15 November 2008

St. Gregory on the Use of Talents

"We should note that the worthless servant says that his master is hard, and nevertheless he refuses to serve him; he says he was afraid to trade with the talent he was given, when in fact he should fear its profitless return to his master. This servant is a figure of many in the Church, who are afraid to lead a better life, but not afraid to continue in the quagmire of their inertia; because they consider themselves to be sinners, they tremble to approach the way of sanctity, but they are not afraid to persist in their vices. . . .

"But they who find an excuse for evading a conversion and a return to a better way of life because they consider that they lack faith, who call themselves sinners and repel that master who could instruct them in sanctity, are like madmen who cannot use their intelligence, for they are dying and still in mortal dread of Life. . . .

"He who has not the gift of charity will lose even those gifts which he seemed to have. It is true charity to love your friend in God, and your enemy for God's sake. He who has not charity loses all the good he had; he is deprived of the talent he was given and, in the words of Christ Himself, he is cast into outer darkness. The punishment of him who voluntarily lived in interior darkness is to be thrust into exterior darkness; there against his will he must suffer the darkness of punishment because here he willingly enjoyed the blindness of his passion" (St. Gregory the Great, Parables of the Gospels, quoted in The Parables, by Archbishop Dmitri, SVS Press, 1996).

Thanks be to God, that our Lord has loved us and befriended us with divine charity, when we were His enemies. For our sake, He was cast into outer darkness, buried in the ground, in order to return from the dead with dividends beyond counting in His Resurrection. He has placed all of His talents at our disposal, entrusting to our hands and mouths His own holy body and His blood more precious than gold or silver. The coin of His realm is the free and full forgiveness of debts and trespasses, whereby He increases the wealth and riches of His Kingdom with the salvation of sinners. He is not a hard man; He does not take, but gives to those who did not know Him. Indeed, He sows where He has not reaped, in order to gather to Himself those who would otherwise be lost. The punishment and passion of Him who voluntarily lived in our darkness, is for us the light of the revelation of the Glory of God in the preaching of His Gospel.

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