One Body, Many Gifts!

1 Peter 4:10

As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

The church teaches that there are two kinds of gifts given us by the Holy Spirit in baptism and confirmation.  The first kind are called the sanctifying gifts.  These are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, right judgment, courage, piety, and the fear of the Lord.  These are, so to speak, the gifts you get to keep.  That is, they are gifts that enable you to be conformed to the image of Christ and to be a saint.  The other kind of gifts given us by the Holy Spirit are called “charisms.”  These are the gifts alluded to in 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 5, and Romans 12.  They are gifts given, not so much to you as through you.  That is, they are primarily given to you to use for the sake of others.  Everybody receives, in some measure, all the sanctifying gifts because everybody is intended by God to become a saint.  But not everybody receives all the charisms because not everybody is intended to do the same work.  As St. Paul says, “There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12: 4-7).  This means that you have a gift to give to the church and the world, a gift no one but you can give.  Thank God for the various gifts he has given you. Find a way to both foster God’s sanctifying gifts within your soul while liberally giving away whatever charisms he has bestowed on you so that others may also experience the grace of God.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a Catholic author, blogger, and speaker.

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