On Having Only One Talent

Ever since I first became a nun, I’ve always thought the only talent that matters in my life is a talent for living as a Benedictine. By that I mean that whatever other gifts and graces the Lord may have been pleased to grant, it is the ability to live the monastic life, albeit very imperfectly, that really counts. The married often have two talents to cultivate, marriage itself and parenthood; and to an outsider, neither looks easy. The single also have their own special way of being, a talent that I suspect demands more than either marriage or community life because it is lived alone, without the support that comes from the company of others.

Today’s gospel, Matthew 25.14–30, can be a little daunting as we scrutinise ourselves for evidence of talent and the fruitful living out of it. Perhaps we should reflect that what we are is what we are meant to be — not the work we do or the gifts we exercise but what we are. We must simply be the best we can: priest, religious, married, single, or parent. That is the talent we must cultivate and one day hand back to God.

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9 thoughts on “On Having Only One Talent”

  1. So clearly put. Our sermon at church this morning said much the same thing. We have to use our God given talents in a way that brings Him Glory and in a way that we can justify when we finally meet him.

  2. Thanks Sister Catherine. As I contemplate the future of my life in the church your words give me reassurance that I am making the right decision. May God continue to bless your digital ministry and those who find comfort in your words.

  3. Thank you. I am single, and have been questioning what God wants of me. Right now, I am sole caregiver for my Mom, 93, who is in poor health. We are grateful for what we have, but I am worried about mounting bills and little income. I want to be able to get a job, and to help out at food pantries, donate to fundraisers, etc., but it just isn’t possible. So, I pray. I pray for my Mom, for the Sisters, Priests, people involved in the Church. I pray especially for First Responders: Fire, Medics, Police. I offer prayers for the military, and for leaders of all countries to work towards peace. I pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet daily. I like to pray chaplets because of the repetition, where I can meditate while saying the little prayers. The chaplet of St. Michael helps me have hope in this violent world, and I pray it daily. During November, special chaplets for the Poor Souls. I know this is too long, but I have no one to talk with or share my thoughts with, and this post seemed directed especially at me! There’s no need to publish my post, unless you feel it might help someone else. Thank you for your writings, and for listening. God bless you.

    • May God bless you, Mariessa! I’m sharing your post because it clearly comes from the heart and shows you using the talent God has given you, despite some very demanding circumstances. We’ll keep you and your mother in our prayers.

    • I think we all question what God wants for us, some of the time. Sometimes it can feel like we are waiting and waiting for our chance to do something amazing.

      However, I do think praying for and caring for other people is an amazing thing too. We all save the world in little ways.

  4. Oh, the ‘squandering’ of the talent and the casting out of the slave from the vindictive master’s house. I find this the most difficult of the parables. It lacks forgiveness, kindness and mercy and takes no account of personal limitations. The poor slave at least didn’t lose his master’s talent.
    Your talent lays with communicating the Lord’s message to all and in developing an electronic religious community in addition to your domestic and liturgical responsibilities to your monastic life.
    Kindness is the underlying theme of what you do and what we, who are lonely in spirit, seek.
    As for Mariessa, my heart goes out to her in her predicament. But the Lord has entrusted her with great responsibility as well as love. Soon one door will close and another open leading to new challenges and opportunities for which she is admirably prepared. The Lord provides for all His children even if that means leaving this paradise on Earth for that in Heaven. We are all blessed by Him.

  5. Thank you, Dame Catherine, for reassuring me. I was trying to explain the parable of the talents to my children today and don’t feel I did very well. I will look for an opportunity to revisit it with them, with your words in mind.

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