I have always loved learning for the sake of learning. When I cook supper, I will listen to podcasts ranging from Indigenous people in the Amazon, the history of the Louvre Museum, children’s stories from around the world, facts about horses, healthy living tips, homesteading ideas, the lives of Catholic Saints, Church history, and many other completely random things.
The strangest part about my knowledge obsession is that I will forget most of what I have learned in a very short amount of time. But that doesn’t stop me from learning just because I can.
When I was taking my assessment for Called and Gifted*, I remember answering certain questions with a burning fire in my belly. Most of the questions I would just answer in mind-numbing fashion. But every once in a while, a question would come through that I wanted to rate a 10 out of 5 and fist-pump in agreement to.
I had no idea what category they would be, as I didn’t know much about the charisms then, and admittedly, still have a lot to learn about them. But I could tell if one was likely in the craftmanship, voluntary poverty, or mercy for example. But these particular questions I could feel in my very soul, and knew that they were written just for me.
I got my assessment back, and it was underwhelming. Writing, hospitality, and teaching were in my top 4. No big surprise here! I literally have a blog as well as a book in the publishing stages, I literally designed my brand-new house to accommodate guests comfortably, and I literally homeschool my kids…
BUT- my very top charism did actually come as a bit of a shock. Knowledge. Knowledge? Those must have been the questions that made my heart swell! I didn’t have a clue what it meant, but I dug a little deeper.
People often view the world through their charism. Having that information has really humbled me! I also had a strong conviction that if people were better catechized and really knew their faith, the Church would be healed. A person with the mercy charism would argue that if we cared for those on the fringes, our Church would be healed. Perhaps a person with voluntary poverty would argue that giving up things of this world would bring about the healing. And I could go on to list a worldview for every single charism.
That was a very powerful lesson for me, in the mystery of the Body of Christ. It isn’t either/or, it’s an and/both equation. They are all correct, and all necessary.
Reading further about the knowledge charism brought an insight into “what makes me tick”. For me, studying is a form of prayer.
To learn something new, even if it is a podcast on one of London’s greatest criminals or the biography of a real-estate mogul, makes me reflect and wonder about one of God’s greatest creations- the human mind. Learning about the habitat of some random snake on the other side of the world, or the volcanoes of Hawaii gives me the opportunity to praise God for His incredible earthly creation. Listening to a story about fairy foxes from Ireland or some other silly tale brings a smile to my face as I remember God’s own love for storytelling.
During my actual structured prayer time, I spend a lot of time reading the writings of the saints and feel the movement of my heart toward God in their powerful words, or heroic feats. It could also explain why I am more drawn to the adventure of the Old Testament story of salvation, than praying with the psalms.
Knowing that knowledge is one of my charisms helps me to understand my thirst for knowledge. It also empowers me to impart this information to others to help them to understand the faith in a way that is accessible in the 21st Century. That has been my biggest passion project for as long as I can remember, and it has manifested in many different ways over the years.
I don’t know what this will look like in the future, but for now, I pray that the Holy Spirit will use my words to stir the hearts of many to open their eyes to the wonder of our Catholic faith.
Come Holy Spirit!
Until next time, your sister in Christ,
*In case you missed them, here are the other blog posts in our Charism series-