My Branches Bear Much Fruit
“For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have abundance: but for those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” Matthew 25:9
Jesus knew us in our mothers’ womb. He already had a plan for us, and that plan includes the talents he gives us. As we read in Matthew, those talents are not to be kept to ourselves, they are meant to be multiplied for the betterment of all. We are meant to take our gifts and use them to lift others up, and to help others use their gifts in the same way. In fact, our talents do not actually belong to only us, they belong to the community. If I have the gift of singing, it is not meant for me to use solely for my own good. I may be good enough to have a career in music that may help sustain me; however, that is not enough. I am called to share my voice with all. I must take my voice, and share it with the congregation. So, in essence everyone has the talent; as we now have music at mass to help us in our prayer.
As an Oblate Associate, I have come to appreciate community more than I could have ever imagined. As a religious order, the Oblates are called to live differently than most Diocesan Priests. They would typically live in community and everyone would work together to support that community as well as the broader community they serve. I know I have had a number of conversations over the years about how difficult it must be for priests to live alone.
Living in community as some religious do can be such a gift. Brother Anthony Kowalczyk is a great example of this. Brother Anthony came from Poland in 1896 and served in a number of congregations until his death in 1947. He lived for some time here in St. Albert as well as in Lac La Biche, Saddle Lake and eventually Edmonton. He was trained as a Blacksmith as a young man and he was able to use those skills to serve the Oblates and the communities he lived in for his entire life. By sharing these gifts with the community, it gave others the ability to share their talents. These skills were only part of what he brought to the Oblates and students at St. Johns school; he had a special gift of prayer. Students and colleagues came to him for support and prayers, that they may not have gone with to others. He contributed in so many ways to those that he lived with and cared for; and everyone was better for it. He used his talents to support others so that they could share their gifts as well.
We are all a Brother Anthony in our communities. We all bring gifts that only we can bring; and because we do, the community has them to share as well. The man that had entrusted the talents was disappointed because he understood the talents could be multiplied and used for more than the one that was hidden away. And so, how will we invest in our community? How will we use our God given talents to create an abundance of joy, and love?
By Serena Shaw