What is Impartation?

We sometimes use the term “impartation” to refer to the transference of a spiritual gift or grace that is operating in the life of one person to become operative in the life of another according to God's mysterious will. Although God pours out spiritual gifts directly to us through the sacraments and through direct special sendings of the Spirit (according to St. Thomas Aquinas), it is also clear in Scripture that God can also give us special graces through the ministry and involvement of others who have already received those gifts. This sharing of graces through the ministry of others can be clearly observed throughout Scripture in the life of the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-15), Joshua (Deut 34:9), and St. Paul with the Ephesians (Acts 19:6) to name a few examples. This phenomena is not in any way to be compared to grace offered to us in the sacraments through the hierarchical dimension of the Church, but is to be understood as part of the mysterious charismatic working of the Spirit who gives graces to the Church through other members of the Church. For more information see this doctrinal note by the Doctrinal Commission of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service.

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