A favor to ask of my readers, but first, some background …
Much to my pleasant surprise, my new parish, when I arrived last summer, was involved with the Catherine of Siena Institute, and their effort to assist parishes and people discern gifts. I was certainly aware of Sherry Weddell’s work through her blog Intentional Disciples (see blogroll), and also in ministry circles around the Kansas City area. My first graduate school course twenty-five years ago was entitled “Self Discernment in Ministry,” so I’ve been formed (and formed well, I think) in the notion of discernment, spiritual gifts, and as a minister, in helping others discern their own gifts, their own role to play in the Church and in the world as a baptized Christian.
At my parish, I’m responsible not only for worship but also the nebulous area of “spiritual growth.” (Hence my acronym WSG.) My staff colleague Bobby has spearheaded our parish’s effort in Discerning Our Giftedness for the past two or three years. Before I was hired, the liturgist position was vacant for most of two years, and this has been Bobby’s own charism, aside from his devoted work as our parish business administrator. But he has told me that eventually Discerning Our Giftedness will fall under my oversight as part of WSG.
A few months ago, I thought I had better undergo the basic training and probably somewhat more to get familiar with the process, materials, and the parishioners involved already.
In discerning one’s gifts, one looks at areas in which one is reasonably sure there is a gift, areas in which a gift is possible, and areas in which there is unsureness. One of the borderline gifts I’ve chosen to explore is writing, and to this end, I’m altering my contribution to Catholic Sensibility for the next two weeks or so.
If writing (or any other human aspect) is truly a charism, truly a spiritual gift, then it must be directed to serve others, not the self. I blog largely for personal enjoyment. I think I write fairly well, at least when I put my mind to it. But gifts need to be tested. And to that end, I’ll be shifting to a different writing style for the next few weeks. I’m giving up the obviously self-indulgent things like politics. I’m putting the RCIA series on hold. Definitely no quick things on video hoaxes.
If you have comments on the new posts, even small stuff, go ahead and give it to me.