Tag Archives: gifts

A Lesson on Generosity

Today as I was walking to meet a friend for brunch, I caught myself looking at the elderly men and women selling tissue packets near the train station and I was so overwhelmed with emotion thinking about the relative poverty that my fellow Singaporeans were facing. It was too much for me (someone who actually had money to give away) to deal with… So, I reacted in the only way I knew how: I didn’t give any money, I smiled and walked on, throwing all emotions to the wind.

Two hours later, I found myself with a lost wallet. I immediately went into a “OMG! I could have given the cash to all those who needed it” mood.

So I prayed (with St. Anthony of Padua’s intercession) and said, if I found it, I’ll give the money in my wallet to whoever needed it.

I did find it. A kind staff member at Starbucks Singapore found it and kept it in a safe for me.

And here’s the despicable bit: Seconds after I regained possession of my wallet, I caught myself debating whether or not I should really give the money away.

God, help my poor and stingy soul!
Here you are — the Creator of all things, the Giver of all life, existence Itself — dying for an insignificant person like me every single day especially when I sin against You; and here I am being stingy with the gifts you have given me, the gifts which I have in no way deserved.

I did give the money away. I didn’t need it today. Maybe the person I gave it to needed it more than me.

Back to the emotions I felt in the morning. Walking away didn’t solve anything. God gave me so much and yet I couldn’t share my gifts with others because of the hardness of my heart. I failed to be a good neighbor and I failed to see the dignity of the human person in others.
All I had to do was be the change I wanted to see in the world.

What a humbling experience, and what a lesson on charity.

Dying to Self

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
—John 12:24

IMG_7355Dying to self means letting go of all the attachments that keep us from God; it is a purging of all that is not love. This means loosening our grip on our own plans, our desire for comfort and convenience, our tendencies toward selfishness and sin.

We can try to be the boss of our own lives, or we can give Jesus permission to call the shots. If we let Jesus take control, we will face the Cross, but we will also begin to see everything in our lives through His radiant Light.

Only when we throw ourselves upon God’s providence will we find ourselves—our true selves, who God created us to be. Dying to self is not an act of self-abasement but rather an act of faith—that when we cut away all the clutter we will find goodness underneath, that in the core of our being we will find the presence of God. Indeed, this dying to self is the seed of our salvation.

By abandoning our own agenda, we open our hands to receive the truest desires of our hearts. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and He will give us gifts greater than any of the earthly attachments we cling to.

Originally posted at Frassati Reflections.
Featured image: PD-US

Jet Lag

Here it is, 3:44 AM in New York City and I am wide awake because it is 9:44 AM in France. I have been back from my pilgrimage to France for a few days now and I thought that I had been adapting to the time change pretty well… evidently not. My inconsistent work schedule most likely has some part to play in this. I am either getting up really early to open the store or getting up really late to close the store. I am severely lacking consistency. In addition to my unstable work schedule, I do have quite a few things on my mind. Coming back from my pilgrimage has been a true emotional roller-coaster to say the least, especially going back to work.

Work has become almost unbearable. France allowed me to see my work life with refreshed eyes and it helped me realize how much chaos my work creates. I truly dreaded the first day because I was scared of what I would walk into. The people I work with are wonderful but can be unpredictable. I never know what I am going to get with them. The pilgrimage ignited a deeper relationship with God and Mary and they definitely had my back as I walked back into my work and ensured that I had a joyful return. There was a select group of people I was very excited to see and it was reassuring when I realized that they were just as excited to see me.

I had brought back assorted gifts for different coworkers. There was one coworker in particular who wanted a magnet. I must confess getting her this magnet was actually more out of guilt. I had brought back some Colorado magnets the last time I went home and gave them to a few people. She saw them and asked if she could have one. I was not planning on giving her one then simply because I did not think that we had that close a relationship. She later revealed to me that she collects magnets and if I could bring her back a Colorado magnet the next time I go home she would appreciate it — she even offered to pay for it. The old Catholic guilt seeped in and I was bound and determined to get her a magnet from this trip.

