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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Gifts

I suspect people around the Catholic blogosphere this week are writing about use of gifts and talents. Certainly, last Sunday's Gospel reading, the parable of the talents, is one that always inspires me more than most do. I can only hope that others had the good fortune to hear homilies as good as I heard from Fr. Morse.

He talked about the expected things, focusing most on talents that we can offer for the Kingdom of God. But he also touched on gifts and blessings, and that was where I found myself really listening. You see, I already know I have far more blessings than I can ever deserve. More, still, than I ever expected to have. I owe it to my Master to be investing them a lot more than I do.

The more I thought about it, the more dimension I realized that investing what God has entrusted to us has. Yes, of course I must use wisely the money God has entrusted to me. (Good timing, that reading, coming on the heels of the Bishop's appeal!) And yes, I should also be offering of my time and talent, especially for evangelization and the assistance of the Church. But suddenly it occurred to me that if our entire lives are a gift from God, then we must use all in a manner befitting the property of the Good Master. We should invest not only in the "return" of souls, but in the glorifying of God in all, and the expression of our gratitude in all.

Take, for example, my house. Five years ago, I was certain that owning a house was an impossible dream. Eight years ago, I would have been happy just to have an apartment of my own, and a bed on which to sleep. Now, I have things I asked Him for, and things I might not even have had the courage to ask for. That, I must remind myself, is every bit as much a gift as the ability to sing, sew, sell, or speak. What do I do to invest that gift? To honor it? To express my gratitude? Do I "bury" it, treating it carelessly, or do I care for it as a treasured gift from God? Perhaps Church work and evangelizing are not the only "holy" works, but dusting and vacuuming are, too.

My husband comes next to mind. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for my husband. I firmly believe that our loving God created me with him in mind, and him with me in mind. He guided our lives and molded our characters so that when we were ready, we might meet, and so that when we met, we would be perfectly suited for one another. I have to ask myself what more I could do to honor all that God has done for us, and to build up what He has given us.

The process is much the same for the many uncountable other blessings and gifts God has offered. Children, daily bread, health... it is easy to spend time lamenting the hardships instead of making the most of the blessings. Should I excuse myself from activity because my knees are arthritic, or should I invest whatever health and energy I do have, building it up with good care? If there is but little I can do, then I should at least do that little. If I can be trusted in small things, God will add to them.

This is a good week for me -- and in fact for all of us -- to spend some time reflecting on the many blessings God has given, and how we can more fully use them as God intends. A spirit of gratitude and an attitude of enthusiasm can accomplish with little what raw resources alone can never accomplish if not invested.