The Bible tells us, “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” If we are full of the Spirit, the nine charisms, or spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 should be manifested daily.
Although addressed in the Catechism, as well as Scripture, many Catholics have never even heard of these gifts; fewer have seen them in operation. It is especially important that these nine gifts are understood.
The Word of Wisdom
The charism of word of wisdom is a manifestation of the Spirit in a particular time for a particular situation that builds up the body Christ by providing understanding of how to live or how to respond. This charism may be manifested in a large public gathering or in counseling an individual. It can be a gift of teaching or of healing or of counsel. You may be having a casual conversation when you find yourself things that you never thought of before. The words speak to the person’s particular situation with power that is from God. On other occasions, you may not even be conscious of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but a person you were counseling may report back weeks, months or years later that something you said has a life-changing impact on them.
The Word of Knowledge
The charism of word of knowledge is a definite conviction; impression or knowing that comes to you in the form of a mental picture, a dream, through a vision, or by a Scripture that is quickened to you. It is supernatural insight or understanding of circumstances, situations, problems, or a body of facts by revelation; that is, without assistance by any human resource but solely by divine aid. Furthermore, the gift of the word of knowledge is the transcended revelation of the divine will and plan of God. It involves moral wisdom for right living and relationships, requires objective understanding concerning divine things in human duties and refers to the knowledge of God or of the things that belong to God, as related in the Gospel. The gifts of the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge function together; knowledge is the raw material and wisdom builds on it.
The Gift of Faith
The gift of faith is the supernatural ability to believe God without doubt, combat unbelief, and visualize what God wants to accomplish. It is not only an inner conviction impelled by an urgent and higher calling, but also a supernatural ability to meet adverse circumstances with trust in God’s words and messages. The gift not only operates in healings and in miracles but in the realm of the impossible as well. Saving faith produces the active faith of the fruit of the Spirit which, in turn, produces the gift of faith. When the gift of faith is empowered, the results are miraculous.
The Gift of Healing
The gift of healings refers to supernatural healing without human aid; it is a special gift to pray for specific diseases. Healing can come through the touch of faith (James 5:14-15); by speaking the word of faith (Luke 7:1-10), or by the presence of God being manifested (Acts 19:11-12). There are three types of healings; physical, emotional and spiritual. Although there are three main types of healings, there is much diversity with the gift of healings.
The Gift of Miracles
A miracle is the performance of something which is against the laws of nature; it is a supernatural power to intervene and counteract earthly and evil forces. The gift of miracles operates closely with the power of the gifts of faith and healings to bring authority over Satan, sickness, sin and the binding forces of this age. Miracles can also be defined as supernatural intercessions of God. God exhorts us with energy to do something that is not natural or normal to us. Just as the ministry gift of miracles is the expression of prayer, so is the function of the Holy Spirit.
The gift of prophecy edifies, exhorts and comforts (1 Corinthians 14:3); helps us build up or strengthen and should lead us to the Word of God. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. Prophecy is divinely inspired; a supernatural proclamation in a known language.
Discerning of spirits is the supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to perceive the source of a spiritual manifestation and determine whether it is of God, of the devil, of man, or of the world. It is not mind reading, psychic phenomena or the ability to criticize and find fault. Discerning of spirits must be done by the power of the Holy Spirit; He bears witness without spirit when something is or is not of God. It implies the power of spiritual insight – the supernatural revelation of plans and purposes of the enemy and his forces. It is a gift which protects and guards your life.
Speaking in Tongues
Supernatural utterance through the power of the Holy Spirit in a person that manifests as spiritual language. The Holy Spirit energizes the tongues to edify believers through language and music. Speaking in tongues is the most misunderstood and dynamic gift. It is not your prayer language, but it can surface through intercession, conference or through the individual. Supernatural utterance in languages known to the speaker, these languages may be existent in the world, revived from some past culture or unknown in the sense that they are a means of communication inspired by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 28:11).
Interpretation of Tongues
Interpretation of tongues is a supernatural verbalization that reveals the meaning of a diverse tongue. This fits operates out of the mind of the Spirit rather than out of the mind of man. It is important to note that interpretation of tongues in not the same thing as the translation of tongues, for the interpreter never understands the tongue he or she interpretation. For example, the message in tongues may be long and the interpretation short because the interpretation only gives meaning.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is a privilege, given to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Once you accept Jesus Christ in the waters of baptism, you will receive this gift. With this privilege comes great responsibility. With the Holy Spirit guiding us, we must seek earnestly to remove ourselves from a context of sin, and obey the commands of God. Our thoughts and our actions should build up the kingdom of God. Just as the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we too as Christians can enjoy the fullness, greatness and power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, and enhancing our relationship with God. Accept the Holy Spirit at work in your life today.