By Lara Dague
Have you ever asked yourself, “What does God want me to do?” Many of us are asked to volunteer for things at church, our children’s schools and even at work. Sometimes your mind may want to say no, but your heart wants to say yes. When your heart is saying yes, it could mean that you have a special gift. As children of God, we have all received special gifts from the Holy Spirit called charisms. If you are like me, you may not be familiar with that word. I learned the value of charisms by attending the class “Called and Gifted.” This is not your typical Bible Study class, but rather an in-depth look at what you are called and meant to do in this life. As I progressed through class, it prompted me to look back at my childhood and beyond.
Growing up, and to this day, my religious hero has always been my mom. She is the true definition of love and a faith-filled woman. She does so much for her family, her church and people she does not know. Growing up, I often saw her saying the rosary before Mass and she continues to say the rosary each night. I was privileged to attend a Catholic school, where I learned about the rosary. But I have never really gotten in the habit of saying it or truly understanding why people pray the rosary. I struggled with my feelings about this because I thought something was wrong with me. Why don’t I want to pray the rosary?
The Called and Gifted class helped me answer this question and so many more! We have all received gifts from God and these gifts are intended to be shared. It is our obligation to share God’s love through the charisms we have been given. During class we learned about 24 of the most common charisms, with intercessory prayer being one of them. I have a strong feeling that this is one of my mom’s charisms. While I want to be like my mom in every way possible, intercessory prayer may not be one of my charisms. That’s OK, I learned. As I progressed through class, I became more accepting of myself. I am meant to live out the charisms the Holy Spirit has given to me and not try to project others’ charisms upon myself. The opposite is also true; we cannot expect others to have the same charisms we do. As I became more aware of this, I also became more accepting and understanding of others.
One of the most valuable take-aways from the class was learning which charisms I have and which ones I don’t have. This allows me to focus on and put more energy into the gifts I have been given. Through the class I learned that one of my charisms may be encouragement. After studying this charism and really looking at those times in my life when I have felt energized, I realized that encouragement is most likely one of my gifts from the Holy Spirit. I look for opportunities to share this gift with others. Also, after learning about what my charisms may be, I am finding amazing opportunities to act on them and share God’s love with others.
If you are looking for an answer to the question, “What does God want me to do?” please consider giving yourself the gift of this class. You may just get your answer.
(Lara Dague is a member of St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf. The next Called and Gifted class is in the fall at St. John Vianney Parish. Contact Maureen Conrad at iowaconrads@ yahoo.com or call her at (563) 940-5921.)