Recently, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, came to celebrate Confirmation for the military children in our religious education program. During his homily, one phrase stood out to me. He encouraged those being confirmed, “Do not archive the gifts given to you by the Holy Spirit.”
That sentence, weeks later, still speaks to me. As St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
The Harper Collins Study Bible (1989)
New Revised Standard Version
Thinking back to the multiple chapel communities of which I have been a part, I have noticed a trend. The same one, two, or few families all seem to contribute at their chapel. That means the burden to assist at Mass, all too frequently falls upon the same families. Within the military community, that also means every few years, there runs the possibility of a lack of support for the Priest during Mass.
As I think of this conundrum, and ways to tackle it, I keep coming back to the archbishop’s statement, coupled with St. Paul’s exhortation on spiritual gifts.
I have to ask myself some questions:
~ Do I recognize my spiritual gifts in myself enough to feel confident and comfortable to assist my parish community?
~ What are my spiritual gifts? And, how do my gifts translate into assisting at the Mass?
~ Furthermore, I recognize there are seasons to everyone’s life – the ability to assist during the Mass ebbs and flows, depending on various factors. For me, currently, I have two small children. It detracts from my ability to assist during the Mass. However, being creative, I have found other ways to serve my chapel/parish community. So, what are my obstacles with assisting at the Mass and in my chapel community?
As I prepare for my next move, I am pondering, if I merely expect to be spiritually fed by my priest every week, instead of becoming involved in parish life. If so, am I running the risk of archiving the gifts given to me by the Holy Spirit?