What is the spiritual gift of healing

The Holy Spirit
and his gifts in service to the sick

Father Dr. Anton Gots

1. The Holy Spirit in the Christian life

Christianity is life in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the third Divine Person in the Most Holy Trinity, is "love in person between the Father and the Son". Also all relationships of God to the creatures, also all relationships of humans to one another in the good and positive are carried and worked by the Holy Spirit.

Regarding the Christian life, we read in Acts 2:38: "Convert, be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit." The process and the act of turning to God consist in accepting Jesus as Lord (Col 2: 6: “You have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord”). To be able to say: “Jesus, I take you Lord in my life” is again only possible in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12: 3: “No one can say: Jesus is Lord, unless in the Holy Spirit . ”). In baptism we became temples of God and now the Holy Spirit dwells in us (1 Cor 3:16). In the Holy Spirit we often cry to the Father: "Abba, Father!" (Rom 8:15). The Holy Spirit comes to help us in our weakness (Rom 8:26). He is already the pledge of the coming glory (2 Cor 1:22). Our transformation into the image of the Son of God - the epitome of all concrete following of Christ - takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor 3:18). The daily life from the Holy Spirit - the "walk in the spirit" (Gal 5,16-25) - shows itself in fruits of holiness and righteousness before God and men: in love, joy, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Meekness, self-control (Gal 5:22 f.) And in all other virtues. Our prayer should be a “supplication in the spirit at all times” (Eph 6:18). Christian life is life in the Holy Spirit.

2. The Holy Spirit is the source of the "Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit" and the "Charisms"

Vatican II says briefly and understandably about their importance: “The same Spirit also sanctifies the people of God not only through the sacraments and ministries, he not only leads them and enriches them with virtues, but shares the individual as he wants (1 Cor 12:11), giving out his gifts and distributing special graces among the believers of all classes. Through this he makes them fit and ready to undertake various works and services for the renewal and full building of the Church, according to the saying: The demonstration of the Spirit is given to everyone ”(Lumen Gentium, n. 12).

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

According to Thomas Aquinas, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are “permanent abilities through which the abilities of our soul (intellect, will, memory, spirit) are made particularly inclined to easily absorb the impetus of the Holy Spirit and put it into practice . ” They are given to us in the sacrament of Baptism along with faith, hope and love. If we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit and consent to his "movement" within us, these gifts can work wonderfully for the kingdom of God and for our salvation. In detail they are: fear of the Lord, piety, strength, science, advice, understanding, wisdom.

The charisms of the spirit

“Charisma of the Spirit” in the broader sense is everything that God gives us. In the narrower and proper sense, it is a different individual gift that enables Christians to become fruitful for the kingdom of God and human community. “Charisma is an influence of God, the Holy Spirit on people, through which the abilities present in him from birth are intensified, purified and placed at the service of church and society” (Heribert Mühlen). It is the task of us Christians to consciously accept our personal talents as gifts from God and to put them in the service of God. If we do, we contribute to the renewal of our environment and our own lives.

In three places in his letters (Rom 12.6-8; Eph 4.7-11 and 1 Cor 12.31b-13.13) the apostle Paul mentions a total of around 18 individual charisms. However, this list is more of a collection of examples and is not exhaustive. In reality there are as many charisms as there are individual Christians. The charisms are specifications of the grace life of the individual. The grace of God becomes concrete in the charism. Each individual has his own gift of grace, his own charism (s): "We have different gifts, depending on the grace bestowed on us" (Rom. 12: 6). One and the same spirit “gives each one his special gift as he will” (1 Cor 12:11). The charisms enumerated by Paul certainly have a central position, a "cardinal meaning", that is, significant talents are set around them, which are also of particular importance for the community. By discovering, accepting, educating and promoting them - often other people help with this - and activating them appropriately, i. H. Making available to God and the community, we contribute to the blessing of the community and our optimal self-realization through the power of the Holy Spirit. “Such gifts of grace”, says the Second Vatican Council, “whether they are of particular luminosity or more simply and more generally widespread, must be accepted with thanks and consolation, since they are particularly adapted and useful to the needs of the Church” (Lumen Gentium, No. 12). “From the reception of these charisms, even the simplest, grows the right and the duty to use them in the Church and in the world for the good of people and for the building up of the Church” (Apostolicam actuositatem, No. 3)

3. The charisms at the service of the suffering and sick

For us Christians it is a matter of course that we let our natural abilities and gifts become gifts of the Holy Spirit - charisms - by making them available in the spirit of God. We Christians in the footsteps of St. Camillus are also called to observe the “healing charisms” listed in the Holy Scriptures and to allow them to be effective in us. Such so-called “healing charisms” can be found in the “charismatic catalogs” of St. Paul highlighted the following, which are directly or indirectly significant for the service of the sick and suffering.

  1. Romans 12: 6-8: the gift of service; the gift of comfort and exhortation; the gift of giving; the gift of mercy.
  2. Cor 12: 4-11: the gift of imparting wisdom and knowledge; the gift of faith; the gift of healing the sick.
  3. In other passages of the Holy Scriptures, the ability and calling to bless (Lk 12:14; Rom 12:14), to comfort (1 Thess 5:11), the prophetic service of reconciliation and the prayer for healing (Jam 6, 12 f.) Spoken. All these qualifications and their exercise in the power of the Holy Spirit have healing effects on body and soul and in human social relationships.