I ended up buying her a magnet highlighting the city of Lourdes. I tried to make it as non-religious as possible just because I didn’t know what her background was. Her reaction to the magnet was something I would have never expected in a million years. I gave the magnet to her Monday and I told her my reason for going to France was for a pilgrimage. She smiled and nodded her head; this was the typical reaction I was getting from my coworkers. I assumed she wasn’t sure what a pilgrimage was. The next day she came up to me and inquired more. She started asking me specific questions about Lourdes and pilgrimages there. I was impressed, she was the first person at my work who actually knew why Lourdes is so important to my faith. She even talked about Saint Bernadette and how she grew up watching the movie “The Song of Saint Bernadette.” It was one of her favorite movies.

Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes

Throughout the day she continued to ask me questions about my religion. It started very general, basically just telling her why I went, but evolved into discussing her faith and how she had fallen away over the years. She told me that she was baptized but never received any other sacraments. She has a daughter who does not practice any religion and her granddaughter is a self proclaimed atheist. I could hear the regret in her voice and tears even welled up in her eyes. I said that I have had my struggles with my faith and had my moments of questioning. She asked me how I found my way back to my religion. I told her that I first had to reconcile my relationship with the Lord and I did that through prayer. She added that she never has received a good answer from her granddaughter as to why she refuses to go to church. At the end of the conversation, she seemed to be more determined to re-address the conversation with her granddaughter — she is older now and may be able to articulate her feelings better. My coworker was still in tears and I could tell something was still bothering her. She brushed it off saying she was just going through a lot of things lately. I didn’t want to pry plus we really needed to get back to work. I ended up just giving her a hug and said that no matter what she was going through she was a beautiful person and I was always there if she ever wanted to talk more. The rest is in the Lord’s hands. I will pray for her of course, along with her daughter and granddaughter.

God and Mary truly surprised me with this one. This coworker was one of the last people I would have guessed would understand what I encountered in Lourdes. The conversation we had blessed me just as much as it blessed her. It allowed me to relive my experiences I had in France and I was able to give a more honest account of my trip instead of the general, “oh I had a great time.” I pray that my affirmation of my faith will encourage her to revisit hers and maybe bring her back to the Lord.

___

Originally posted at Kitty in the City.
Featured image: Mosaic in the Rosary Basilica, Lourdes / PD-US

I’m Dreaming of a Contemplative Christmas

Together with “exciting” and “joyful”, “stressful” is a word that is associated with the days leading up to Christmas and with the Christmas season itself. Increased rush hour traffic, shopping lists and parties to squeeze into tight budgets and schedules, tasks lists in the preparation of the Christmas dinner, caroling rehearsals, and year-end work to wrap up in the office all pile up at this time of the year. One is tempted to ask, “Is Christmas worth it?”

The antidote to all this stress of the season is to readjust one’s idea of a perfect Christmas, and to aspire for a contemplative one: one spent lovingly gazing at the Holy Family in Bethlehem, and reflecting on what must have been the sentiments of Mary, Joseph, and the adoring shepherds and Wise Men.

Given that the frenzied holiday environment is not conducive to contemplation, a contemplative Christmas does not just happen. It must be deliberately pursued. Here are some suggestions to achieve a contemplative Christmas:

1. Do not skip Advent. The point of this penitential, yet hopeful, season is to prepare for Christmas through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The Sacrament of Penance is a great way to spiritually prepare oneself for Christmas during the Advent season.

2. Schedule pious practices scattered throughout the day: spiritual reading, praying the rosary, fifteen- or thirty-minute periods of silent prayer, daily Mass if possible, and other pious practices one likes.

3. Convert Christmas preparations into prayer. For example, while choosing, buying, and wrapping Christmas gifts, one can pray for the recipients. The same thing can be done while writing Christmas cards, shopping for and cooking the Christmas dinner, or taking the family out to see the city Christmas light displays.

4. Offer up the inconveniences of the holiday season. There will always be reasons, big or small, to complain about the holiday season. Perhaps it is the first Christmas after the loss of a loved one, or perhaps the holiday season aggravates certain family issues, or one is suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Perhaps on some days, the increased rush hour traffic just gets to one’s nerves. Perhaps one is an introvert for whom the thought of attending just one more party is a trial. Fortunately, all these inconveniences borne with a smile can be pleasing gifts to the Christ Child.

