Skip to main content

Spiritual Reflections

Community of Creative Souls responding to the needs of our time
by sharing words of faith and hope.

October 9, 2023
Talents by Mary Njai

The word talent in classic Latin (talenta) meant a balance, a weight, or a sum of money. In medieval Latin talent meant an inclination, leaning, will, desire. In modern English talent is the ability to do something well.

When asking in the community for people to contribute one can be asked to think of the 3T's of Time, Talent, and Treasure. When we think of talent a common first thought is someone famous in, for example, sports, or music. The temptation is also to think that for those we view as having talents, it just comes naturally, and I have no such talent so I have nothing to give. That could not be further from the truth, each of us has talents or abilities and we do not have to be world famous to put them to good use.

In the parable of the talents To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one to each according to his ability- (Matthew 25:15). Each of our talents is our ability and there is nothing too small that one cannot think of doing it. In the parable, each was given a different number of talents, but all were expected to use them well irrespective of the amount of the talents. Each of us has talents, whether it is five, two, or one, each of us according to our ability.

Whatever the number of our talents we are to use all of them for the better. I would say that the talents can be looked at from the side of what we contribute to our professional life as we spend many hours a week at it so we may ask ourselves, are we using our talents to our best ability in the profession we are in? On the other side is the talents we have to use in our family and community life. All the talents that we have, we should make good use of them. Using our talents for good is like making a good investment so that there is a good return.

In the parable of the talents “The one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money” (Matthew 25:16-18). Two of them used their talents and got a return, but the third did not use the talent and even went further to bury it. We are challenged to make good use of our talents and not bury them in the ground. Using our talents, no matter how gifted we may be in times of time, talent or treasure, we require to put some effort so sometimes it may be tempting to take the easier route and bury it in the ground that way we do not have to see it so will not think of it. Using our talents is in our day to day life and it starts with those right next to us, beginning with using our talents to help those within our own families and communities.

For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away (Matthew 25:29). We should seek ways to use our various talents so that we may be rich in the non-material sense of the word where we are rich for what we have enriched in other people's lives by using our talents. One can only give what they have so have to be vigilant and make sure we keep our talent box available and not also make our talents become a source of pride for us but rather of service. We should also resist the temptation of constant recognition for the use of our talents or always expecting gratitude as there are times when our talents will not be noticed or acknowledged. It is great to get thanked and recognized, but if it does not happen, we should not despair from using our talents and we should keep our eyes on that we are using our talents to help others.

What is my talent? What is it that I am good at that I can share beginning with those closest to me and to the community? You have been entrusted with these possessions of talents, what are you doing with them? May our spirits be illuminated to see how we can use our talents for the good of others and we may grow rich in our spirit for our service to others!

For example, cooking may be your talent, do you set some time to just surprise your family and friends with a super meal or to prepare a meal to take to the local shelter; or your talent may be baking do you offer to bake for the next family birthday; or your talent is providing wise counsel to struggling teenagers, you could offer to volunteer to be a mentor; or are you at a point in your life where you have more time on your hands, do you offer to visit those in nursing homes or in hospitals and spend quality time with them; can you use your talent of money to help with various causes to help your community?

June 12, 2023
Generosity - Time, Talent, Treasure - Reflection by Mary Njai

“For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.” Matthew 12:44

On hearing the word wealth….the first thought may be to do with material wealth and specifically money. However, what we can contribute to the treasury can be our Time, Talent or Treasure.

By human standards, when making monetary contributions, the way we rank them is on the basis of how much each person has contributed. However, this passage of Matthew is challenging us that how much someone has contributed is itself not the ultimate measure of how much has been contributed. The measure of our contribution is rather the spirit with which the contribution is done. The poor widow put just a few cents into the treasury, while others put in large sums of money into the treasury, yet the poor widow's few cents are considered a bigger contribution because she gave all that she had.

