinking. Fortitude gives us resolve and an indomitable spirit, allowing us to take up the most difficult tasks and endure long and trying difficulties.
PIETY gives us the ability to “worship in Spirit and in truth,” by instilling in us deep respect and reverence for God the Father, and for our fellow humans as his sons and daughters. It gives us a filial attitude that facilitates worship and prayer, and strengthens our ability to act with justice toward others.
FEAR OF THE LORD gives us a profound respect for the power and magnificence of God, and makes sin disgusting to us because it offends Him. We see how good God is, how wise, how just, how true, how excellent, how beautiful, and as His children and representatives we fear obscuring that glory with our own thoughts, words, and deeds. (Based on CCC 128601395, 1831; The Catholic Catechism by John Hardon, SJ, p. 200-205, 518-520.)
All of these seven gifts are promised to every Christian; so it’s important to distinguish between the normal Christian experience of a sanctifying gift and that of a charism. Every Christian can expect to experience the sanctifying gift of Wisdom, which makes it delightful to learn and apply God’s truth to our lives. However, not every Christian will receive the remarkable insight and ability to help others solve problems and make decisions that marks the charism of Wisdom. Unlike the charisms, each of the 7 Gifts is meant to benefit us directly and personally. But they can help us develop our charisms, because their main effect is to dispose us to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Pray for them; you’re entitled to them by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation, and they truly help us become clearer conduits for our spiritual gifts.
After reading the above, please go ahead and fill out the Spiritual Inventory Form.
Once you get your results return to this page to proceed to the next step.
Read the FAQs below on discerning charisms.
WHAT IS A CHARISM OR SPIRITUAL GIFT?
Charism is simply the Greek word used in the New Testament for “favor” or “gratuitous gift.” Charisms, or spiritual gifts, are special abilities given to Christians by the Holy Spirit to enable them to be powerful channels of God’s love and redeeming presence in the world. Whether extraordinary or ordinary, charisms are to be used in charity or service to build up the Church (CCC 2003).
HOW DO CHARISMS OR SPIRITUAL GIFTS DIFFER FROM NATURAL TALENTS?
Charisms, or spiritual gifts, differ from natural talents in two important ways. Charisms are not “in-born” or inherited from our parents, but are given to us by the Holy Spirit, whom we received through the sacraments of initiation–through Baptism and Confirmation. Charisms are also supernaturally empowered. They are focused outward and enable Christians to bear results for the Kingdom of God above and beyond our normal human abilities.
As disciples, we offer our entire selves, including our personalities, natural talents, education, life experience, and background to God to be used for his purpose. Our natural talents can become wonderful tools for God’s purposes, and sometimes an already existing natural gift is transformed by the Holy Spirit into a supernaturally empowered charism. But when we serve God, we are not limited to just the gifts with which we were born! Some charisms may seem “extraordinary” (such as prophecy, healing, or discernment of spirits) and others quite “ordinary” (such as administration, service, hospitality, or mercy), but all charisms are supernaturally empowered. We use our charisms together with our natural talents and all that we are to serve God and our neighbor.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 7 GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT FOUND IN ISAIAH 11, THE FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT LISTED IN GALATIAN 5 AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS (CHARISMS)?
There are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we are given to KEEP and gifts we are given to GIVE AWAY. The traditional 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit and the “fruits” of the Spirit are gift given to us to KEEP. They are part of our inner transformation as Christians and provide the inner “Christ-likeness” necessary for the effective use of our charisms (CCC 1830-1832).
Charisms, on the other hand, are gifts give to us to GIVE AWAY. Charisms are focused outward; they are especially empowered ways by which God’s love and goodness reaches our neighbor through us.
IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN UNDERSTANDING WHAT CHARISMS I HAVE BEEN GIVEN AND DISCERNING MY VOCATION OR MISSION IN LIFE?
Every Christian has a vocation or “mission” in life, a work of love through which each individual is called to follow Jesus and for which each individual was created (Ephesians 4:7-16). Since we’re all on a mission from God, we all need the power of God to be able to accomplish our mission! Charisms are both TOOLS given to disciples so that they are able to accomplish their mission and important CLUES as to what their mission in life might be.
IF I HAVE A SPIRITUAL GIFT OR CHARISM, WHY DON’T I KNOW IT?
Permanent or long-term charisms need to be discovered and developed, just like natural gifts. The reason most Catholics don’t know about their charisms is because they haven’t been taught about the need to discern and develop them. Since the Second Vatican Council, there has been a greater emphasis in official Church teaching on the individual mission or vocation of every baptized Christian and on the role of the Holy Spirit and of charisms in enabling Christians to live their vocations effectively. Once we recognize the need to discern and exercise our charisms, the Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory can be a useful tool to hep us in that process.
HOW CAN AN INVENTORY HELP ME DISCERN MY CHARISMS?
The inventory can help you pinpoint the best places to BEGIN your discernment. Discerning our charisms is a process that takes time. Becoming clear about the gifts we have been given can take weeks or months, since we are seeking to understand the ways in which God seems to regularly use us for His Kingdom.
Discernment of Charisms
It is important to remember: Taking the inventory is only a beginning step in a long process. It is to help you begin to identify patterns in your life, but it is intended to be used only as part of a more extensive discernment process.
Getting a high score in “encouragement” or “prophecy” doesn’t necessarily mean that you have actually been given that charism. It is indicating that you may have that charism or one like it and is simply identifying an area for further discernment.
The 5 Steps of Discernment
- EXPLORE the Possibilities
-What a charism IS.
-What it LOOKS LIKE.
-How it FUNCTIONS.
-How it FEELS.
-Charisms are REAL and OBJECTIVE
-Not discerned in the abstract
-Discernment through ACTION
-DO IT and see what happens
- EXAMINE your Experience
-Expresses relationship with God
-Prayerful or Contemplative
- EVALUATE your Effectiveness
-Does what it’s supposed to do
-Acknowledge mediocre or poor results
- Expect CONFIRMATION from other
The 3 Signs of a Charism
Here are the 3 basic signs to look for. You will refer to these often so it is wise to know them.
- An unmistakable inner experience of peace, energy and joy when you’re using the gift
- Unusually effective and successful results in what you’re trying to accomplish
- Other people’s direct or indirect recognition of the gift’s presence.
When all 3 above are assessed honestly wherein you can say that your inner experience, actual results and others’ responses all point to a specific gift, you can move forward under the assumption that you’ve discerned the presence of a charism. On the inverse, if any of these 3 remains missing after you’ve thoroughly experimented with the gift over a significant period of time, you can rest confidently that God is not calling you in that way.
SUCCESS IS RECOGNIZING WHERE YOU ARE GIFTED & WHERE YOU ARE NOT GIFTED
With your results on hand, take a look at the areas below where the expressions of the charisms manifests itself.
Contact the respective ministry to sign up for the Ministry which you are discerning that God is calling you to.