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.