and Ministries of the Holy Spirit
The Greek term charism or charisma denotes any
good gift that flows from God's benevolent love (charis) unto man, by the power of
the Holy Spirit. The plural is charisms or charismata.
In fact, all good things we have, material or spiritual, are charisms or gifts of God: The sun, air, our body, our soul, relatives, neighbors, animals,
any Divine grace or favor, ranging from redemption and life
eternal to comfort in communing with brethren in the Faith (Rom.5:15-16, 6:23, 11:29).
In ordinary life, we say a person is charismatic because he
has a certain quality which attracts people to his personality.
The spiritual gifts or charisms of the Holy Spirit are of two kinds:
The first, are specially intended for the sanctification of the
person who receives them: The seven gifts of Is 11:2-3: Wisdom, understanding, counsel,
fortitude, knowledge, piety (godliness), and fear of the Lord.
The second, more properly called
charismata or charisms, are
extraordinary gifts granted for the help of another, for service to the Church, except the
"gift of tongues" which is "to strengthen oneself" (1Cor.14:4).
Some of these, are enumerated by St. Paul in 1Cor.12. They are 9:
"The word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the grace of healing, the working
of miracles, prophecy, the discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, interpretation
of tongues" (I Cor.12:4-10).
Ministries of the Spirit:
To these 9 gifts, are added the ministry charisms of apostles,
prophets, doctors, services, and governments in 1Cor.12:28-31. Other ministry charisms are
listed in Rom.12:6-8, Eph.4:11, and 1Pet.4:10-11, with a total of about 20 charisms and
Jesus speaks of "talents" in his parables,
which are the same as special kinds of gifts or charisms given to each individual,
These extraordinary gifts were foretold by the Prophet Joel (2:28)
and promised to believers by Jesus: "And these signs shall follow them that believe:
In my name they shall cast out devils and speak with new tongues
they shall lay
their hands on the sick and they shall be healed" (Mk. 16:17-18). The Lord's promise
was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem (Act.2:4), and, as the Church spread,
in Samaria (Act.8:18), in Caesarea (Act.10:46), in Ephesus (Act.19:6), in Rome
(Rom.12:6-8), in Galatia (Gal.3:5), and more markedly in Corinth (I Cor.12 and 14).
The abuses of the charismata, which had crept in at this latter place, induced St. Paul to
discuss them at length in his First Epistle to the Corinthians. The Apostle teaches that
these "spiritual things" emanate from the Spirit who quickens the body of the
Church; that their functions are as diversified as the functions of the natural body; and
that, though given to individuals, they are intended for the edification of the whole
community (I Cor.12).
The 7 Gifts for Sanctification of the person who receives them
Gift of Wisdom: By detaching us from the world,
make us relish and love only the things of heaven: It help us, for example, to understand
and live the glorious fact that God is our Father, I am a child of God!
loved me so much that he died on a Cross for me, and is so much in love for me that he is
waiting for me every day in the Eucharist made now just bread and wine, to nourish me
daily with his love , praise the Lord!
There are actually three kinds of Wisdom: Natural, learned, and
directly from God and associated with the particular work of the Holy Spirit. he three of
them are gifts of God, the last one is most cherished, the one of Virgin Mary, St. Joseph,
Abraham, Moses, the Apostles, St. Paul
Gift of Understanding: Help us to grasp the
truths of religion as far as is necessary. To understand and live the value of prayer,
love, faith, hope, the Trinity, the Father, Jesus, the Spirit, the brothers, the creatures
of God, the snares of the devil
The gift of Council: It springs from
supernatural prudence, and enables us to see and choose correctly what will help most to
the glory of God, our own salvation, the good of the Church
The gift of Fortitude or Power: We receive power
and courage to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that arise in the practice or our
religious duties, to be able to fight the world, the devil, and most specially the bad
inclinations of our own flesh
The gift of Knowledge: Points out to us the path
to follow and the dangers to avoid in order to reach Heaven.
The gift of Piety (Godliness): Inspires us with
a tender and filial confidence in God, and makes us joyfully embrace with love all that
pertains to His service, the liturgy, the sacraments, prayers
The gift of Fear to the Lord: It fills us with a
sovereign respect for God, and makes as dread, above all timings, to offend Him
is Holy and Merciful
and he is Just: If the devil would be in Heaven, God wouldn't
be God. The "love" and "fear" of the Lord are like the
"accelerator" and "brakes" of the car: Without accelerator we will go
nowhere, but nobody would dare to drive without brakes!.