All sorts of amounts of contributions are put in the treasury, but the true worth of the contribution is the spirit with which we give it…the generosity we have. This is as true for our time that we give or our talent that we give as it is for the treasure of money that we give. For all these different ways to contribute, whether large or small, the challenge is whether it is given with a generous spirit.

How much do I put in the treasury? Do I give with humility? Do I give with being detached from wealth and not treating it as the center of everything? What is my intention of contributing to the treasury? Is it just for prestige, or for recognition, or with the hope of getting a favor back in the future, or for a social media photo opportunity?

May we use our time, our talents, or our treasures with humility for the service of others. May we be generous!

May 7, 2023
Acts of the Apostles 6:1–7; 1 Peter 2:4–9; John 14:1–12 Reflection by Dyann Brown, OPA

Today’s gospel comes from John in which Jesus assures the disciples that to know Him is to know God the Father. Initially, they did not understand such a profound statement. They thought it incredulous. According to the gospel:

Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.

To some, the statement seemed as if Christ was God’s gatekeeper. In my budding faith journey, I certainly understood it that way. Yet, through maturity in life and faith, we learn that Christ was never meant to be the gatekeeper but rather the one who helps us lay a better path to God.The lyrics from the chorus of this well-hailed hymn, To God Be the Glory, tells us:

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,Let the earth hear his voice;Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

Christ dwells in the Father and the Father in Him. He lived—and lives—among us in divine personhood. Along our journey with Him, Jesus paves a well-hewn and honed path that leads each of us to a prepared dwelling in His Father’s house.

February 5, 2023
Isaiah 58:7–10; 1 Corinthians 2:1–5; Matthew 5:13–16 Reflection by Dyann Brown, OPA

“You are the salt of the earth." In today’s gospel of Matthew, Jesus uses these simple yet wise words to convey to the disciples the value we have to ourselves and towards our neighbor. As a precious and uncommon commodity, salt was used to preserve food and also as Roman currency. Most importantly, it was used as a symbol of lasting peace. No wonder it was agreed that to be called the salt of the earth or to be worth your salt is one of the highest compliments one can be paid. It’s one of the basic lessons I learned as a child under my mother’s gentle, abiding tutelage.

Be worth your salt.

Whether laborer, artist, homeless or techie, each of us has value. Jesus warns us though in this gospel that our value may be wasted and our light diminished when we don’t use our deeds and acts for others to glorify our Father. We should not hide our light. We cannot be meek in this instance. Be proud to burnish that light at our core by daily acts for and with others. Don’t hide worthy virtues of dependability, goodness, and mercy; be emblazoned in your light to yourself and others.

Burnish your light.

The charism of our vowed Dominican religious congregation with lay Associates is laudare, praedicare, benedicere—to praise, bless and to preach the word of Christ through our deeds and actions with others and ourselves. We burnish our light as we use our given talents to affirm that charism, we order of preachers. This gospel reminds us how we glorify our Father in ways far and wide and deep.

Every February our country shines a light on the achievements of a people long systemically disenfranchised. Let this gospel encourage us every day to share our own light and welcome the light we see in others.

Go forth. Be a light in the world in His name.

December 10, 2022
Courage – ‘Whom shall I fear?-’ Reflection by Mary Njai

“The Lord is my Light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Everyone has the experience of could be from things directly affecting us (for example, losing a job or being sick), or things we can see are imminent unless a change happens (for example being unable to pay rent due to no job and facing eviction), or things happening around us or the world that makes us concerned (for example ongoing wars, threats of wars, famines). It seems that right, left and center...fear is the extent that it can overwhelm us and we are unable to do anything or we are unable to think things through and act in haste which can have bad outcomes. Many a time one can have fear of the consequences of an action for example fear to apply for a dream job due to fear of failure if one does not get the job, or fear of changing something about yourself that is good for you but you fear the amount of work you have to do or the consequences on relationships you have.

Rational fear in itself is not bad as it prevents us from doing things that can be a danger to us because fear can make us pause before doing something. The problem is when the fear is not rational and it either makes us take no action when we should or makes us do something when we should step away or makes us take the wrong action when we should have taken a different one.

