Day 8 – The Spirit Empowers Us to Serve Others
Today, we will focus on these service gifts. Service gifts, or 'Charisms', are by nature other-focused instead of self-serving. Please note that these are not the same as the seven 'Sanctifying Gifts' (Isaiah 11) that we received in Baptism and Confirmation.
While those seven sanctifying gifts are meant to make us holy by completing and perfecting the virtues of those who receive them (cf. CCC 1830-1831), service gifts are meant to be used for serving others, and in doing so, lead others to Christ in a way that is beyond our natural human abilities.
While there are only seven sanctifying gifts, there are a great variety of service gifts that the Spirit can give us. These charisms are freely and uniquely given to each of us, rather than the same set of gifts being given to everyone. The Spirit distributes these gifts according to our roles, missions and needs. There are service gifts that are extraordinary in nature, for example, miracles, prophecies, healing, tongues, etc., or seemingly ordinary gifts, such as, hospitality, encouragement, pastoring, teaching, etc., that, when exercised, are supernaturally empowered and effective in bringing about God's love and purposes.
"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 discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues."
It is important to note that charisms are not indicators of how holy we are, no matter how spectacular it seems when we exercise those charisms. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord and follow the prompting of the Spirit, we learn to become more effective channels of God’s power and love for others. As gifts, charisms cannot be acquired through our own efforts. Instead, we should discover the gifts that the Lord has already given us.
By discovering, discerning and putting into practice the unique combination of service gifts that the Spirit has given us, we can fulfill the missions that God has called us to accomplish.
As charisms are gifts and not indications of our accomplishments or level of holiness, we should not be shy to ask for gifts should there be needs in a community that are not fulfilled. It is not prideful for us to ask the Spirit for gifts in order to serve others, nor does it imply that we are not content with the gifts we have already been given. St. Paul said,
"Make love your aim and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts."
What St. Paul was teaching us is that as long as we are motivated by love, that we sincerely desire to serve others out of love instead of for personal gain, we should ask the Spirit for more gifts.
God willing, He will grant us the gifts we need to serve others and let them experience His great love and power.
After all, St. Paul told us that we are in the same Body of Christ. God does not entrust us with individual missions that are disconnected from other members of the community. We are not called to work on individual projects. Just as body parts are given unique abilities to function well to serve the whole body, the missions and functions assigned to us are part of the bigger picture, the shared vision to build the Kingdom of God within the cities of men.
There is no differentiation of classes or ranks within this One Body. We are all equal in God's eyes. Flowing through the Body is LOVE. It is Love, who is the Spirit, that bonds us together!
Jesus, being the Head and the Commander in Chief, gives orders to us according to the Father's will. Everyone works with the rest of the members in harmony, with respect and love for one another.
The Holy Spirit acts like the nerves, or communication system within the body, carrying the signals from the head to each of us, and like the circulatory system, bringing us the necessary nourishment to sustain us in life through trials and tribulations, or even persecutions.
If we detach ourselves from the body, which consists of the head and other body parts, not only will the whole body be affected because of our functions not being fulfilled, but we ourselves will also wither and die eventually. Staying connected to the Church and being docile to the Spirit are signs of our Love for Christ.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing."
Do I tend to work on my own projects, or do I see myself as part of a bigger community?
Do I desire more service gifts from the Holy Spirit in order for me to serve others more effectively?
Dear Holy Spirit, You have opened my eyes and widened my vision to see the bigger picture of how the Father wants to use us to build His Kingdom on earth. I have mostly enclosed myself to work on my own things. Grant me a more generous heart and a desire to serve others with a pure intention of love. O Holy Spirit, send me out to serve others as Jesus would like me to do! I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen!
Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.
My beloved child, thank you for opening yourself up for the possibilities of Christ in you. Nothing is impossible for me. As you allow me to work in and through you, you will be amazed how much more you can accomplish and how you can be used in ways you have never imagined. Trust in me as I believe in you! I love you always!
Novena to the Holy Spirit:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, and console me. Tell me what to do, direct my every choice. I promise to submit myself to all you desire of me and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will. Grant this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Day Eight Receiving the Spirit "Submission" Hebrews 12:9: If we respected our earthly fathers who corrected us, should we not all the more submit to the Father of spirits and live? Romans 5:3-5: More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Meditation: I believe that complete surrender of my life to God is the foundation to serenity. God has prepared for us many mansions.I do not look upon that promise as referring only to the after-life. I do not look upon this life as something to be struggled through in order to get the rewards of the next life.I believe that the kingdom of God has begun within us and we can enjoy eternal life here and now.
Prayer for the Day: I come before you on my knees Lord, for I believe in my heart that you raised Jesus from the dead and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord of my life.Lord, you promised that as many as receive you, you give them the power to become children of God, who are born of God. In submission to you, I receive you as Lord, and I pray to be filled continually with your Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ the Lord.Amen.
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
Sincerely invite you to share the reflections that inspires you by this day's retreat.
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