by Mary McEntee McGill
Here we are — coming to the end of our learning year. A number of parishes today conduct their religion education programs through the summer months. Many offer vacation Bible schools or day camps. But a good number of our volunteers are looking forward to some well-deserved time off, a chance to pray and read and increase their abilities and skills in sharing faith with children, teens, and adults.
As our responsibilities come to an end for a while, I thought that it would be good to take time in our gathering prayer to reflect on our gratitude and to thank God for the many gifts that have been given to us.
Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-12 (There are many gifts but the same Spirit. There are different forms of service but the same Lord.)
Commentary: Each of us has been given special gifts and abilities. An example could be our parish youth minister and youth ministry team—people who love the time they spend with our parish teens and young adults. Wild conversations and late-evening programs are seldom problems for these people. They have the spiritual gifts of energy and wisdom in guiding youth in faith and understanding.
Perhaps one of your co-workers can always bring some humor into your times of stress or frustration. This person has the spiritual gift of keeping others aware of the joy in the work at hand.
It is important for us to recognize and reflect on our own spiritual gifts and to thank God for them.
In prayer, consider your place of work. Are you a person who can be patient and consistent in your efforts? Are you kind to and supportive of your co-workers? Thank the Lord for these gifts and pray that you use your spiritual gifts at your place of work.
In prayer, consider your home. Do you spend quality time with your spouse? With your children? With family members? With friends and neighbors? Are you a good cook, a good listener, a good problem solver, a good faith partner? Thank the Lord for these gifts and pray that you use them in ways that make you a strong sign of Christ’s presence to others.
In prayer, consider the gifts you share in ministry. Can you draw pictures to explain lessons you teach? Are you able to design contests that help build your students’ knowledge? Thank God for bringing you to this community, for the ministry to which you have been called. Pray that your spiritual gifts continue to grow as you bring God’s love to others.
In prayer, consider your vacation. Are you able to take time to rest in God? Are you a person enthusiastic about new ideas and new adventures for yourself, your family, and your friends? Thank God for giving you time to rest, time to visit with friends, and time to go to new places and explore new things.
In prayer, consider this season of summer. Do you have the gift to give yourself the time to read and study, to open your mind to new understanding and wisdom? Thank God for your knowledge and the knowledge you might gain this summer and the gift of seeing and understanding new things.
Do you have a special gift you can share with us today? Think about it. Your gift might relate to work or play or ministry or all these things. All gifts are good when shared with love, and all these gifts are from the Lord.
Are there special gifts you see in those around you? Share these, too! (Allow time for quiet reflection followed by sharing.)
Each of us holds special spiritual gifts to share as we give glory to God. Take time this summer to appreciate the gifts of others and to rejoice in your own gifts.
Turn now and bless another with a statement about a gift you see in that person.
May the Lord bless you with a wonderful summer!
Mary is the Pastoral Associate for Religious Education and Liturgical Education for Holy Trinity Parish in Dallas, TX. She is the author of Stories to Invite Faith Sharing (Resource Publications).
Copyright 2010, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.
This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, February 2010.
Image Credit: appleboxcreative/Shutter Stock 564205492