Reflection on Our Ability

OpenBible

 

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven will be as when a man, going on a journey. summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.”  (Matthew 25:14 NRSV).

There are some who are going to be surprised by what I am beginning this blog reflection with.  I am a disabled man.  I have Asperger’s Syndrome (also known now as an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, ASD).  I have other mental health issues and physical limitations.  I walk with a cane.  I require a handicapped parking placard.  I use a motorized cart when I go grocery shopping.   I was declared disabled in 2011.  It ended my long and beloved career as a church musician and organist.  I have lost a lot of my energy and ambition to do many of the things I was once able to do.  It is a struggle to adjust.  It is difficult for me to tell someone else that I need their help.   I know what it is to have had abilities to do things that I wanted and needed to do without thinking much about it; to this point in my life when I have to think a little bit longer to do just about anything).

What does this Gospel of Matthew have to say to me and all of us when Jesus said in the parable, “He entrusted his property…….to each according to his ability”?   Quite frankly I am tired of the guilt trips I have gotten because folks think my talents are being wasted or not used.   They have been used.  God did God’s work through me for the long years I did what I did.  But, the time has come for me to let it all go, and take what God has given me in this moment, in the here and now and let God use me according to my ability.

That is why I now live a Benedictine Monastic life as a hermetical.   I am not part of any community per say at this time.  But, I am still who I am called to be, and entrusted by God with God’s property to cooperate with God’s grace with the abilities I now have.

These words from Matthew are about letting go of what we want to do, or want to have to do what we think we should do.  These words tell us to allow God to draw us all into a deep, contemplative awareness of God, and find God’s opportunity for us in the mystery of God’s perspective of each of us.  God sees each of us through the lens of the love of Jesus Christ and the power of God’s Holy Spirit.   God sees the great potential we have in the work God has given us to do in the here and now.  God does not expect us to jump through hoops if we don’t have the legs and muscles to be able to do so.  God calls us as we are, with what abilities God has given us to seek union with God, in the purity of heart; by which we seek God for God’s sake alone and not what God can do.

The first step of humility, then, is that we keep ‘the reverence God always before our eyes (Ps. 35:2)’ and never forget it.  (The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century, by Sr. Joan Chittister, p.79).

What is God entrusting you with according to your ability.

Amen.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

see  http://www.cos-osb.net

Advent Reflection: Keep Watch in Stability

Solitude

“Stability calls us to believe that if we stay where we are, God will find us.” (Lonni Collins Pratt & Father Daniel Homan, OSB. Benedict’s Way: An Ancient Monk’s Insight for a Balanced Life, p.55).

In our day and age of faster than lightening electronics and internet technology, if we don’t like something we can just change it.  Iphones, clothing, appliances can all be found and exchanged.  In short, we are spoiled brats.

Yet, for all of the materialism and consumerism that gives us things that make life better, there is one thing that has not changed; life can still stink.  Relationships become wounded.  People that we love pass away.  Cars still break down.  Computers and iphones still crash.  Jobs can be lost.  Retirement pensions that we once thought would keep us economically safe until we die, get taken away and we are left with nothing.  Friends we have trusted all our lives betray us.  Priests and those entrusted with helping us in our faith, disappoint us.

As Lonni Collins Pratt in this chapter on Stability writes that there are times when change in our lives is necessary and good.  I recently found this out when It became necessary for my family to find a new Parish.

The Benedictine Vow (and Lonni uses the good word “virtue’ here) of Stability is about grounding ourselves in God where we are in the here and now.  It is about not running away and trying to hide, or wear a mask.  Stability is about living with faith and trust in God and not the particular thing or even the situation itself.  Stability is about searching for God in the midst of things as they are, to see what God might be saying to us through them.  This concept is another aspect of contemplative prayer.  Contemplative prayer is not an activity or a moment.  Contemplation is listening to God speak to our hearts through what is in the here and now, because we are aware of God’s grace calling us and molding us.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB