Ministries, Charisms, Fruits -10 Serving
Service is central to the Christian life. We are called to follow our Lord in a life of service to God and our fellow man. The gift of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Romans 12:7 is a specific type of service, which may not be obvious from the English translation. St. Paul uses the Greek work diakonia. This word refers to administration within the Church. In the context of the early Church this would concern the distribution of alms and material aid. As the Church grew, the application of this gift grew and diversified. Today the Roman Curia, the central governing body of the Roman Catholic Church, coordinates and provides the necessary central organization for the correct functioning of the Church and the achievement of its goals. But it is only the tip of an administrative colossus which consists of the curiae of the individual dioceses and orders, the episcopal conferences, parish councils, group coordinators and many more sub-divisions. Of course the original need for administrators – the distribution of aid, material, educational and spiritual – still exists and has grown. The Catholic Church is the oldest and largest provider of aid in the world. Every branch of the Church has need of administration to ensure an effective and successful mission.
Administrators and bureaucrats do not have the best reputation. They are often caricatured as faceless, legalistic bean-counters or at worst scheming, calculating, powers-behind-the-throne. It is a sad fact but all too often these stereotypes are realised in individuals, such as wily cardinals and corrupt parish treasurers. Bureaucrats are necessary for the organisation of a community. They are not however a necessary evil we must tolerate. They should benefit the society that they serve and promote the common good. The Christian administrator does not only serve a human community but the Body of Christ. The Christian administrator, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, must follow Christ’s example of humble and selfless service. The Holy Spirit bestows not only the talent for organising, maintaining and administrating but also a sense of duty to the people of God.