A Charismatic New Year Check Up

Author: Fr Pat Collins CM

A Charismatic New Year Check Up

At the start of a new year, Fr. Pat Collins asks about our charismatic health- and suggests ways, with the Holy Spirit's help, to make changes.

We surely need regular spiritual check-ups.  They should look at important aspects of our spiritual lives, with a view to ascertaining what changes might be needed.

A Questionnaire

1. At some point you experienced a spiritual awakening, one that enabled you to have a new, personal awareness of the length and breadth, the height and depth of the unconditional love of Christ for you. Have you had subsequent in-fillings that have strengthened that sense of God’s merciful love?

2. A spiritual awakening is often associated with the granting of the charismatic gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.  If you received one or more of the charisms when you were filled with the Spirit, or afterwards, e.g. the gift of praying in tongues, do you exercise them as much now as you once did?

3. Charismatic spirituality is Scripture based. The Holy Spirit leads those who prayerfully reflect upon it into the truth about God and God’s purposes.  When you read the Scriptures, does the word of God regularly leap alive off the page into your heart with such inner meaning and relevance that it guides your everyday actions? 

4. The exhortation, “Walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), is the key to an inspired Christian ethic. The spiritual guidance required to carry out this injunction can come in different ways, such as an inner prompting, a twinge of conscience, a prophetic word of knowledge etc.  Are you sensitive and docile to such forms of guidance?

5. The gift of discernment of spirits enables you to identify the origin and orientation of your inspirations. Those that come from God, and lead to God, are prompted by the Holy Spirit and are associated with feelings of consolation, such as joy and peace. Those that come from ourselves or the Evil Spirit are associated with feelings of desolation, such as sadness and dissatisfaction. Are you reflective enough to notice what spirits are motivating you?  

6. St Ignatius of Loyola pointed out that God may withdraw the consolation of the Spirit as a result of such things as spiritual laziness, neglect of prayer, lack of effort in resisting temptation, or because the person is focusing on the consolations of God rather than the God of consolation. When you suffer from desolation of spirit, do you prayerfully try to recognise how God is trying to purify you?

7. Genuine religious experience and divine guidance usually lead to a greater sense of inner freedom. As St Paul observed: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17Do you find that, instead of living your life on the basis of cheerless duty, you are increasingly motivated by a joyful sense of inner conviction?

8.  St Paul asked rhetorically in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Do you not realise that Jesus Christ is within you?” Besides being aware of the transcendence of the loving God beyond you, are you also aware of the immanence of Christ’s loving presence within you, enabling you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live in Him all that He Himself lived? 

9.  When you are conscious of the love of God, do you try to see and love in others-especially the poor and the oppressed-what the Lord is seeing and loving in you? Does your love find practical expression in deeds of mercy and action for justice?

10. Those who have a spiritual outlook appreciate the fact that the existence of the world around them, as well as the countless blessings they have received, are all gifts from God.  Moreover, they also believe that evil, both their own and that of others, never has the last word. It belongs to God and it is always a word of blessing. Do you express gratitude always and for everything (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18), by thanking and praising God in all circumstances, good and bad alike?


The check-up proposed here not only intends to help you gauge your charismatic state of health, but also aims to help you to identify what you could do to improve it. However, the questionnaire is experimental and tentative in nature.

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