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The 'encanto' of our spiritual gifts

English Spanish Fr. Matthew Gomez Profile

In late 2021, a phenomenon took the world by storm. By now, I am sure most of us have seen Disney’s Encanto. This animated movie follows “a multigenerational Colombian family helmed by a matriarch whose children and grandchildren receive gifts from a ‘miracle’ that helps them serve the people in their rural community called ‘the Encanto.’”

As we watch the movie, everyone seemingly wants to be a part of the Familia Madrigal as we tap our feet to the beats reminding us that “we don’t talk about Bruno.” As I watched the movie (multiple times) and had conversations with friends (yes, all of us adults), I couldn’t help finding a beautiful correlation between the amazing Familia Madrigal and who we are Christians.

Until the beginning of Lent, we were hearing St. Paul speaking to the Corinthians about the spiritual gifts. On the Second Sunday of Ordinary time, Paul reminded us that “one and the same Spirit produces all of these (gifts),distributing them individually to each person as he wishes” (1 Cor. 12:11). The next Sunday we heard Paul reminding us that even though we are all different and have unique gifts, we all belong to the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-30). Then on the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary time, as we finished Paul’s 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians, we heard him exhorting us to “Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31).

All this talk about gifts: I hope you know where I am going with this.

The gifts of the Familia Madrigal are very special, not because of what their individual gifts are but because the family places them at the service of the community. The gifts must be used to serve others in order to be brought to fulfillment. How much more so is it for us?

By virtue of our baptism, we have been given spiritual gifts: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment of spirits, varieties of tongues, interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:8-10). All these gifts are given to us on the day of our baptism, not for our sake but for the sake of the Church.

Why make such a big deal about our gifts? God uses the gifts he bestows on us to change the world through our participation. St. Catherine of Siena reminds us, “If you are what you ought to be, you will set the world on fire.”

It does not matter if we are priests, religious brothers or sisters, lay ministers committed to the Church, married, or single, we are all called to collaborate with the gifts God gives us.

Our Christian family is far greater and much more special than the Familia Madrigal and our goal isn’t to better the Encanto, it is to set the world aflame with the love of Christ; the love that encountered us first. May we constantly seek to use the gifts given to us at our baptism as we strive for the greatest of gifts.

Fr. Matthew Gomez
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Comments from readers

Maria Maguire - 03/21/2022 12:40 PM
Congrats Father Matthew on your blog. The movie "Encanto" is such a fantastic story. The songs, music and dialogues are awesome. So contemporary and of true Christian value! I only wish more parishes would have movie sessions for the viewing of "Encanto" with emphasis on all ages (not because it's a Disney movie is only for the young). After the movie, we should all divide in groups to discuss how to discern, and to share our gifts. Maybe popcorn to go with it wouldn't hurt. Catholics, in my opinion, need to be reminded of the treasure we own in the gifts of the Spirit, not only when reading Corinthians or during Pentecost. The movie message is powerful to anyone who wishes to put to "use" the gifts of the Spirit. After "Baptist in the Spirit" sessions in a Carismatic Group I realized how NECESSARY is in our world that Catholics put to use their spiritual gifts in our communities. As you said, and I agree with St. Catherine of Siena, if you are what you ought to be, you should set the world on fire for the Lord. Gracias, Father Gomez, for this awesome sharing! You are indeed annointed in your priestly ministry! Blessings always. Maria Maguire


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