instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

[Not] A Word of Wisdom

I may not be cut out for this small group sharing thing.

I'm going through the discernment in depth phase of the Called & Gifted program at my parish. I'm supposed to spend two hours a week testing whether I have been given the charism of wisdom. Every two weeks thirty or so of us get together to listen to a short presentation on CD, then break into smaller groups to discuss how things are going with our discernment.

As I mentioned the other day, the gift of wisdom that is given to every Christian at Baptism is associated with the beatitude, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." Wisdom sets things in order, and from order comes peace.

I have not had a peaceful two weeks. My work has been jam packed with opportunities, "opportunity" being the positive way of speaking of "challenges," by which I mean "bull goose looniness has been screaming up and down the hall all month."

If I were using my gift of wisdom properly, I would have set, if not things, at least myself in order, and taken the craziness in stride. In the event, however, I took the craziness in the floating ribs.

All of which is to say, I have not found a superfluity of wisdom in my heart, to pour out like unction upon the troubles of others, since the last discernment in depth meeting.

Which meeting was last night.

After an eleven hour day, I had enough wits left to do the math: There were eight of us in our small group, we had forty-five minutes to discuss before reconvening with the rest of the discerners, so if everyone talked for six and a half minutes on average, I wouldn't have to say a word.

I was prepared to say something along the lines of, "Know wisdom, know peace. No peace, so no wisdom. I'll restatus you in two weeks," but I think we all agree it would be better if I didn't have to say a word.

As it happens, everyone did talk for six and a half minutes on average, and I didn't say a word. Ah bliss! (Some people think introverts don't like it when extroverts talk a lot. Whether we like it depends a lot on what would happen if they weren't talking. If what would happen is me talking a lot, then please, chatter away.)

I say I didn't say a word, and I mean that literally. I nodded and smiled, but said absolutely nothing -- until the very end, when, as we were getting ready to reconvene, someone said, "And Tom, you were working on the charism of wisdom?"

I shook my head and corrected her, "Silence."

It was a stretch, I admit, both because most of the people in the group don't know me apart from the few words I'd said (which were not memorable) at the previous meeting and because I left off the words, "No, the charism of..." to maximize the humor at the expense of intelligibility. But eventually most people got it, I think, and one person said I hadn't changed since the Renew 2000 small group we'd been in together.

What are the three signs of a charism?
  1. An unmistakable inner experience of peace, energy, and joy when you're using the gift
  2. Unusually effective and successful results in what you're trying to accomplish
  3. Other people's direct or indirect recognition of the gift's presence
I was certainly pleased with my joke (here I am, blogging about it the next morning).It was certainly effective (hey, mutterings and groans are effects too). And I received direct recognition that, after fifteen years, I still got it.

Apparently I have the charism of wit. Won't my family be surprised?