Are charisms part of an optional spirituality?

No. The Church teaches clearly that charisms are essential for Christians to exercise apostolate. (Cf. Vatican II, Apostolicam Actuositatem, 3) In fact, the Council also taught that the Church herself is both charismatic and hierarchical. (cf. Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 4) Since God gives each Christian charisms to help them work for the renewal and building up of the Church, they cannot be considered optional in the mission of the Church. (cf. Lumen Gentium, 12). In 2016, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith taught clearly,

“Such gifts are not to be considered optional in the life of the Church; rather ‘from the acceptance of these charisms, including those which are more elementary, there arises for each believer the right and duty to use them in the Church and in the world for the good of men and the building up of the Church, in the freedom of the Holy Spirit’. The authentic charisms, therefore, come to be considered as gifts of indispensable importance for the life and mission of the Church.” (Iuvenescit Ecclesia, 9)

Charisms are tools of love that God gives so that we can complete our mission on earth. Charisms are not optional because love isn’t optional. In a very real sense, every Christian by their baptism is charismatic.

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