November 3, 2015
Brothers and sisters:
We, though many, are one Body in Christ
and individually parts of one another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
let us exercise them:
if prophecy, in proportion to the faith;
if ministry, in ministering;
if one is a teacher, in teaching;
if one exhorts, in exhortation;
if one contributes, in generosity;
if one is over others, with diligence;
if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Raise your hand if you feel like you have to do everything. Or maybe you don't consciously feel like you have to, but you find yourself feeling guilty over "missing out" on an opportunity or event, even when, realistically in the big picture, you have your hands full. Or when you see that someone else is particularly gifted in a skill, you feel envious of them, or wonder what you aren't doing right that you can't perform to the same level. I think as we look around at others it is easy to identify what they do well and often much more difficult to see our own gifts.
This was put in perspective for me when I took a spiritual gifts inventory with some Frassati folks. It involved answering questions about what parts of your ministry bear supernatural fruit. And at the end of the inventory, no one stood up and said, "I have all the gifts!" That would be ridiculous (and pretty unlikely). Rather what we realized was the vast array of talents that God has given to those He has called to His ministry, and how that array of gifts might fit together to form a cohesive, functional group.
St. Paul says very clearly that "we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us." While that doesn't mean we shouldn't try new things or explore what gifts we might have, it does mean that we will probably be more effective in certain areas than in others, and when we recognize and accept our talents we can use them to further God's kingdom.
The corollary to this is that we all--yes, even you!--have gifts to give. And St. Paul says that if you have a gift--use it! "Let us exercise them!" Gifts lying fallow are the like the talent the man buried in the field. If we ask the Holy Spirit, He will provide us with the opportunity to employ it, even if it's in a way or at a time you don't expect.
On a mostly unrelated note--we are now in the month of November, when the Church especially remembers the dead. One gift we can all give to the souls in purgatory is to pray for them and to gain indulgences on their behalf. Even many our fellow Catholics have forgotten the suffering of the souls in purgatory (tempered only by the sure knowledge that they will one day see the beatific vision) and the dire importance of praying for them daily. If you have an opportunity to attend a Requiem Mass, or to make an offering to have a Mass said for someone who has died (even if it was a long time ago), you are doing a great work of charity.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us!
St. Martin de Porres, pray for us!