Sunday, February 08, 2009

What Do We Mean when We Refer to Charisms of Orders or Movements in the Church?

[cross post from Deep Furrows, originally posted 11/11/2007. It relates both the the Pauline dimension of the Catholic Church lately discussed here as well as to the question of charisms in lay movements...]

Charisms are given for the whole Church
68 - If charisms are exclusively personal, they can hardly claim the Holy Spirit of the Church for themselves: it is from the wholeness of the Church that he distributes his gifts. Isolated, such a charism gradually becomes ideologized; either it is adopted for the whole, whereas it only constitutes a part, or the part is made an absolute and taken for the epitome of the Gospel.

The radiance of Christian mission in the Church
82-83 - the Church is no abstract entity; only real, corporeal persons participate in her. They are ecclesial to the degree in which their personal mission - Origen speaks of an anima ecclesiastica [ecclesiastical soul] - their charism, extends into the reality of the universal Church, as happens, in the case of prayer, for instance, or of suffering.
the ecclesial radiance of a person extends as far as his (accomplished) mission. Seen from that angle, Mary's mission radiates throughout the whole Church (the image of the "protective mantle" expresses this symbolically), and analogous to this, other charisms radiate across vast spaces of the Church. Remember Saint Francis, who not only radiates throughout the orders which live through its mission, but beyond that, all "franciscan" souls. Saint Francis is not an idea, but a reality.

The Holy Spirit uses persons
to renew access to the core of revelation

88-89 - The Holy Spirit may suddenly illuminate parts of revelation that have always been there, but have not been sufficiently reflected upon. The history of the Church confirms this. Before Saint Francis, no one had thought so deeply about the poverty of Christ. This poverty is not a secondary consideration but a new access to the center. Before Augustine, many had spoken of the love of God, but none did it in as penetrating a manner as he. Before Ignatius, no one had grasped Christ's obedience to the Father in quite so central a way.

Test Everything: Hold Fast to What is Good.
Page numbers head each quotation
from a remarkable conversation between
Hans Urs von Balthasar and Angelo Scola.
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