24 October, Saturday — God’s Gift To Us

Oct 24 – Memorial for St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop

St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807–1870) was a weaver and a seminary student with Blessed Francis Coll. He was ordained on 13 June 1835, and became a missionary in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. He directed retreats and founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians). He became Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba on 20 May 1850, and founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate.

Following his work in the Caribbean, Blessed Pope Pius IX ordered him back to Spain, where he became confessor to Queen Isabella II and was exiled with her. He had the gift of prophecy and miracles, and was reported to have preached 10,000 sermons and published 200 works. He spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

– Patron Saint Index

Ep 4:7-16
Lk 13:1-9

And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ” 

Do you know your gift? To many, that gift may also be considered talent. I for one, have never considered myself to be talented, nor gifted. I was one of those students who struggled to pass, let alone do well in school. When we were young, adults often ask the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As we grow older, our childhood ambition soon turns to become what’s often called a dream or life goal. We hardly consider it a vocation or gift from God. It is only in recent years that I started to consider my profession as more of a gift.  

As I think about my own career journey for the last 25 years, I marvel at the path that God has carved out for me. When I was much younger, my ambition was to be a flight attendant so that I could enjoy the perks of travelling, as well as to share that perk with my parents. Upon graduating from university, I wanted to be a poet or writer instead. I wrote a book of poems, but it never got published. I even considered being an English teacher if I couldn’t get a job as a writer. But I eventually got to do what I love – writing and travelling in my 20 years as a journalist. How good is God?! In a way, I consider my career a blessing and a gift from God, though I didn’t in the beginning. A few years ago, a friend highlighted that my charism is writing and I soon found myself writing passionately for the Lord since. He certainly has been preparing me for a vocation – one that uses words to tell my stories, to share my God-moments with others, to stir hearts and to build others up.   

Today, as I think about the gift that God has endowed me with, I know that he has given me exactly what I need – turning it from a personal passion to one that will help him build up the body of Christ. I have started to evangelise without even knowing it! The gifts that he gives us are not meant for ourselves, or to be hidden in our cupboards for safe keeping. But first, we need to identify what are his gifts and whether we are using them simply for our own personal gain, or for ministry – be it our ability to talk to people, our knowledge that can be translated into a service to others, or even the gift of voice. If we spend some time asking the Lord what to do with our skills and knowledge, I am sure he will not hesitate to point us in the right direction. We simply need to be open, to allow God to equip and use us, like labourers in the vineyard.    

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, you know what’s best for us and so we ask that you grace us with the gifts and talents that you think are most suitable, not the gifts that we desire for ourselves only. Then help us to have the courage to use those gifts for building your kingdom.      

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for being so generous with us, for gracing us with your many gifts which can be used to build up the church.

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