We need to use the gifts God gave us
It's clear that Jesus sets the bar very high when he speaks of our potential.
- At one point he tells his disciples: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt 5:48)
- At another point he tells them: "Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these. (Jn 14:12)
So he expects us to be as perfect as God, Himself — and to do ever greater works than he did while he was on earth? Isn't that setting the bar too high?
No, he doesn't expect that from us. But he is reminding us that life is a pilgrimage during which there is always room for improvement. That certainly was the meaning St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, took from Jesus' admonition in the Gospel of St. Matthew when he spoke to 80 young students in Coimbra, Portugal, centuries ago.
He told them that the Jesus was ready to help each and every one of them pursue perfection "on condition that we have a vessel of humility and desire to receive his graces, and that he sees that we make good use of the gifts we have received and cooperate diligently and earnestly with his grace."
He reminded his audience that there were many persons who saw the great graces the students were given, and therefore "rightly hope for more than ordinary results from you."
Don't we all hope for more than ordinary results from ourselves and our loved ones?
It's a matter of both developing our gifts and of sharing them. One without the other shortchanges both God and neighbor.
Things to think about:
- Jesus is ready to give his grace if I am ready to receive it.
- Have I made good use of the gifts God has already given me — by both developing and sharing them?
- Do I live the life that people expect of a Christian who has had so many advantages in life?
Adapted and used with permission from Take Five: On-the-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Kris D. Stubna, Copyright © by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.
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