Gifts and Virtues:
The gifts of the Spirit are perfections of a higher order than the
virtues: The virtues dispose us to follow the impulse and guidance of reason, while the
gifts of the Spirit are functionally intended to render the will obedient and docile to
the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, they make us attentive to the voice of God, love the
things of God, and be faithful to the actual grace.
The 9 Charisms for Service,
The 9 charisms of 1Cor.12 are the ones mostly practiced by the
Charismatics, along with the Resting in the Spirit and the liberation from the devil. They
are to serve the community, except the gift of tongues which is "to build up
themselves" (1Cor.14:4). The 9 Charisms are mentioned three times in 1Cor.12:8-12,
28-30, and the gifts of prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues specially treated
To end 1Cor.12, St. Paul urges us "to strive eagerly for the
greater spiritual gifts"
and finishes it "showing us a more excellent
way", which is in next chapter 13, the way of Love, of Charity.
These 9 gifts or charisms can be divided in 3 classes:
1- Three Charisms of the mind:
- The word of wisdom.
- The word of knowledge.
- The discernment of the spirits.
2- Three Charisms of action:
- The gifts of healing.
- The working of miracles.
- The gift of faith, faith that moves mountains (Mt.21:21,
3- Three Charisms of the tongue:
- Speak in tongues.
- Interpretation of tongues.
1- The Word of Wisdom (1Cor.12:8):
It is the most important one, as Wisdom is the first of the 7 gifts
for sanctification (Is.11:2). It is a "Word", a "utterance" an
"expression", you have to say it to have it!. It is the main gift of the
ministry of the "apostles", also the first ministry of the lists of 1Cor.12 (28,
Most of the sermons of Jesus are the Word of Wisdom: The Sermon on
the Mountain, the Sermon of the Bread of Life, the Sermon of the Last Supper, the Sermon
of the End of Times (Mt.5, 24, Jn.6, 13)
they are intended to give us wisdom, to
know the secrets of God, to help us to live the wonderful adventure of being a Christian,
praise the Lord
. because that's what is being a Charismatic, just a Christian,
nothing more, and nothing less!
any preacher is supposed to express the Word of
2- The Word of Knowledge
It is also a "Word", a "utterance", you have to
say it to have it!.
it is less often used in the Gospels, but most impressive: God
gives a person an specific knowledge about a person or situation that could not be known
otherwise, unless God revealed it.
When Jesus told the Samaritan woman, "you have had five
husbands and the one you have now is not your husband"
Apparently was not too
much to say, but the Samaritan got all excited, he went to the village shouting,
"come and see a man who told me everything I did!, could he not be the Messiah?"
When Jesus said to Nathanael, "before Philip called you, you
were under the fig tree and I saw you"
but Nathanael got all
excited and replied, "Master, you are the Son of God! You are the King of
Peter told Ananias and Sapphira a Word of Knowledge when they were
doing something apparently good, giving a gift to the Church, "Ananias, how is that
you let Satan fill your heart and why do you intend to deceive the Holy Spirit by keeping
some of proceeds of your land for money? Who obliged you to sell it? And after it was
sold, could you not have kept all the money? You have not deceive us but God"
and the results were most impressive: Both, Ananias and Sapphira died instantly! (Acts 5).
In the Charismatic meetings, the Word of Knowledge is also most
impressive: "There is a man here who is Mormon, and he is being healed now of his
and the Mormon comes out shouting and crying, rising the left arm he
could not move for 20 years
and he becomes a Catholic
and it is the most
exciting episode in that meeting, everybody is praising the Lord with great incredible
3- The Discerning of the Spirits
This is an important gift to distinguish the good and bad spirits,
the true and false prophets. Because "even Satan disguises himself as an angel of
light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as
ministers of salvation" (2Cor.11:14-15). Jesus warns us three times that at the last
times will come "many" false prophets, and false Messiahs, that will mislead
many" (Mt.24:4,11,24). See also 2Pet.2 and 2Tim.3.
