One of the beautiful realities of personhood is that we are all different. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that these unique differences in each person express the multifaceted reality of God himself in who’s image we have been created. How boring life would be if this were not so! Like various flowers placed together in a beautiful garden, so is each person gathered in the Church.
United together, we all have various gifts to offer in service of God and the community. Many such gifts were provided to us primarily for the advantage of others and the building up of the Church. In other words, they are often not for us, but for others. St. Paul wrote to the early Church about the importance of recognizing our own gifts and listed examples for consideration (1 Cor .12; Rom. 12). Practically speaking, how are we to uncover these and put them to use?
Most certainly we should pray and ask God to reveal them to us along with the reason we have been given them. We can also use other tools to help us discover our gifts. Here are some questions to prayerfully consider: What do people compliment me about? What comes easily to me? What do I like to read about? What would keep me up at night reading or studying? What gets me up early in the morning excited? What activities give me energy? These questions allow us to identify our skill set and what we are passionate about. After considering these we can see what service groups or opportunities are available to us. Possibly we will find that no opportunities match our gifts and if so, perhaps we could create one! There are many unmet needs and unconsidered possibilities within the Church and just maybe we are meant to fulfill or discover them. If we don’t, who will?
Cardinal John Henry Newman said it best when he wrote, “God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission…”
Another tool to help discover your gifts is the Spiritual Gifts Inventory provided by the parish which matches individuals to specific opportunities.