Called & Gifted: The Fire Within

"Come Holy Spirit."

Flick. The match is struck. The spark ignites.

Thus began my Called & Gifted Discernment Process held at St. Francis. Sound interesting? Yes, and much more than that. Spirit-filled. Energizing. Prayerful.

"Come Holy Spirit."

Pop. The spark touches the log, and the first flame dances in the wind.

Called & Gifted is a program that helps participants discern the unique and gratuitous blessings (called charisms) the Holy Spirit has given them. Called & Gifted has about a five-year history at St. Francis. However, the current program has evolved since it first started here.

In the beginning, the program was presented as a one-day Called & Gifted retreat. Following that, the program grew into a weekend retreat called Ignite. My first introduction to the discernment of charisms was when I attended an Ignite retreat. The retreat was phenomenal. Those of us who attended learned about different types of charisms. We then did a survey to determine possible charisms we might possess.

As much as I loved the retreat, I wasn't sure what to do with the information I had gathered. This is where the current Called & Gifted program shines. The complete program helped me to see how the Holy Spirit enlightens individuals to fully discern charisms and use them for the glory of God.

My group's Called & Gifted adventure began with five weekly sessions where we learned about and discovered a basic set of charisms. Charisms are given by the Holy Spirit at the time of Baptism and Confirmation. The thing that is different about charisms is that they are given to us not for ourselves, but to be used for the good of others. Our group learned that when the Holy Spirit calls us to serve, He gives all the tools we need. The Holy Spirit provides proof that we are using the gifts He has given us. He will bring energy, peace, and joy when we are cooperating with His plan. This thought alone explains why one of the titles of the Holy Spirit is Counselor.

"Come Holy Spirit."

Crackle. The fire consumes the log. The Holy Spirit burns within.

Once we completed the weekly discovery sessions, our group met every other week for two months. These meetings were designed to help each of us to test a charism we had identified as having potential for us. Within the sessions, fellow group members helped me to determine whether the Holy Spirit was signaling to me that the charism I was examining was genuine. I, in turn, helped the other team members to hear the Holy Spirit speaking through the charisms they were discerning. Questions were asked, ideas were shared, and the Holy Spirit moved within our group.

The final discerning phase left me awestruck by the power of the Holy Spirit alive within the Church and in each one of us. It also gave me a deep sense of humility and gratitude to the Holy Spirit. When I use the charism He has given me, it is actually Him working through me. I am only His instrument. But with my cooperation, He can work mighty deeds to assist others in their faith journey. What a great and mighty God we have!

"Come Holy Spirit."

WHOOSH! The all-consuming fire spreads from the first log to surrounding logs.

The beauty of the Called & Gifted Program is that it is available to all parishioners. It is my hope that sharing my experience will encourage others to attend future sessions.

The Holy Spirit has been at work at St. Francis since the initial spark was struck at the first one-day Called & Gifted retreat. He then moved on to the Ignite retreats and has finally come full circle with the extended and complete Called & Gifted program. Whether you already attended the Called & Gifted or Ignite or are newly searching, you're invited to "catch the spark." If you wish to be informed about future Called & Gifted sessions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Lisa Martin, Parishioner