Saints and sinners and using God’s gifts

“Who am I to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt?” Moses asks. God responds, “You may not be anyone, but I am.” (Jason Simon from The Evangelical Catholic)

Most of us have a healthy dose of humility and see ourselves as unworthy sinners. In fact, we over-dose and excuse ourselves from doing God’s work because of our sins. That is just wrong!

God gives us talents we need to use in freedom as his sons and daughters. God does not choose the qualified, he qualifies the chosen. This may involve struggle, as we see in this example from Father Brendan McGuire’s “God Gives Gifts Without Merit”.

After sharing that he had been a victim of sexual abuse, McGuire relates a prayerful discussion he had with God. Why would God continue to allow this priest who abused him to have a gift of healing? He healed hundreds or even thousands.

“The Lord said to me that he gives his gifts to all of us without merit. He also gives us the freedom to use those gifts for the good of others… but I would argue back with the Lord:

‘I don't understand. That was a good plan. I get that, but now remove it because he is abusing; why didn't you do that?’

The Lord said: ‘I give everyone my gifts. And when they do not use those gifts…
I do not remove them. Brendan, if I did that then I would have to take a lot of gifts back from you.’

I responded. ‘Okay. All right then. I'll agree with that then. Okay. Let's stick with that plan.’”

The reality is that God gives his gifts without merit, McGuire says. “It is not because we deserve it… Our role as disciples is to discover those gifts and then use them for the good of humanity.”

McGuire shares the realization that we are all saints and sinners. We have all got our weaknesses. We have all failed to use our gifts for the fullness of what God has intended. But there is a deeper challenge to responding to the use of God’s gifts than the morality of our daily actions.

The devil would keep us busy agonizing over our daily sins and weaknesses. Ideally, he keeps us putting off the really great plans God has for all of us. “I’m just a nobody,” we say. “You may not be anyone, but I Am,” God says. “Aim a little higher!”
An old adage says, it’s not the things you do in life that you regret—it’s the things you don’t do. In a paper entitled “The Ideal Road Not Taken,” Cornell psychologist researchers found that, when asked to name their single biggest regret in life, 76 percent of participants said they didn’t fulfill their ideal self.

“When it comes to your dreams and aspirations, people are more likely to let them just drift by unrealized, and that’s what really stings later in life,” the Cornell study says.

“God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.” St Teresa of Calcutta

“Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” Jalaluddin Rumi

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn.” James Allen

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By Ken Rolheiser