Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
March 3, 2008
True faith frees us to spend our talents
Faith is a powerful word.
Just the utterance of it stirs profound emotions.
The Oxford Dictionary describes it as "reliance or trust," with the second meaning, "belief in a religious doctrine."
For many, faith means trusting God in every aspect of life. This is, after all, a God who loved us so much he gave us his Son Jesus who died to redeem our sins. He is also a God who has a plan for each and every one of us.
And there's the rub.
How do we know what his plan is for us? And what if it slams smack dab against what we want to do?
As Hildegard of Bingen wrote in The Play of Virtues, "You do not know, or see or understand him who made you," followed by her dilemma, "God created the world: I do him no harm but I wish to use it!"
Each of us is gifted, by God's grace, with talents. The talent is like a seed, but it is up to us to nurture it, working and often stepping into the unknown to develop it to its full splendour.
This risk can be anything from going back to university, to moving to another country, to opening your heart to love, to running for public office . . .
Then you hit a bump in this road less travelled. Does this mean you are going against God's plan, thwarting his will?
C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, simply describes these trials and tribulations as God's maturation of a Christian.
"God is forcing him on, or up to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving than he ever dreamed of before . . . because we have not yet the slightest notion what he means to make of us."
Then there is the buffeting by society's and family expectations. How many lives are twisted to satisfy others' notions and beliefs?
"But of course you'll join the family business."
"We've already sent out the invitations."
"I know that is what God wants of you."
Trapped by these impositions, that seed, that gift of talent from God, is like the buried talent from the parable in Matthew.
The master gives one slave five talents, another two and one one. The slave with five worked and doubled his talents as did the second with his two. But the slave who had the one talent was wracked by fear and buried his talent.
The master praised and rewarded the slaves who doubled their talents. But when the snivelling slave told him how he buried his talent, the master gave that talent to the one with 10 and banished the coward who did not make the most of his talent into the outer darkness.
Faith provides us with the gumption - as Gramma would say -- to dare to dream, dare to discover, dare to make a plan, dare to take the first step.
This is when we call on God, Jesus, Mother Mary, the beloved saints, praying to them - constantly - for guidance as we honour that talent.
As that gift flourishes, so does that faith. Faith is like steel. The more it is buffeted, the stronger it becomes.
"If I had not faith, I would have committed suicide without hesitation," writes Thérèse of Lisieux.
And one recalls Oprah Winfrey during her first day's broadcast after the terrorists' 9/11 attack. Her emotions raw, she has been talking with an audience member when the person told Winfrey they did not believe in God.
Shock filled Winfrey's face as she responded, "I don't know how anyone could get through anything like this without faith."
Even sweet Jesus' faith was shaken on the cross as he called out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
As Easter approaches, let us honour our faith by identifying our talent and, through work, courage and faith, let it radiate in glory to God.
- Lasha Morningstar
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