Recently a group of people from St. Monica and several other parishes, completed the spiritual discernment program “Called and Gifted II.” By means of two workshops, a one-hour personal one-on-one “charisms interview” and 5-part experimentation and discernment process within a small group setting, Called & Gifted™ is designed to help Christians discern the presence of charisms in their life and teach people to identify the ways of using charisms as an adult.
One of the interesting aspects of C&G was the identification and description of a “vocation” which actually has three parts:
A “personal call to holiness” as outlined in the Catechism, Vatican II (Chapter 5 of Lumen Gentium) and emphasized by St. Pope John Paul II in his letter, At The Beginning of the New Millennium (or see full Vatican document of Novo Millennio Ineunte here). EVERYONE has this call as part of their vocation.
A “personal state of life” which is what people typically understand under the idea of “vocation” and would include marriage, consecrated virginity, religious life, deaconate or priesthood. Everyone is called to at least one particular “state of life” in order to be of service to the church and the world.
What I shall term an “apostolate” is where a person exercises their individual gifts and charisms to a particular person or situation, within a specified period of time within limits of appropriate “jurisdiction” which would be permission granted to perform the task granted by someone in authority or due to the simple nature of the person’s life (a parent assisting their children and their children’s friends). It is in this final realm that charisms are most important.
A vocation is an anointing to perform a work of love, or a “mission,” with a call from God. It’s a way by which you have been personally called by God to share in Christ’s redemption of the world.
The death and resurrection on the cross by Jesus Christ was the objective reality that made redemption possible. But Christ chose US to be the vehicles through which that grace reaches the world through US! This is what is at stake – Charisms (your charisms) are Christ’s “instruments of redemption” for the world. Without your direct involvement, that grace and redemptive work simply does not get done.