5. In relation to the previous suggestion, think of what the Holy Family had to go through. Thinking about Mary and Joseph having had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem with the available roads and transportation at that time, and with Mary about to deliver a baby, helps one to put on a serene smile as one endures rush hour traffic from work to that obligatory party with one’s relatives.

These suggestions will not eliminate holiday stress. But they are tried and true ways to convert the holiday frenzy into true, meaningful, joy that comes from contemplating the Holy Family at Bethlehem. Regardless of what one must endure during the holiday season, a contemplative Christmas is always a happy Christmas.

Sacramentals: holy gifts

The lady on the bus

Since watching Touch, my boyfriend has had a habit of reading number plates and, now that he’s Catholic, relating them to the faith. One day he was riding a bus when he noticed “MAS” on a car, and chuckled to himself, seeing it as a reminder to go to Mass. His seatmate asked what he was chuckling about, and after he explained, a little old lady piped up.

“Are you Catholic?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“This is for you,” she smiled, handing him a laminated cruciform prayer card.


The Orthodox in the Holy Land

While I was on a Lenten pilgrimage in the Holy Land early this year, my parish group stayed at the Saint Gabriel Hotel in Bethlehem. It was my childhood dream to visit the lands where Jesus walked, but now that I was there, I was constantly troubled by a deep regret from the past; I couldn’t put it out of my head, even though it was really stupid and futile.

At breakfast, I was wearing my Annunciation leggings from a hipster store in Melbourne. An Eastern Orthodox priest (probably Serbian) came up and gave me two holy cards: one featured an icon of Christ, and the other, Mary. He couldn’t speak English, but through those holy images, he communicated a world of meaning to me: though things might seem bleak and disordered, Our Lord and Our Lady are with us always, and so are our brothers in Christ, including our separated brethren. It was a warm dose of heavenly joy amidst grotty modern-day Bethlehem.

Some days later, at Jacob’s Well, after venerating all the icons in the Orthodox church, I followed my tour group to the bus. I waved goodbye to the portly Arab gentleman manning the book store, and he beckoned me back.

“This is for you,” he said, handing me a jewelled Jerusalem cross, set with red and white stones.

“Shukran!” I gasped, giving him a bear hug, and sprinted up the courtyard stairs to my waiting group. I didn’t ask his name, but I wear that cross each day, and pray for him and his people.

Sacramentals: Binding us to Christ and one another

Jesus’ existence was a scandal: how could the transcendent, omnipotent God lower himself to become man, bound by the limits of earthly existence? Yes, the Incarnation is a mystery of love, and central to our faith. We are enfleshed souls, not Gnostics who spurn the body for the spirit; Christ has redeemed our flesh, and God touches us through our senses. That is why Catholics, the Oriental Orthodox and the Eastern Orthodox have always expressed our faith through physical objects. God created the world good, and everything can be sanctified and become a means of growing closer to Him.

As secular gifts are tokens of love and reminders of those who love us, so are sacramentals tokens of the heavenly love which binds those who live in Christ. What are some sacramentals which are important to you? And can you find people in your life who may appreciate a spiritual boost through a physical reminder of God’s grace?

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The Parable of the Talents

Parable of the TalentsThe Parable of the Talents is a Kingdom Parable couched in terms of reward and punishment,1 outlining the consequences awaiting those who have been entrusted with God’s word and given the freedom and ability to make it bear fruit. God seeks the active cooperation of the faithful in the establishment of His kingdom,2 and failure to act is a dereliction of duty and sin of omission. The parable is a sober warning that the People of God are expected to use the gifts they have been given, or suffer the pain of banishment on top of the loss of what they had received; at the same time, it is a promise of abundant increase for those who fulfill the will of the Lord.3

The Parable of the Talents immediately follows the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, which is explicitly introduced by Jesus as referring to the Kingdom of Heaven.4 The two parables are told following Christ’s foretelling of His Second Coming, the Parousia heralding the end of this world.5 At this point in the Gospel, Jesus has just departed the Temple, where He roundly chastised the scribes and Pharisees for neglecting the teachings of the Law, namely judgment, mercy and faith.6 He predicted their certain doom for ignoring the Word of God and being hypocrites, seeking only their personal comfort and reputation,7 at the expense of the fulfillment of God’s will.

