Sunday, May 5, 2013

Are the Spiritual Gifts Spoken of in the Bible Still Given to People Today?

With Pentecost just around the corner, it's a question that more of us ought to be asking ourselves.  Jesus is, after all, "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb.13:8).  You know the gifts I am talking about:

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.   All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Cor. 12:7-11)
Far to often I encounter Catholics who disparage charisms - in particular the gift of tongues - as if it is something that "only those Pentecostals do," and it has no place in a "traditional" Catholic's spiritual life.  (Ha - as if you could get more "traditional" than the New Testament!)  It also shows a lack of knowledge regarding the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church."  (CCC 2003)
They also seem completely unaware of the Popes and Bishops' numerous endorsements of the Charismatic Renewal - a movment that has done much to reawaken today's Church to the reality of these charisms.  (Not that I am advocating every practice or prophetic message from someone identifying him or herself as "charismatic" - any more than I do strange practices or messages from people with strong devotions to the Blessed Mother, Vatican II, TOB, etc.)

God does continue to pour out these gifts - in abundance!  And being Catholic - meaning "universal, all-embracing," - we as a Church reach out to embrace all of God's truth and gifts.  As St. Paul wrote, the Lord has appointed shepherds over us to help us, "test everything and hold fast what is good" (1 Thess.5:12-21).

So this Pentecost, why don't we place ourselves before God and ask for the grace to receive whatever gifts the Holy Spirit wants to bestow upon us - even if they outside our comfort zone?  God knows what He is doing!

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