By Rose Strickland
It sounded so intriguing — Called and Gifted. After much thought, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and sign up for the Called and Gifted class that was held at St. John Vianney Church in Bettendorf last fall. It was one of the best decisions of my life! This 10-week class was so much more than I anticipated. We learned about the different spiritual gifts (charisms) from the Holy Spirit, and how they manifest themselves in our lives.
Although I am a cradle Catholic and have been involved in many different ministries throughout my life, I learned so much from the Called and Gifted class. I learned about the different kinds and characteristics of charisms and also grew spiritually by listening to and sharing experiences with other members of the class. We became a very tight-knit group as we shared this journey of discernment of our gifts from the Holy Spirit.
The spiritual gifts inventory assessment indicated that I may have one of the pastoral charisms: Helps. After learning about this particular charism, I felt as if my eyes had finally been opened. I began to understand why, even though I am very much an introvert and a private person, I felt compelled to become a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I understood why one of my favorite and most treasured ministries is participating on the Marriage Prep team at St. John Vianney. Being a volunteer and mentor are two of the ways that this charism is exercised.
Charisms always bear certain marks that enable us to recognize them as gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are three basic signs to look for — 1: a feeling of peace, energy and joy when we are using the gift; 2: effective, successful results in what we are trying to accomplish; and 3: direct or indirect affirmation from others. This explains why I find fulfillment in being a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters. It brings me joy, I can see direct results from my relationship with my Little Sister, and I’ve received positive feedback from my Little Sister’s family and the BBBS program.
If you feel that something is missing in your life, or if you have a yearning for something more in your life, that’s probably the Holy Spirit nudging you to take the Called and Gifted class! I encourage everyone to consider enrolling in this class. You will meet some wonderful fellow Christians and be amazed at how much you grow personally and spiritually. We are all given spiritual gifts. Please take the time to discover and develop your gifts so that you, too, can honor your call to discipleship. God is calling you to a unique purpose in life; will you answer God’s call?
(Rose Strickland is a member of St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf.)