Charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 799)
What are these charisms?
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 lists them as: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the effecting of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, various kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
1.Tongues: Speaking in an unlearned language by the power of the Holy Spirit. This can be a personal prayer or a word from the Lord for a group. If for others, it must be interpreted.
2. Interpretation of Tongues: Gives the meaning of the words spoken in tongues. Prophecy can be given through tongues and interpretation.
3. Prophecy: Words given by God to build up, console, and encourage His people. They can be given in the common language or in tongues with interpretation. See 1 Corinthians 14:1-19.
4.Word of Knowledge: Illuminates and enlightens us beyond our human ability, giving us new insight and clarity into a matter. It can seem at times that Jesus is actually the one who is teaching or speaking on a matter.
5. Word of Wisdom: A timely word of counsel that helps us know what to do in the current situation. Often, it gives us information that we would not ordinarily know in the natural.
6. Discerning of Spirits: Being able to distinguish the spirit influencing a person, place, or situation. Is it God, the human spirit, or a demonic spirit?
7. Faith: This is more than the fruit of faith we all receive as Christians. The charism of faith is having absolute certainty, beyond any doubt, that no matter how long it takes or how impossible it seems God’s words will come to pass.
8: Gifts of Healings: The ability to see people healed as a result of prayer. This can be instantaneous or take some time. It can be in any area of life; physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental, to name a few.
9. Working of Miracles: A charism that calls God’s powerful intervention into a situation that is humanly impossible to fix.
These charisms are given to us so that we may share them. We are to freely give them away in a spirit of love for the glory of God. They are not to be used for personal gain or to draw attention to ourselves. We must be willing to submit our gifts to those in authority in the church and learn how to be formed in them. Being around others in the church who operate in these gifts is a good way to grow in using them to serve others.
A Few Last Things:
Charisms Are Not Signs of Holiness
The charisms are not signs of holiness or spiritual maturity. People newly Baptized in the Spirit often show signs of their charisms. God uses willing vessels and when we first come to Him we are often broken and have a lot of messes in our lives. As we walk with God these things get cleaned up. Spiritual maturity is better discerned by the fruits that are in a person’s life than by the charisms. Both Jesus (Cor. 7:20-23) and Paul (1 Cor 13) tell us this.
Charisms don’t mean we have “arrived”
We may feel like we are on top of the mountain when we encounter God, but the truth is that God’s Kingdom is so much bigger than the mountain top and we have a lot of people to serve in the valley below, so we don’t get to stay there. He sends us back down the mountain where we get bumps, scrapes, and bruises. It takes only a short time to see our own needs and realize that we have just as many as the people we are serving.
They Are Meant to Serve the Body
So, go ahead! Find others who share your passion to serve the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. Many churches have prayer groups or other resources to point you in the right direction!
Here is a resource to get you started:
National Service Committee *Be sure to scroll down the page to the search boxes.