Gifted and Sent

Author: Fr Chris Thomas

Picture: Pixabay

Gifted and Sent

Fr Chris Thomas reflects on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their importance in the life of the believer.

My first Life in the Spirit Seminar took place twelve months after I had been spontaneously baptised in the Spirit. I was sixteen and struggling to make sense of what had happened to me and the seemingly strange gifts I had experienced.

The seminar enabled me to put a language on my experience and helped me to realise that I was not crazy. I had known, since my encounter with the Lord, that there was no going back and that what I had received had empowered me to live life and to serve, but the seminar really helped.

As the years have gone by, I have recognised more and more that, when God’s Spirit is at work, God’s gifts will be manifested. That has always been true throughout the history of the Church.The great saints of the Church allowed the gifts of the Spirit to be present.

They exercised gifts of wisdom and fortitude, but they also, at times, exercised the charismatic gifts of prophecy, tongues, discernment of spirits and words of knowledge.

A Mighty Outpouring of the Spirit

In these days, God has blessed the Church with a mighty outpouring of the Spirit. Catholic Charismatic Renewal is that part of the Church which reminds the rest of the Church that these charismatic gifts are still a reality.

In the early church, Paul told the Corinthians to earnestly desire the gifts of the Spirit. Why should one desire the gifts? Because they build up the body of Christ. 

Words of knowledge, prophecy, gifts of healing give tangible evidence of the presence of God, as does the greatest gift of all: the gift of love, who is the Spirit. When we receive the Spirit at Baptism, all of the gifts are given to us. The Spirit cannot be separated from the gifts. Often we need to have those gifts activated, but they are within us nonetheless.

Baptism In The Spirit and the Gifts

Baptism in the Spirit is what activates these gifts. It is then that God can, and will, use those gifts in order to build up the Body of Christ.

There have been times when I have used one or more of the gifts as I minister to people. I have experienced prophetic gifts, healing gifts, preaching gifts flowing out from me to bring life and peace to others.

I think that’s the experience that most people have after the Baptism in the Spirit-the gifts we need are supplied at particular times.

There are some people who seem to be used in a particular way more often than any other. They could be said to have a ministry in this area. Sr Briege McKenna, for example, has been led into a ministry of healing. She has all the other gifts, and uses them, but is led particularly in the area of healing.

All are called, all are gifted

There is a general giftedness that we all have and which God can use, as well as a particular gifting that some are called to specifically which God also uses. One is not better than the other and both are costly.

After over forty years of being open to and aware of the Spirit, I recognise that all of us in the Church are called. All are gifted with what we need and all are sent to proclaim the truth of God’s love into a broken, hungry world.

The gifts of the Spirit may work through us at times, or we may be called to minister a particular gift most of the time. That is God’s business.  All we have to do is to be open to being used and open to letting God loose within us, and within those to whom we minister.

  • This article originally appeared in Good News magazine.

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