WE PRAY “Come Holy Spirit!” So when the Spirit comes, what does it look like?
The icon of this coming is the Upper Room: an infusion of grace, power, authority, wisdom, prudence, counsel, knowledge, understanding, fortitude and fear of the Lord.
But we see something else as well… something the Church has often failed to recognize: the release of charisms in the Body. The Greek word Paul used for charism means “favor” or “benefit.” These include the gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy, discernment of spirits, administration, mighty deeds, and interpretation of tongues among others.
Let us be clear: these are charismatic gifts–not “the Charismatic’s gifts”. They do not belong to a single group or movement within the Church, but belong in proper to the whole Christian community. Too often, we have sent the gifts into the church basement where they are safely hidden in the confines of the prayer meeting of a few.
What great loss this is to the community! What paralysis this has brought about in the Church! These charisms, Paul tells us, are for the building up of the Body (cf. 1 Cor 12, 14:12). If that is so, tell me, what happens when the human body stops moving on a hospital bed? The person’s muscles become atrophied–limp, weak, and powerless.
So too, our failure to appropriate the charisms of the Holy Spirit has led to a Church which has fallen asleep on its side, unable to turn over and show the face of Christ to a hurting world. Our parishes have atrophied; our youth have lost interest; and those gifts intended to build us up remain hidden beneath the dust of our Baptism.
Indeed, Come Holy Spirit–come and re-enkindle in us your seven-fold gifts and bountiful charisms, for the glory of God, the renewal of the Church, and the conversion of the world.
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. –Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2003