The curse of the gifted

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

LET’S BE warned about this common and abidingly proximate danger. God has given us tremendous gifts. He has made us in his image and likeness. And so, he has given us intelligence and will, talents and skills, and so many other endowments that we even fail to realize.

We always have to remember that with these gifts we are meant to live our life with God, knowing, loving and giving him glory. Also with these gifts, we are meant to love everybody else, irrespective of how they are.

We have to be most wary of our tendency to use these gifts solely for our own purposes and interests. In other words, there’s always the danger of using them for self-indulgence alone, instead of giving glory to God and loving and serving others.

This sad reality is quite rampant today as it was since time immemorial. We cannot deny that we see many men and women who are highly gifted with intelligence, talents, beauty, good health, resources, power, fame, but who are simply indulging themselves with these gifts.

Instead of glorifying and thanking God for these gifts, and using them to serve the others, they just enjoy themselves with what they have. It is like they are stealing and making as their own what actually belong to God and to the others.

And this reality can be so self-deceiving that we hardly would notice that we are already falling into the trap of pride, vanity, arrogance, vainglory, and the like. The charm of these gifts can be so intoxicating that we hardly realize that we are already splurging into some kind of sweet poison.

This is when we can have what we may call as the curse of the gifted, a condition of life where this anomaly becomes invincibly embedded. What makes things worse is that precisely because of these gifts and endowments, we can be so very clever and smart that we can easily hide the anomalies and even mask them as something good.

We should be constantly aware of from whom our gifts and other endowments come, and for whom they are. For this to happen, we have to remind ourselves of who we really are. We are not our own creator and therefore neither are we our own creature. God is our Creator and we are his creatures.

Everything we have comes from him and rightly belongs to him. We have to live our life always with God at the start, middle and end of everything. And as a corollary, we have to live our life with our duty to love and serve the others always in mind. We have to live by this basic truth always.

It would certainly require us to be humble to acknowledge this basic truth and to start living in accordance to it. We have to vigorously fight against our tendency to be proud and conceited that would effectively blind us from this truth.

In this regard, we really would need God’s grace and our all-effort since we have to contend with tremendous enemies. The world culture, for one, is now dominated by the evil spirit of pride and all forms of self-glorification.

And so, whenever we are aware of the gifts and endowments given to us by God, especially the very special and uncommon ones, we should not be too happy and too eager to use them unless we refer them first to God, thanking him and asking him as to how we ought to use them.

We have to consider first the intention we have with respect to these gifts. We just cannot embark on some projects and adventure motivated only by our own purposes and interests. Such attitude can only bring us to disaster, even if we manage, at least for a time, to show some signs of success.