The parables are told while Jesus speaks privately to His disciples of the signs that will accompany the consummation of the world, in response to their queries on the subject.8 They are related to the disciples as the Messiah approaches Jerusalem and they directly precede a description of the Last Judgement as well as Jesus’ declaration of His impending crucifixion.9

Thus, the Parable of the Talents can be seen as a direct commentary on the behavior of the religious leaders of the Jewish nation, the scribes and the Pharisees.10 Like the lazy servant, they have failed to invest what they had been entrusted with: namely, the holy teachings which are the key to the Kingdom of God.11 Instead, they have perverted God’s teachings, burying them beneath their convoluted religious restrictions and regulations,12 oppressing the faithful with heavy tithes.13

Moreover, the parable has eschatological import, being an illustration of the reckoning that will occur at the Second Coming of Christ. It demonstrates the necessity of being ready for His impending advent. This is paralleled in the preceding parable where the foolish virgins, lacking oil for their lamps, pay the penalty for their unpreparedness and are left out of the wedding celebration.14 Throughout Holy Scripture, the wedding feast is a symbol of Heaven,15 the Lamb’s Supper which is the union of Christ and His Bride the Holy Church.16 At the same time, Jesus instructs his listeners that the Kingdom of God is not commencing at once upon His entry into Jerusalem, as those who anticipated a worldly Messiah expected.17 The master, representing Himself, departs for an extended, unspecified period of time.18

Jesus follows the Parable of the Talents with an account of the Last Judgement, where He will judge everyone according to their deeds, separating the just from the wicked, sending the latter to eternal punishment while bestowing eternal life upon the former.19 Likewise, in the parable, the master rewards or penalizes the servants according to what they have done with his property in his absence. The talents are thus clearly symbols of the ability to perform the works of charity which fulfill the Law.

The line introducing the Parable of the Talents is a segueing into that parable from the one of the Virgins, stating: “Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.”20 Matthew emphasizes that Christ’s return will be unexpected, with judgment falling suddenly upon the wicked and unfaithful.21 Before the Parables of the Virgins and the Talents, Jesus is recorded as referring to His second coming as being like the Great Flood which took mankind unawares, then drumming in the point with the parable of the thief coming unforeseen in the night, as well as the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants whose master returns at an unanticipated moment and deals with them accordingly.22 The Parable of the Talents can be seen as an extension of the point made in the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants.

The Parable of the Talents begins with a man preparing for his departure to a distant land by bestowing his property upon his three servants,23 dividing his assets between each of them “according to his proper ability”;24 this implies that they are expected to manage those assets.25 In Judaism, as can be seen throughout the Old Testament, the relationship between God and Israel was often referred to in terms of Lord and servant;26 more particularly, the leaders of God’s people were called His servants.27 Therefore, Jesus’ disciples would have instantly recognized this parable as reflecting upon the behavior of the Jews,28 as well as all who purported to be faithful followers of Christ.

The immensity of the trust which the master has placed in each of his servants is comprehended when one realizes the value of a talent. A single talent was worth about 6,000 denarii and constituted the equivalent of about two decades’ labor.29 Considering the shorter life expectancy at the time of Christ, a talent represented just about the entire sum earned in an average man’s life.30 Thus, a talent could be figurative of the graces received for a lifetime, with the varying amounts signifying different graces received by members of the faithful.31 It was a massive sum which a mere servant would have been unable to repay.32

The two servants who have been entrusted with much more, in line with their abilities, trade their master’s property and earn even more, doubling the amounts in their keeping.33 The third servant, in contrast, does less than the bare minimum of depositing the money in the bank;34 in fact, he buries it in the ground,35 where it remains utterly unproductive until the master’s return.

