The spiritual term for identifying your gifts, and determining how they can be best used for service to others, is "discernment," from a Latin word meaning "to sift through."
Discernment takes time, prayer, and reflection.
Begin by setting aside some quiet time with no interruptions. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognise your gifts and talents. Then ask yourself some questions:
- What are my talents?
Music? Art? Photography? Writing? Storytelling? Other?
- What are my special abilities?
Sports? Public speaking? Teaching? Leadership? Other?
- What skills have I developed?
Cooking? Crafts? Building? Mechanics?
- What people skills do I have?
Listening? Empathy? Common Sense? Hospitality? Other?
- When people compliment me, what do
Patience? Understanding? Helpfulness? Enthusiasm? Thoughtfulness?
Friendliness? Knowledge? Wisdom? Other?
- What do family members see as my best
- What is my job or profession? What
makes me good at what I do?
- What are my material gifts - my wealth? What do I
have that I could share with those less
fortunate or in need?
- What activities motivate me?
- What difficulties have I overcome? What
have I learned from those trials?
- What activities in my life have been especially fruitful?
We can use our gifts!
We are called to use our talents. Once we realise how God has gifted us, we can ask for God's help to use those talents effectively:
To change the part of the world that we touch daily: our family, our vocation, and all we encounter with the Love of God.
To enhance the liturgy: playing instruments or singing, serving as a reader, welcomer, altar server, Minister of the Holy Communion, or adult liturgist for childrens' liturgy.
Ministries to think about - Sacristan, Altar Server, Minister of Holy Communion, Liturgy of the Word and Communion, Welcomer at Mass, Reader, Childrens' Liturgy, Offertory Collector, Prayers of the Faithful, Repository, Choir, Musician, Cantor
To bring Christ to others: teaching the catechism, assisting in sacramental preparation, taking part in prayer groups, participating in scripture study and faith sharing groups, or by evangelising in your workplace and neighbourhood.
To build up the Body of Christ: welcoming new members of our parish, working on the parish newsletter, offering neighbours a ride to church — or assisting in outreach to young adults, senior citizens, people who are divorced and separated, or others who may feel alienated from the Church.
To provide temporal needs: cleaning the church, arranging flowers, raising funds, or making donations to support both your parish and other charitable organisations that serve the poor.
To serve the community we live in: volunteering at a hospital, hospice or nursing home, or countless other ways.
To intercede: praying for the work of the parish, fasting, or offering any suffering we experience for the good of all and the conversion of sinners.
To offer our very lives: being willing to serve if God is calling us to the priesthood, deaconate or the religious life.