REFLECTION FOR TODAY
August 28, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.’” Matt. 25:20-21
Our gospel reference today forms part of the parable of the Talents. This parable presents us with three persons. Two of the servants worked hard and invested their master’s money shrewdly and were able to give their master a 100% return on his investment. This was very impressive as the master rewarded them handsomely. The third servant who was too risk- averse and overly cautious paid the steep price.
From this parable, two of the servants display stories of great success, while one a story of failure or tragedy. The tragic story ends by the master telling the servant who buried his money that he is a “wicked, lazy servant!” But both success stories end with the master saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” Let’s focus upon these success stories.
Take a moment to consider the challenge at the heart of this parable. When God created you, He gave you a unique set of talents, a combination of skills and abilities. Then when you were baptized and confirmed, He pour our spiritual gifts upon you as well. God has invested in you, and He is looking to see what kind of return He will receive on His investment.
When you consider your own life, what gifts has God given to you that He wants you to use for His glory? Are there gifts buried away that remain stagnant or, even worse, are used for purposes that are contrary to the divine plan for your life? Some of the more obvious gifts you were given within your very nature are your intellect and will. You may be extra-talented in one way or another. These are all gifts given on a natural level.
God often bestows supernatural gifts in abundance when we begin to use what we have for His glory and for the salvation of others. For example, if you work to share the truths of our faith with others, God will begin to deepen your supernatural gifts of Counsel, Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding so that you will be able to speak about God and His will.
All seven of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are among the clearest examples of supernatural gifts given by God as follows: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord. The prayer that concludes this reflection comes from a traditional novena to the Holy Spirit and not only asks for these gifts but also gives a short description of them for a better understanding.
Reflect, today, upon the fact that what God has given to you, both on a natural and supernatural level, must be devoted to the service of God and others. Do you do this? Do you try to use every talent, every gift, every part of who you are for God’s glory and the eternal good of others? If you don’t, then those gifts dwindle away. If you do, you will see those gifts of God’s grace grow in manifold ways. Strive to understand the gifts you have received and firmly resolve to use them for God’s glory and the salvation of souls. If you do, you will also hear our Lord say to you one day, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Lord, grant me the Spirit of Wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal; the Spirit of Understanding, to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth; the Spirit of Counsel, that I may choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven; the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with Thee and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation; the Spirit of Knowledge, that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints; the Spirit of Piety, that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable; the Spirit of Fear of the Lord, that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Jesus, I trust in You.