“Ask a Priest: Did I Do Right by Hiding My Singing Talent?”

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Q: Recently, I was asked repeatedly by my mother to sing for a relative’s birthday party. I rejected her time and time again. Even her cousins came to ask me to sing, but I declined. My mom said she felt hurt and embarrassed, especially since she knew I could sing well, and I ruined her reputation as I was displaying a proud attitude. My sincere intention was just to not steal the glory from God as I didn’t want people to praise me, and I wanted to be humble. Did I do anything wrong? When I consulted God, he inspired me to resign myself to his will, but I’m not sure how to. Please help me. – A.L.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Since I don’t know all the details of the situation and of your family, I’ll try to keep the advice general.

First, the ability to sing well is a gift. And like many gifts, it is meant to be shared for the benefit of others. It is also a means by which we can give glory to God.

So, ideally you should see your gift as something to be used for the good of others. Your singing in this case could have helped to enhance a family event.

There is nothing wrong if people compliment you for a talent. In that case you could thank the person and point out that the credit is due to God, who gave you the gift.

In the future you might want to be more open to using your gift. Remember the fate of the servant in the parable who buried his talent and left it unused.

On a positive note, recall Jesus’ exhortation, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).

Sure, our talents can tempt us to pride, which is why we constantly need to work on humility.

Humility, however, doesn’t mean hiding gifts, but rather using them and giving thanks to the Giver.

I hope some of this helps.


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