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Sharing My Gift
Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to really reach you in my prayer, to hear you, so I can discover the satisfaction and happiness that comes from serving you and serving others.
- It Was the Least I Could Do: How do I make my light shine? What do I measure out? How do I understand what Jesus is talking about? This is really about the essence of being a good Catholic. Many Catholics think they do enough by going to Mass on Sunday and avoiding mortal sin. Actually, this is the minimum requirement. There is more—a lot more. If at the Pearly Gates St. Peter asked us, “Why should I let you into heaven?” would he be satisfied with the answer, “Well, I always did the bare minimum.”
- Why Did God Put Us Here?: The Church has never hidden what God wants us to accomplish in this life. We are called to become saints. Being “nice” or “good” is a stepping stone, but not enough to fulfill our calling. As saints, we are not expected to be weird or strange. Sanctity means becoming all that God hoped for when he made you. It means reaching our total fulfillment as human beings—and that’s different for each person. A saint is someone who tries his or her best to do God’s will (not necessarily perfectly!) every day—and does it because he or she loves God. This is how we come out from under the bushel basket and let our light shine.
- I Am a Gift for Others: What is God’s will for me? We serve him best when we serve others. This often means sacrifice, but it’s worthwhile because sacrificial love is the only thing that brings us happiness. Think back to the moments when you achieved real happiness—deep down satisfaction that doesn’t fade away with time. Wasn’t it when you sacrificed for the good of another or for God? Wasn’t it a moment when you let your light shine instead of hiding it? Wasn’t it when you measured out whatever you had to offer rather than hoarding it? By putting others’ satisfaction and comfort and pleasure ahead of our own, we are fulfilling God’s command in this Scripture. God made us to be a gift for others, and the more generously we measure out that gift the happier we will be. We may even be surprised how much our little light shines when we finally let it be seen!
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, maybe I never realized the real reason you put me here, but now I know. Help me to be generous with my time and talents, using them for others and for you so that I will leave the world a better place than I found it, at least for the people surrounding me. Increase my love, so I use my time and talents for the right motives, not so I will become famous or rich or any other selfish reason.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look for opportunities to serve others because that is the main way I serve you, who I find in the least of my brothers.
For Further Reflection: The Missionary of Wall Street by Stephen Auth.
Father James Swanson is from Miles City, Montana, joined the Legionaries of Christ in 1983, and currently works in Atlanta, Georgia. He enjoys books, craft beers, and extreme birding.
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