Grace to you!
To wrap up our discussions on grace, we reflect on the fourth group of the functions of God’s grace in the soul, namely special graces or charisms. We have already reflected on the nature of grace in general focusing on sanctifying grace (deifying grace or habitual grace also known as grace of justification), actual grace and sacramental grace.
Those in the religious life tend to have a deeper understanding of special graces or charisms. Charisms shouldn’t be understood in the exclusive sense of charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, which Saint Paul richly talked about in I Corinthians 12. They are part of it. In addition, there are special graces for special ministries in the Church. Religious founders, for instance, receive those graces; hence, their religious orders.
Special graces or charisms are a unique calling within a calling. It’s that which makes us realize and live our unique gifts and special contributions for the growth of the Church and the glory of God. Those in the monastery have the special grace of being intercessors for the world. Many religious nuns have special charisms of attending to the poor, the homeless, the needy, etc.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes it this way: “There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning "favor," "gratuitous gift," "benefit." Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues—charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church (1 Cor 12)” (CCC, 2003).
Having read many of the masters of Christian spirituality and having interacted with many who are deeply involved in the spiritual life, in addition to my personal experience, it seems to me that recognizing our charisms and using them are key to a life of happiness. I understand many don’t know their charisms and others rarely use their charisms. Blessed are those who know and use their charisms.
Charisms are granted by the Holy Spirit through the different channels of grace the Lord has provided for the Church. They flow from the sacraments and the Word of God and are constantly nourished by a regular life of prayer. Pray more and see how your gifts will crystalize.
Like the grace of service, charisms help to build the body of Christ (see Ephesians 4:12; I Corinthians 12:7).
Consider what happens when someone who has the charism of healing prayed for your sick relative and she regained her health. Wouldn’t your family be edified? Or when you are struggling with indecision, and through the charism of discernment granted to a fellow believer, you find a clearer vision of God’s plan in your life. Wouldn’t this edify your spirit?
We have to be certain of this, and I think I have mentioned it before, God in Christ supplies all the graces we need for our salvation and to live a happy, joyful life here on earth. We come to Jesus, the child whose birth we celebrate tomorrow, for the graces we need for a joyful life.
Hence, on this last day of Advent and the last day of our reflections on grace, may we come before the Infant Jesus with gratitude, asking him to fill our hearts with his love and all the graces we need to be joyful, enthused and dynamic believers in our today’s world. So the world, seeing our good works, will give glory to the Father in heaven. Amen.
Thank you for journeying with me through these twenty-eight days of Advent as we reflected on grace. I hope you found the thoughts edifying. Please pray for me, so I will continue to come to Jesus, listening and following. Pray for our ministry of evangelisation too, that God will continue to grant the graces we need to keep on for his glory. If the Lord inspires you to support our mission, please see this link on how you can do so.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.