Opening the Door to our Talents
We are blessed in the Diocese of Ferns to have the Pope John Paul II Awards within some of our Secondary Schools. The Awards process enables young people to contribute to their parish, their school, and their families.
Each year I have the pleasure of reading all the Reflections which are a written account of what each young person did to achieve the Award as well as how they felt the process impacted on them. It is in reading these Reflections that I came across the journey of one young man, which to me, really demonstrates today’s Gospel.
This young man, having decided to take part in the Pope John Paul II Awards process, looked around his parish to see what he could do to help. He looked to his skills set and decided that he would offer to play the piano during Mass. With permission to do so, he quickly realised that the Church organ was very different to the piano he was used to playing but, as he had given his commitment, he decided rather than withdraw his offer, he would learn how to play the Church organ.
So, this young man took his talent, spent tireless hours adapting it to this circumstance and is now the organist for his local parish Church. And even though he spent so much time learning new music and making this weekly commitment, he demonstrates so clearly in his reflection, that this journey has enriched his own life and he feels so valued within his parish community.
I have read so many of these stories and each one reveals to me how important this type of award process is. It is the mechanism that opens the door and allows our young people not only to connect with their parish and their faith, but it allows them to realise their wonderful talents.
Time and time again I read about young people reading at Mass, singing in the Choir, handing out leaflets, cleaning the graveyards, writing for the parish newsletter; but no matter what job they undertake the journey of self-value and confidence is always the same. They begin to see how their actions have an influence on others, how their talents can contribute to their society, they begin to feel self-value and it encourages them on their faith journey.
In this weeks Gospel, Jesus is telling us we all have talents and rather than hiding our talent, there is an expectation that we will use these talents and develop them.
When I first heard this Gospel, I can still remember feeling anxious wondering if I had talents, if so, what were they and how was I to use them. I remember writing plans of what I could do, feeling the pressure of having to do something!! However, it was only when I truly said to God ‘Your Will Be Done’ that my plans were put aside and God laid out the path in front of me that truly realised the best of me and what I had to offer.
Even though it is so great to see the John Paul II Awards enable our young people to recognise and develop their talents, there are many other avenues that one can take to do the same. However, they all start with letting go our plans and letting God take the lead. He is our signpost. We enable that take place each time we say Our Father.
Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.