Charism is the Greek word used in the New Testament for “favor” or “gratuitous gift.”

Charisms, or spiritual gifts, are special abilities given to all Christians by the Holy Spirit to give them power both to represent Christ and to be a channel of God’s goodness for people.  Whether extraordinary or ordinary, all charisms ought to be exercised in the service of God.

According to Catholic teaching, all the baptized possess one or more charisms (Catechism of the Catholic Church).

Charisms differ from natural talents in several important ways. Charisms are not “in-born;” that is, inherited from our parents; but are given to us by the Holy Spirit, whom we received through Baptism and Confirmation.

Secondly, charisms are supernaturally empowering. In other words, they enable us to have an effectiveness that surpasses our natural, human abilities.

One could use a natural talent for an evil purpose, or for our own enjoyment.  However, God will not allow himself to be used for evil, and charisms are always for the benefit of others, rather than ourselves.