Grace to you!
A had an enriching discussion with one of the most highly gifted individuals I’ve known. Our conversation went from general issues of life and society to the specific issue of the wisdom in diversity.
We walked through some key figures who are highly gifted. From the highly lyrical such as William Shakespeare to the most poetic such as Dante Alighieri and Robert Frost; the pearl of loving kindness such as Saint Theresa of Lisieux, to the incredible power of miracles and mysticism such as Saints Padre Pio and Catherine of Siena, or outstanding preachers such as Saints John Chrysostom and Anthony of Padua (or better Lisbon), or orators such as Martin Luther King Jr. The list is endless, and you have yours. We see that what one has complements what the other doesn’t have.
From the Christian tradition to other traditions, you will noticehow each one has something unique about them and how each has what another doesn’t have. One thing is clear, no individual has all the gifts in the world. No one is a singularity of gifts.
None of us has all the gifts needed to build our family, community, church or society. God, the master planner and excellent creator, has made all things so much so that one necessarily depends on the other to reach the zenith.
In the Catholic social thoughts, we see this expressed in ideas of solidarityin which we unite with one another, as well as subsidiarityin which we complement—not suppress—one another. No one has all it takes to be the best if not in relation to the other. This reality was well articulated in the Pauline writing to the Corinthians chapter twelve.
It was a common analogy among the Greeks, Ancient Near East peoples and Romans of the time of Paul to use the analogy of the body to describe how each one is networked to the other. Saint Paul adds a deeper meaning to that analogy by describing the relationship of believers to one another and to Christ as that of the body and the head.
We are members of Christ’s body, the Church (1 Cor 12:27). Each member is networked in the most mysterious way to another through baptism, in one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13). We are born again in Christ in the Spirit as one family. Pope Pius XII in his 1943 encyclical, Mystici Corporis Christi (The Mystical Body of Christ), wrote extensively about the deeper theology of the body of Christ, as the mystical body. It is a pastoral letter worth reading.
Saint Paul teaches us that as members of one body, each and every one of us, plays a unique role in this body. We are gifted according to who we are, and our gifts help to build one another in this body.
No one should see themselves as the most important. Also, no one should be envious of what another has as to lead to bitter jealousy and division in the community. Nor should anyone see themselves as possessing all the gifts. Everyone has been gifted. What everyone has is equally important.
After all is said and done, in the grand scheme of things, you (and me) are a piece of the puzzle. Your piece is as important as another’s. Get to work with your piece. We need one another for the mosaic of beauty. We need one another to serve Christ’s ways.
Praying for the discerning to identify our gifts, see how they fit in relation to others and use them without envy. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 24, Ordinary Time: 1 Cor 12:12-14, 24-31; Lk 7:11-17]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.