By Marilyn Riley
Last year, my husband Fran and I decided to take the Called and Gifted class at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport. We really did not know what to expect; the outcome was eye-opening to say the least.
The first topic was “what is a charism?” “Charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the church”(CCC,799).
As we took our first inventory, both Fran and I discovered we had the gift of hospitality. I was not surprised because of my passion for cooking. However, Fran and cooking? As we learned, the charism of hospitality involves more than entertaining. It can be a powerful source of welcoming people into our home and showing them the love of Jesus.
Continuing our journey, I found the class to be more and more intriguing and couldn’t wait for the next week to see what other gifts God had given me that I was not using. When we took the next inventory, I discovered my gifts were knowledge and wisdom. I was not surprised at the gift of knowledge because I am an avid reader. The book-lovers motto is “so many books and so little time.” I have taken the two-year MFP (Ministry Formation Program) and have my certificates in Lay Christian Counseling and three classes on Listening for Life.
The gift of wisdom is the ability to receive inspired insights that enable a Christian to come up with creative solutions to specific problems and to make good decisions. What is interesting about both of these charisms is that I have been praying for years to the Holy Spirit for knowledge and wisdom. God is great!
Through the Called and Gifted program I have been able to see and feel who I am and where I am going. I thank Almighty God every day for the gifts that he has so graciously bestowed on me and I promise with all my heart to use them for his glory.
God has a plan for me and I am excited every day to see how I might use the gifts that I am aware of and the other ones that are beginning to surface. I love being Catholic, the opportunity to attend daily Mass, adoration several days a week, Bible study in our home, and awesome family and friends.
My prayer is that many more people will take the Called and Gifted class and see the potential that God has blessed them with and put those gifts to use.
(For information about beginning a Called and Gifted program in your parish, please contact Nikki Gartner at jngartner@ aol.com or call (563) 370-3360.)