In Christian theology, a charism (in Greek: χαρίσμα; plural: charismata) in general denotes any good gift that flows from God's love to humans. The word can also mean any of the spiritual graces and qualifications granted to every Christian to perform his or her task in the Church. In the narrowest sense, it is a theological term for the extraordinary graces given to individual Christians for the good of others.
These extraordinary spiritual gifts, often termed "charismatic gifts", are the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, increased faith, the gifts of healing, the gift of miracles, prophecy, the discernment of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). To these are added the gifts of apostles, prophets, teachers, helps (connected to service of the poor and sick), and governments (or leadership ability) which are connected with certain offices in the Church. These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to individuals, but their purpose is to build up the entire Church.
Religious orders (generally Catholic) use the word to describe their spiritual orientation and any special characteristics of their mission or values that might be exhibited as a result of the vows that they have taken and the orientation of the order to which they belong. An example might be the works of a teaching order compared to that of a missionary order or one devoted to the care of the poor or the sick and those who are need of help.
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- Wilhelm, Joseph (1908). "Charismata". The Catholic Encyclopedia III. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 6 July 2010.