When we were little, my dad gave us a chance to earn money around Christmas time so that we could buy gifts for others. He called them “Christmas Bucks” and even drew out little dollar bills with funny little pictures on them, cut them out in the shape of monopoly money, and gave them to us as we performed chores and jobs around the house. He would then exchange our Christmas Bucks for real bucks when we cashed out at the register with our items. When we were smaller and went to the store to shop for the gifts, it was a little confusing at first. All of a sudden, Christmas bucks in hand, we would notice a new toy on the shelf that looked enticing. We had to be reminded that the purpose of the Christmas bucks was not to be buying ourselves presents right before Christmas, but instead enable us to experience what it was like to give a gift.
I have been taking a course on the “Charisms”. This word is pronounced “care-isms” which is kinda fun since we use them to care for others as we build Christ’s Kingdom. Charisms are spiritual gifts that are given to us and meant to be given away again and spent on others. We receive them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit at our baptism and confirmation, and they are empowered by God. Charisms are like my dad’s Christmas Bucks…meant to be used to bless someone else.
We know we have a special charism when we feel very much at home in our own skin while using it. We also see a supernatural return on these gifts, with little effort we achieve big results.
What is really cool to me is the fact that God created this “system” of gift-giving that begins with Him, but fully operational when it involves us and others, a cooperation of love. He doesn’t have to go through us to complete His will, but He chooses us to be a part of this giving and receiving of gifts. What an honor. We need each other and we need Him, but the way He chose to animate this love was by making each of us as happy as we can be, because when we use our charism, that is when we feel joy in abundance! Each person has a designated set of gifts and there are some we simply don’t have. This way, none of us get too heady about doing everything ourselves and thinking we got this life under control. I feel the charisms are a gift within a gift. The humility of not having all the tools in our own box reminds us that we were created for one another, to serve God.
If you want to know more about the charisms and learn more about the amazing gifts God has given to you, you can check out these resources!
Catherine of Sienna Institute; “Called and Gifted”; https://siena.org/