The last few moments of Ordinary Time we have before Lent rears its intimidating purple head in four weeks have me feeling, well … ordinary.
Coming off of the high of one of the best vacations of my life and straight into one of the hardest semesters of my college career, I’m not even sure how I made it to 4 PM daily Mass on this mundane Monday. But I did, exactly as He planned.
I slid out of my seat in our tiny chapel pew, trudged up the aisle, and offered a meek and weary bow at the altar before standing behind the podium to read the Word of God, lectoring normally being one of my favorite ways to serve.
And I tend to think as a lector, the words of His that are flowing out of me are just what somebody in that remarkably sizable congregation of college students needs to hear.
But today, they echoed out and reverberated not just in my ears, but in my heart … turns out the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians was just what I needed to hear:
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
to another faith by the same Spirit;
to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” (1 Cor 12: 4-12)
For me, the message was two-fold.
Your talents are not theirs.
For every girl you ever wished you were, they wished the exact same thing about you.
You know, the one girl who has effortless and charm; the one who is going on her third international mission trip; the one who excels every day at work and shatters standards without a drop of coffee in her system; the one who always knows the right answer in class and would totally be in Ravenclaw; the one who sees the spirit of the homeless man in the park and is brave enough to go pray with them.
Instead of looking at them through eyes of lust and envying what they have, why not look at our fellow woman through eyes of love and identify an opportunity to become educated and empowered by sitting down and sharing experiences over coffee? Learn about and praise each others’ accomplishments and notice what they do best? Be spurred on by them to better cultivate what we do best?
When somebody compliments you on the talent that, though it might be slightly similar to someone else’s, is only offered to the world by you, graciously accept those words. In that moment, they are flowing through one of His gorgeous vessels of grace as an affirmation from God that, “Yep, you were meant to do this”. I think the problem with young Christians, especially this one right here, is not that they are not humble enough but that they are too humble. False humility is as much of a pitfall as not having any at all.
Your talents are not yours!
“But one and the same Spirit produces all of these [gifts, abilities, service, workings, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, etc.], distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.”
The Spirit of God, the Spirit that is God, is the source of all these gifts that make you the gift you are. It is not you accomplishing these “mighty deeds”, but Him working through you to achieve these accomplishments and make you mighty.
Say it with me now:
Let that lion of fierce womanhood entrench itself firmly within as you reaffirm Luna’s truth in the mirror with a Gryffindor kind of pride. Because it is all your ordinary, everyday qualities that make you extraordinary you. They were perfectly chosen and form a unique one-of-a-kind combination to make up the only one of you there ever will be.
They’re gonna hear us roar.