A bad spirit can ruin a Prayer Group or an entire Christian parish
or community, and Satan can counterfeit any charism of the Spirit
there are many
false churches of Christ, many false apparitions
the discerning of the spirits is
gift much needed today!.
My advice: The best discerning of the spirits is usually to follow
the recommendations of your priest your pastor and bishop. They may even be wrong, but if
you follow their advice, God will be with you. They will have to pay for their errors, but
you will be safe, God will bless your obedience.
4- Gifts of Healing
This is a special charism
but every Christian, every believer
in Christ has this gift, as promised by Jesus Christ himself, "these signs will
accompany those who believe:
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will
This promise is not just for those who are very saints,
or for those who have great authority or knowledge of the Bible or theology, but for
"those who believe", for any Christian, for you!
so, the next time you go
to visit a sick person, lay hands on him!, in the name of Jesus, you will see wonders!.
Any Christian, and every priest has more healing power than any
witch or santero, because these act with the power of the devil, and the Christian with
the power of God
and a great problem is that many Christians don't exercise their
do it!, in the name of Jesus.
This was an important ministry of Jesus, and an important reason why
the crowds were around Him (Mt.4:23-25, Jn.6:2). And every time Jesus send the disciples
to preach he gave them, to all of them, the same order: Cast out devils and heal the sick,
every disease and sickness! (Mt.10:1,8, Lk.9:1, 10:9,17, Jam.5:15)
and that's what
the disciples did with great success (Act.5:12-16, 8:6-8, 19:11-12).
The charism is called "gifts", in plural
there are many Christians who should do it, many sicknesses to heal, and many ways to do
it: By laying on the hands, by anointing with blessed oils, or with blessed water, or by
just praying, or using a relic or a crucifix
or God by using a doctor or a nurse or
just pray for the sick!, in the name of Jesus!, and let Him do it!,
praise the Lord.
5- The Working of Miracles
This gift is different from healing in that it does not depend on
the laws of nature. On the contrary, it is an event over nature, against the laws of
nature, "a wonder", a "mighty work", produced by the power of God,
beyond the power of any known physical law to produce it.
Jesus resurrected 3 persons. In the history of Catholicism, 400
persons have been resurrected. Jesus walked on the water twice, in the history of the
Church, over 100 people have done it. Jesus multiplied the bread, and hundred of times
have been duplicated in the Church.
And the greatest miracle of millions of Christians is to live with
love and joy and peace, when they have nothing but the love of God!
. everybody on
earth wants to have love and joy and peace: The President, the multimillionaire, the
prostitute, the drug addict, the athlete, that's why they do it for, to have joy and love
and most of them don't have it!, but millions of Christians and nuns and
priests and brothers have it without money, nor power, nor fame, nor honors, but they have
real constant deep joy and love and peace
. and it is almost funny, after that joy
and love and peace on earth, they will have eternal Heaven, praise the Lord!.
6- Faith (1Cor.12:9):
It is probably the most important charism of the gifts of action:
The gift of Faith is that power to remove mountains of Mt.21:21 "Truly I say to
you: If you had faith and did not doubt, not only could you do what I have done with the
fig tree, but you could even say to the mountain: 'Go and throw yourself into the sea!',
and it would be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer full of faith, you will
This is the charism of faith: To remove the mountains of hate and
envy and prejudice and abortion
and to start a TV program without any money, or to
find shelter for millions like Mother Theresa, or to help millions like the Red Cross, or
to convert thousands of Hindus without knowing their language like St. Francis Xavier did,
or to go on with joy in your hard job or marriage or apostolic work
There are three kinds of Faith in the Gospels:
1- Saving Faith, to become a Christian.
2- The Fruit of Faith, for character, for faithfulness, fidelity
3- The Charism of Faith, to move mountains, the Faith of power:
And of this kind of Faith as Charism, the Gospels show people with faith, with little
faith, and with great faith:
- With faith: The leper, the blind, the paralytic
people, they got healed!.
- With little faith: It is curious, the Apostles!, the only ones Jesus
told them "men of little faith", and several times (Mt.8:26, 14:31, 17:20, Lk
in one occasion, Jesus told the disciples, "Because you have little
faith. If only you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could tell that mountain to move
from there to there, and the mountain would obey. Nothing would be impossible for
and the mustard seed is like powder, in a pinch there are
thousands of seeds.
