In today’s second reading, St. Paul greets Timothy with encouraging words:
“Beloved, bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.”
All Christians are called to encourage one another. But those with the charism of encouragement are empowered to be an effective channel of God’s love by strengthening and healing individuals in remarkable ways through his or her presence and words.
Encouragers are exceptional nurturers and interested in the unique needs of individuals. People who are troubled or uncertain frequently seek them out for conversation and report that their lives have been changed for the better after spending time talking. Encouragers are exceptionally good listeners and feel energized and deeply connected to God when they are listening and talking to someone about personal issues.
If you are the one in your family or friend group who everyone calls when they need to discuss a personal crisis, you may have a charism for encouragement. But remember, the manifestations of charisms are only evident when you know Christ personally and have made the decision to follow him. It is then that you’ll begin to see how the Holy Spirit has equipped you to be the face of Christ to the world.
Vicki Compton is the Coordinator of Faith Formation and Mission at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Illinois.