Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Our riches" fragments from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD-Teach me, O Lord, to be a faithful, wise administrator of Your goods

2. Today's Gospel (Lk 16, 1-9) teaches us by means of a parable - which at first sight seems a little disconcerting - how to be wise in administering the great riches of our life of grace. When Jesus spoke this parable, He certainly had no intention of praising the conduct of the "unjust" stewart who, after wasting his master's goods during his whole stewardship, continued to steal even when he learned that he was to be discharged. However, Jesus did praise him for the clever way he made sure of his own future. The lesson of the parable hinges on this point: "The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And I say to you: make unto your friends of the mammon of iniquity; that when you shall fall, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings." Jesus exhorts the "children of light" not to be less shrewd in providing for their eternal interests than the "children of darkness" are in assuring for themselves the goods of earth.
We also, like the stewart in the parable, have received from God a patrimony to administer, that is, our natural gifts, and more particularly, our supernatural gifts, and all the graces, holy inspirations, and promptings to good which God has bestowed upon us. The hour for rendering an account will come for us too, and we shall have to admit that we have often been unfaithful in trafficking with the gifts of God, in making the treasures of grace fructify in our soul. How can we atone for our infidelities? This is the moment to put into practice the teaching of the parable by which, as St. Augustine says, "God admonishes all of us to use earthly goods to make friends for ourselves among the poor. They, in turn, becoming the friends of their benefactors, will be the cause of their admission into heaven." In other words, we must pay our debts to God by charity toward our neighbour, for Sacred Scripture tells us, "Charity covereth a multitude of sins" (1 Pt 4,8). This does not mean material charity alone, but also spiritual charity and not in great things only, but in little ones too - yes, even in the very least things, such as a glass of water given for the love of God. These little acts of charity, which are always within our power, are the riches by which we pay our debts and put in order "our stewardship".

....Bestow Your gifts on me, O Lord our God, so that made rich by You, I may serve and please You, and every day return thanks to You for all that Your mercy has done for me. I cannot serve You or please You without making use of Your own gifts to me" (cf. St. Augustine).