Step #1: Lectio / Read
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
I have always been one to hold onto little things. From as early as I can remember, I always cherished the little gifts and trinkets that I would receive. I still have the same teddy bear from when I was a newborn. Of course, I don’t sleep with it anymore, but I still hold onto as a memory of my childhood. Yet, there are some other weird things that really didn’t make any sense to want to hold on to. For example, when I was six I took a birthday present to a friend’s house for his birthday and, for some strange reason, I asked for the gift bag back after he opened it. Really? The gift bag?
Reading this parable through this lens now makes sense. At first glance, it may seem rather cruel for the Lord to rebuke the servant who received one talent and proceeded to bury it out of fear. We can resonate with him as a child would with their parent. We wouldn’t want to lose what our parents gave us as a gift. They’d be mad at us, or worse yet disappointed in us.
In truth, however, it is exactly the opposite that the Lord wants. The English word “talent” comes from the Latin “talentum” or the Greek “talanton.” These words mean a balance or scale of weight, especially in the sense of money. In our day, we know talents to be the aptitudes we have for certain activities. What we receive, though, as talents, tip the scales towards us in a selfish way if we keep them to ourselves. This weighs us down in our own ego, and does not allow us to think or move beyond our own selves.
What the Lord is challenging us to do through this parable is that the talents that we receive from Him, must be invested in love of others and of God. We must use the talents that we have to show the love of God to others. What the shame would truly be, as in the parable, is if we used the gracious gifts we received in a way that doesn’t edify others and glorify God. The Lord wants us to use that which He’s given us for the sake of good because He loves us and wants us to reach our full potential with the gift of His grace! If you can write well, write in a way that edifies others and glorifies God. If you can play sports well, perform in a way that respects the dignity of the other players and glorifies God. In all things, as Saint Ignatius would say, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, “To the greater glory of God!”
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
Lord, what talents have You given me?
Have I been selfish in the use of my talents?
In what way can I offer my talents to glorify You and to reveal Your love to others?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"Lord, help me to not focus on myself, but on You."
"Good and gentle Jesus, help me to realize that everything good I have is from You."
"Holy Mary, help me that I may bring Christ to others through my life as you did through yours."
For the Rest of Your Day...
Take one talent you know you have and the next time you are to do it, pray and offer it for the glory of God.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Kevin Poynton.