We especially, following St. Camillus in the service of the sick should make every effort to ask God for these “charisms of healing” and to be open to them. They are God's equipment for our service to those who suffer for their blessings. Below are some - not all! - briefly explained.

Father Dr. Anton Gots

4. The charisms for the well-being of the sick (“healing charisms”) - and our service in following St. Chamomile

The gift of mercy

She brings the "heart" to the encounter with the sufferer and expresses the deepest sympathy, empathy for the fate of the sick person. Using the example of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10.15-37), Jesus shows how concretely he means his call: “Be merciful, as your Father in heaven is merciful” (Lk 6.36). St. Paul underlines his call to exercise the charism of mercy with the noteworthy note: "He who exercises mercy does it with joy!" (Rom 12: 8). Those who are ready to stand in the service of the merciful God with a joyful heart will also receive mercy for themselves (Mt 5: 7), promises Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. According to the Basic Law of the Camillian Order (nos. 9 and 10), the works of mercy are the very special task of the order (in the broader sense of all sisters and brothers in the succession of St. Camillus). It is in a special way our charism and St. Camillus, who "himself experienced the mercy of God in his own life" (Basic Law of the Camillians, No. 8), gave us deeply touching evidence and timeless examples of how we should practice the "charism of mercy" for the sick.

The gift of almsgiving

Giving alms means giving concrete help to the poor. The giver gives something of his own belongings. And he does it with selflessness, kindness and kindness. He helps the physical and existential needs of the poor and at the same time he expresses his sympathy and appreciation instead of humiliation and humiliation. Many people in need are embarrassed to feel ashamed of having to "beg" or accept life-sustaining gifts from others. In the film about the life of St. Vincent de Paul, who ran under the title: “The good works of Mr. Vincent” in the fifties of the last century, the saint says at the end of his life: “Let us ask God to forgive us our good works!” - pardon? Why Forgive Good Works? Perhaps because we did the good works, the giving of alms, so thoughtlessly, so negligently, so lovelessly, so humiliatingly, so "from above"? In addition to the naturally good will, it also needs the love and sensitivity that the Holy Spirit must give so that our giving of alms lets the devotion and love of God shine through and leads it on to God.

The gift of giving

Here the “sister charism” of giving alms, the charism of giving (Rom 12: 8) is necessary. Right, to be able to give in the spirit of Jesus, through which giver and recipient come into contact with the “giver of everything good”, with God, and both are enriched, needs the help of the Holy Spirit. At the point mentioned, Paul says that giving should be selfless - "without ulterior motives!" - and it should, says the Scriptures elsewhere, come from a “joyful heart” (2 Cor 9: 7).

The gift of service

According to the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John 13: 12-17 et al. the spirit of service and the concrete service itself are evidence of genuine discipleship. In his own words, Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). This gift of the Holy Spirit, the charism of service, is absolutely necessary in all of us in our work for those who suffer. St. Kamillus called his community the "Order of the Servants of the Sick" and committed his religious in the fourth vow to serve the suffering up to the surrender of their own life. He himself has set a shining example in selfless service.

The gift of comfort

“Consoling”, “giving consolation” is one of the fundamental tasks of pastoral care. According to 1 Cor. 14.3 it belongs to the prophetic ministry of Christians. In the name of God we say courage, edification, confidence - yes, God's love and closeness to, now and then, when and where a person is discouraged, frightened, even close to despair. How often does this situation not exist when we show up at the place of a person who is suffering or sick! To be able to comfort properly is an art, it has to be done skillfully. The Holy Spirit, who, according to Jesus' word, will give us the words at the right moment, is also necessary for right comfort! Wherever words fail or are no longer in place, we can know that our mere presence alone means consolation and allows the afflicted and suffering to experience the presence and participation of God.

The gift of healing

The Lord's healing mandate as a continuation of his own healing activity is also a fundamental task of the church - to demonstrate the rulership of God that has begun in him and is effective here and now. Since the beginning of the Church, this mandate has taken various concrete forms: social and charitable services for those who are suffering, such as care and all-round care; institutional forms through health facilities (homes, hospitals, etc.); therapeutic measures of various kinds; and above all the spiritual and spiritual services: like the loving, healing community, which gives security, the holy sacraments, especially the anointing of the sick, the worship services, the prayer service for the sick. The ecclesiastical community as such, which is aware of its mandate from the Lord for those who suffer, as well as the individual Christian are the “organs”, the “tools” of the Lord, which he uses to continue his healing love here and today to give and to give physical and mental healing as well as order in social relationships. To accept this multifaceted healing mission, at the center of which is always the suffering person in all dimensions of his human existence, it takes an expectant faith and the courage to put all trust in the Lord and to want to be God's instrument for those who suffer. When Paul says: “Strive for the higher gifts of grace!” (1 Cor 12:31) and when the Second Vatican Council, as mentioned above, formally admonishes to accept the gifts of grace of the Holy Spirit with thanks for the good of people and for the building up of the Church (Apostolicam actuositatem, n. 3), then for the sons and daughters of St. Kamillus simply to strive for the charism of health service as a healing charism and to allow himself to be used personally as an instrument of the Holy Spirit.

The individual "healing charisms", as they are only hinted at here, deserve to be presented in more detail and explained for "daily use" in our Camillian ministry. But it will never be possible in our commitment to the sick without the humble prayer for the “healing charisms”, without the readiness and openness for the Holy Spirit - and without courage, to do justice to our task.

© Kamillianer 2010 - [Status: 09.11.2010] css