When the psalmist says ‘whom shall I fear?’, in using the word fear the Psalmist is alluding to the fact that fear exists and the Psalmist is not saying that we shall not ever have fear. Since fear exists it can be normal fear to make us cautious or the fear can reach a point where it can take over one’s life and one can live in a constant state of fear. In asking the question the Psalmist is calling us to reflect on what fear is doing to us in our life. So yes fear is there...but we should not have our fears take our lives over. We are to face the fear we have (being enlightened...The Lord is my Light) so that in facing our fears and making decisions and continuing with our day to day life we effectively conquer the fear ....we have courage...and can say ‘whom shall I fear?’

What are you afraid of in your life that may be making you unable to do things? What aspects of the fear may be taking over your life and affecting not only you but those around you, or the things that you should be doing? Prayerfully reflect to have light so you can see the situation clearly and have the courage to act appropriately. Reflect to have light to be able to take the next step. In reflecting to face your fears and deciding to continue on your life’s moving taking the next have courage. Like the Psalmist may you too say ‘The Lord is my Light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?’

May your spirit be illuminated....courage!

October 2, 2022
Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14 Luke 17:5-10 Reflection by: Dyann Brown, OPA

Mustard seed. Faith. Christianity.

A Christian life is filled with prayer and worship, and at its core is faith. That core is never static and increases as our faith increases. Today’s gospel from Luke focuses on the depth, understanding, growth, power, and patience of our Christian faith.

The apostles asked our Lord to increase their faith. To them, it seemed a plain yet earnest request as they struggled with their faith. Would the Lord respond to their request with an
instant application of increased faith? To demonstrate that their faith required a bit more, He told them that faith, like a small mustard seed, needs to grow and be nourished—not by a one-time application/infusion but by the ongoing power of our active trust in Him to care for, protect and provide for our needs. This comes as a gradual building of our faith muscle as our relationship with Him deepens. That is the essential power of faith.

“So should it be with you.
When you have done
all, you have
been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable
servants; we have done
what we were obliged to do.’”

Our fast-paced, hurry-up world—South Korean culture styles this pace as bali-bali— advances all forms of creativity, innovation, and new discoveries for the planet. Yet, simultaneously, each life needs balance with the sacred. An enriched life calls for a deepening faith-relationship with the ultimate Creator. It is through our faith we can slow down—through prayer, worship, reflection, and contemplation to be aware of God’s presence. It is in these moments, whether fleeting or sustained, that we hear His voice and know how deeply He loves us. The deeper our faith grows, the deeper is our relationship with Him.

A tenet of our Dominican charism is to praise—a praise in which we strive for His embrace. In the midst of all we do and all we are, there God abides. Be ever patient with others and yourself.

April 10, 2022
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Isaiah 50:4–7 Philippians 2:6–11 Luke 22:14—23:56
Reflection by: Dyann Brown, OPA

On this sixth Sunday of the Lenten season—known as Passion Sunday—we commemorate Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. His pathway was laden with palm branches and garments joyously placed by the rejoicing crowd as He rode on a beast of burden. This Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and the end of the solemn season of Lent. Next Sunday, a new liturgical season begins as we celebrate the fruition of God’s promise to mankind.

This is the holiest of weeks in the liturgical calendar because as the days progress, we witness not only Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem but also the Jewish authorities’ and Roman overlords’ conspiracies to unseat and kill this pretender king or Messiah and the disciples’ denials of knowing Him and betraying—all leading to His arrest (Holy Thursday) and death on a cross (Good Friday).

But the mystery after His death is revealed next Sunday; so, stay tuned for next Sunday’s glorious culmination as the Lenten season ends and the imminent joy of His triumphant resurrection.

How often have we felt lost and denied Christ’s entry into our hearts? Have we joined conspirators in following the crowd against our better angels?

From the first time palm branches and garments were laid as a pathway for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, we the baptized faithful now lay bare our souls and welcome His grace and love to enter us as we await His return.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.