- With Great Faith: And it is also curious, the only two people Jesus
said they had Great Faith were "two pagans", not Jews: The pagan Roman centurion
of Mt.8:10, and the pagan Canaanite woman from outside of Israel, from Tyre-Sidon of
We just have to do as the disciples: "The apostles said to the
Lord: 'Increase our faith"
and you know the answer (Lk.17:5-6).
7- Prophecy (1Cor.12:10, and chapter 14):
This charism, Prophecy, is important, mentioned 22 times in 1Cor.12-14, and
for every Christian!: Every Catholic was proclaimed Prophet, Priest and King, at
Baptism, and in the Sacrament of Confirmation was confirmed as Prophet, Priest,
A Priest is someone who speaks to God about men, who prays for
men... A Prophet is someone who speaks to people about God, or from God, he is a spokesmen
of God to men.
This is a gift by which God, through a person, speaks a message to
an individual or to the whole Christian community. It is God making use of someone, to
state what he thinks about the present situation, what His intention is for the future, or
what He thinks they should know or be mindful of right now. It is not primarily or
necessarily a prediction of the future.
The prophetic office is for edification, instruction, consolation,
and exhortation of the believers of a congregation (1Cor.14:3).
St. Paul explains that an individual of the congregation may
prophecy in tongues and them be interpreted by someone who has the later gift (1Cor.14:5).
A word of caution: We already mentioned in the gift of discerning of
the spirits that at the last times there will be many false prophets, so, watch out, and
8- The Gift of Tongues of various
(1Cor.12:10, and chapter 14):
This is an important charism, mentioned 57 times in the New
and a charism that every Christian should have, as Jesus said: "these
signs will accompany those who believe:
they will have the gift of tongues"
"those who believe", all Christians!, do you believe in
and still more: It is the only one of these 9 charisms of service which is
not only to help the neighbor but also "strengthen oneself" (1Cor.14:4), and we
all need to build up ourselves often!.
There are at least two kinds of gifts of tongues:
The one mentioned in 4 verses of Acts 2:4,6,8,11:
"They begun to speak other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak",
"and the crowd was exited because each heard them speaking in his own native
language", and the disciples were all Galilean!
this great miracle of Pentecost
has never happened again in the Church
or has it?
the language of
"joy" is understood by anybody
if you love someone, he will understand
you, no matter if he only speaks German or Russian or Chinese or Japanese
languages of "joy", and "love", and "peace", are understood
by everybody, and they are probably the greatest miracles of the Christians of all times.
The other kind, "speak in tongues", is
one of the 9 gifts of the Spirit mentioned three times in 1Cor.12:10,28,30, and explained
again in 1Cor.14:1-33, where the gift to "speak in tongues" or "praying in
tongues" is mentioned 12 times.
This "speaking in tongues" is also called
"glossolalia" or "baby talk" that nobody can understand. It looks
apparently opposite to the one that happened at Pentecost
but it is actually the
because it is the language of joy and of love and of peace that anybody can
St. Paul mentions both, "speaking in
tongues" and "praying in tongues" (1Cor.14:14-15).
Catholic Charismatics believe that God gives the
gift of praying in an "unknown tongue" to anyone who seeks it. The person is
able to speak this new language of praise to God or repentance, even though the individual
does not understand what is being said, it is the Spirit of God within the heart praying.
St. Paul says, "the Spirit too comes to the aid of your weakness; for we don't
know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexplicable
groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will" (Rom.8:26-27).
Moreover, the one who
speaks in tongues should pray to be able "to interpret those tongues", so the
congregation can be built too with it. In fact, Spiking in Tongues plus the
Interpretation of them, amounts to Prophecy (1Cor.14:13, 27-28).
9- The Interpretation of
(1Cor.12:10, and chapter 14):
The Interpretation of Tongues is not a translation
of what the other said, but an Interpretation: For example, one may pray in tongues for 2
minutes, and other interprets the message in may be 10 seconds.
When someone in the assembly speaks or prays in
tongues should also be someone there who Interprets those Tongues to build up the Church.
Otherwise pray in tongues by yourself for your own edification (1Cor.14:27-28). We already
mentioned what St. Paul says, that tongues plus interpretation are equivalent to prophecy.