Orchestrating the different gifts

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

We know that the Church is both hierarchical and charismatic in nature. As charismatic, the Church continues to receive from God through Christ in the Holy Spirit special gifts and charisms to keep the Church strong, vibrant and faithful. These gifts and charisms are first given to certain persons who have to try their best to live out those charisms for the good of the whole Church.

To be sure, these gifts and charisms are not meant only for the persons who are the direct recipients of such gifts and charisms, nor for the institutions that are inspired by these charisms. These gifts and charisms are meant for the whole Church.

While each gift and charism has its distinctive character and purpose, and those involved with it should be faithful to it, it has to be understood also that no gift and charism can stand on its own alone. It has to refer itself to the hierarchy of the Church and to the other gifts and charisms that the whole Church has received.

Between the hierarchical and the charismatic aspects of the Church, the former has dominance over the latter, since it is the hierarchical aspect that Christ established in a visible way from the Church’s foundation, while the latter, though already present in the beginning of the Church, is largely invisible and therefore needs to be acknowledged and regulated by the former.

This means that those involved with these special gifts and charisms should submit themselves to the Church hierarchy. They should also try their best to relate themselves to those of the other gifts and charisms in the Church, so that a certain synergy can be achieved among them for the good of the whole Church. What should be avoided is to have an individualistic and isolationist outlook, and to fall into petty rivalries, envies and fault-finding among themselves.

This way, they live out what St. Paul said about the different parts of the body that work together under the same spirit for the good of the body. These are his words: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Rom 12,4-8)

Obviously, the hierarchy has the great responsibility not only of supervising and encouraging those with these special gifts and charisms, but also and more importantly of orchestrating all these gifts and charisms so that the ideal synergy can be achieved among all of them for the good of the Church.

The practical implications of this concern can be that those in the hierarchy should develop the keen interest in knowing more about each of these special gifts and charisms, spending time with those involved, knowing and monitoring the developments in those charism-inspired institutions, etc.

Those of the hierarchy obviously have many things on their plate, but this fact does not excuse them from their grave responsibility toward those with special gifts and charisms. They have to have a pro-active attitude toward them, an attitude that should be nourished in their prayers and sacrifices.

They certainly have to thoroughly study about how to orchestrate these different gifts and charisms, always asking for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

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