In my growing up years at a charismatic Catholic parish, with charismatic parents and a charismatic youth group, there was plenty of talk about charisms. I frequently heard and learned about those gifts, talents and strengths the Holy Spirit instills in a person for the sake of serving God and building up the Church. Discerning our charisms is an ongoing process, as is learning how to use them to be Christ’s presence in this world. Parallel with this positive understanding of the gifts we have runs the negative: the understanding of what we don’t have. There are certain charisms with which I am not blessed, particular strengths it’d be helpful to have but the Lord saw fit to withhold from me.
The tricky thing, however, is that lacking an abundance of talent for an aspect of Christian life or service is not an excuse to neglect that aspect. Quite the opposite can be true. In my admittedly limited experience, I’ve found that those areas of weakness are often the ones the Lord will lead you to so that He can mold you into a fuller image of Himself. They become opportunities to depend completely on Him and challenge yourself to serve Him in more uncomfortable ways.
How else can I explain the calls He has placed on my life in the last year or more to be the gracious hostess? Hospitality is not one of my charisms, yet it’s an area of service and love in which I am consistently asked to engage. The Father’s house has many rooms; we each have a place prepared for us there by our very welcoming savior. When I think of the open arms of Christ, I cannot deny how feeble my heart is when it comes to generous hospitality. I like my routines; I prefer times of quiet and solitude; I am easily annoyed by the demands placed on my time and energy by my large family. I could go on but you probably get the picture… and it’s not a picture of Christ.
Lord Jesus, teach me the depths of Your inviting love. Heavenly Father, open my heart like You have opened Your heavenly kingdom.