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Using Our Talents
Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. 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. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two 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. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”
Opening Prayer: Prayer from St. Augustine
Lord my God, I believe in you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Insofar as I can, insofar as you have given me the power, I have sought you. I became weary and I labored. O Lord my God, my sole hope, help me to believe and never to cease seeking you. Grant that I may always and ardently seek out your countenance. Give me the strength to seek you, for you help me to find you and you have more and more given me the hope of finding you. Here I am before you with my firmness and my infirmity. Preserve the first and heal the second. Here I am before you with my strength and my ignorance. Where you have opened the door to me, welcome me at the entrance; where you have closed the door to me, open to my cry; enable me to remember you, to understand you, and to love you. Amen.
- Each According to His Ability: It can be tempting to compare our talents to those of others. Doing this can rob us of energy, and can even deter us from using our talents. This parable mentions how the master gave these talents “each according to his ability.” Our Lord knows what he is doing. We can be confident that he expects us to use what he has given us for his glory. It is not so much about how many or the types of talents we are given, but what we choose to do with them that matters to our Master.
- Paralyzed by Fear: Many times we can allow fear to hold us back from using our talents. We over-calculate what could happen if we start a project, give our time to others, or begin to develop the talents we have. This fear can paralyze us, like it did the third servant. The Master doesn’t want our perceived limitations to cripple us or hold us back. He has fully equipped us with all we need to bear fruit in our own lives and in the lives of others. “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13).
- Good and Faithful Servant. Everything that we receive in our lives, the blessings and the difficulties, can be turned into good fruit. St. Augustine’s own life is a testament to this. How many people have been rescued from their own sinful lifestyle by his example? His immorality was transformed into a talent at the service of the Lord. Nothing, if offered to the Lord, can deter us from receiving the Master’s joy and bringing that joy to others.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, so often I fail to recognize and be grateful for my gifts and talents. Thank you for them. Please help me to not be afraid to put them at the service of others, trusting that my efforts can be multiplied by your grace. Show me where you would like me to invest my time and talents, and allow me to experience your joy as I do so.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on one of my talents and how I can offer it to someone concretely.
For Further Reflection: Reflect on St. Paul’s words from the first reading for the day reflecting on how we can multiply the talent of love: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-11.
Lisa Small was consecrated to God within Regnum Christi in 2001, is the Communications Director for the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi in North America, and is the National Formation Director for the Regnum Christi Mission Corps.