The vast majority of the saints are just your regular run of the mill type people who lead exemplary lives. That seems kind of like an oxymoron doesn't it? How can you be run-of-the-mill and live an exemplary life at the same time? I guess "regular" is relative isn't it when you consider the stories of some of the saints. Obviously, you have your martyrs--those who died for their faith--but then you have others who were given some sort of super gift. Some were given the gift of healing. Some were able to levitate. Still others, like Padre Pio, were able to bi-locate---actually be in the two places at the same time (that would probably be the only way I would be able to follow through with my dream from yesterday's blog and go to Las Vegas with a bunch of buddies so that Abby wouldn't know I was there!) Am I the only one who has read about some saint and gone, "WHOA! Why can't God let me do that?!?!?!?"
I suppose the gifts God wants me to use aren't quite so spectacular. I suppose I should not look at what other people do and figure out what my gift is. In this week-end's second reading, Paul tells us that there are many gifts that the Holy Spirit gives but that Holy Spirt does not give us all the same gifts. Each of us receives a certain gift for us to manifest for some benefit. Paul says that, "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." (1 Corr 12: 8-10) It's not up to us to determine which of the gifts we receive. The Holy Spirit gives them to us as He chooses.
How do we figure out what our gift is though?? The obvious answer is to follow Mary's advice in this week-end's gospel reading. The reading is about the wedding feast in Cana. You remember the story. Jesus is at a wedding with Mary and his friends and the party runs out of wine. Jesus is sitting there with his friends and Mary--ever the mother--says to them, "Hey--they ran out of wine!" Jesus--the 30 year old guy hanging out with his buddies says, "what concern is it to me? poor planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on my part." (that last part may not actually be IN scripture-but I'll bet Jesus said it) Mary, being a woman, ignores him and says to the steward, "do whatever he tells you." Jesus follows his mother's wishes and changes jugs of water into wine.
The line that always gets me in that story is, "do whatever he tells you." We should follow that advice in our every day lives. Especially when we are trying to figure out what God's plan is for us and what gifts we are given. Ask Jesus. "Lord, help me to figure out my talents and help me to use them to fulfil your role for me." It may not be what you expect. My greatest gift may not be my great wit and sarcasm although I really don't know what else it may be. It may be my great skills as a husband ;-) or as a father.
Our challenge though, is to shut up and listen and "do whatever he tells you."