In Jewish numerology, the number ten symbolized absolute completeness, and the number five indicated semi-completeness.36 One may interpret the first servant as having the best ability to employ what he receives, since he is allotted the maximum of five talents and gains five more with them, reaching the symbolic level of perfection. In addition, the number two was one short of the number of holiness, while the number four referred to the quarternity of the universe, encompassing Heaven and Earth and testifying to the glory of God.37 Thus, although the second servant receives less than the first, he is still able to serve his master and symbolically glorify God through his actions: in Judaism, the wealthy were regarded as blessed by God.38 Both the servants are praised equally by the master for their efforts and acumen, for they have both done just as well in producing full returns of the amounts entrusted to them.39 They “are received with equal favor by the Master of the household, who looks not to the largeness of their profit, but to the disposition of their will.”40

Moreover, “the greater the gifts, the greater the reckoning for them”41 – the master commends the second servant for earning two more talents, thus presenting four in total; but if the first servant had come back with just four, that would have been a grievous loss.42 Religious leaders like the scribes and Pharisees, who were learned and blessed with a deeper understanding of the scriptures than the average person, would reasonably have been expected to render more to God;43 similarly, faithful disciples of Christ who have been enlightened by His teachings are more culpable than those who do not know Him that well.

The third servant is given a lesser, though still considerable amount, because the master knows he is not ready to handle more than that.44 Yet, he is inhibited by fear at taking the risk of investing the money,45 and in burying it seeks to divest himself of the responsibility for any loss.46 However, in doing so, he breaches his trust.47 As a servant, he is duty-bound to seek his master’s interests, but he acts self-interestedly, with cowardice.

His self-protective mindset is revealed in the speech he makes when he is brought to account by the master.48 He blatantly accuses his master of being a hard man, because he reaps where he has not sown, and gathers where he has not strewed.49 He has misconceived the character of his master, who was generous with his faithful servants.50 The servant tries to excuse his own behavior by claiming that his fear of the master motivated him to bury the talent,51 a common way of preserving money in Christ’s day.52 He returns the single talent, declaring, “Behold here thou hast that which is thine.”53 He did not fritter the money away for his own ends, and he hopes he might be recognized for his frankness and cautiousness in remitting the exact sum he was given.54 His delusion is soon exposed.

The servant’s clumsy attempt to excuse himself is turned against him;55 the master uses the servant’s own words to condemn him: “Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed.”56 Instead of truthfully admitting his guilt or even expressing some gratitude for the great trust placed in him, the servant tried to shift the blame and maligned his master in the process.57 This of course enrages his master, who adds the epithet “wicked” on top of decrying the servant for his sloth, chastising him for his intolerable pride.58

The servant’s protest, “I was afraid of thee,” brings to mind Adam and Eve after their transgression, hiding for fear of the Lord.59 They too tried to pin the blame on someone else, with Adam pointing out to God that it was the woman He gave him for company who enticed him to sin.60 God punished them for their disobedience, removing His gifts from them and banishing them from paradise.61 The unprofitable servant is condemned to the same fate, with his talent given to the most productive servant,62 and he himself thrown out into the dark to lament his sorry end.63

In contrast, the good servants are entrusted with even more, since they have proved their faithfulness, and they are invited to enter into the joy of their lord.64 This is a direct allusion to Heaven, where those who are judged worthy are allowed to enjoy the bliss of the Beatific Vision and complete union with God.65 In the end, the first servant is rewarded even more greatly than the second, as he receives the unfaithful servant’s talent.66 This is fitting because he has had to work harder than the second in order to reap five more talents.67

Furthermore, in Christian tradition, the talents have been taken to signify particular gifts from God, with the five talents corresponding to the five senses, which are the means to knowledge; the two talents standing for understanding and action, and the single talent representing understanding alone.68 Thus, the servant with the five talents was appropriately awarded the additional virtue of understanding.69

The master, representing God, reaps where he has not sown – this indicates His decision to save the Gentiles, who were not originally endowed with the seeds of salvation inherent in the Law and the Prophets, but in the end come to constitute part of the Kingdom of God, His property.70

The parable, just like Jesus’ other parables, is set in an ordinary situation, teaching the lesson that “the eschatological occurs within the everyday.”71 Christian faith and the spiritual life are at one with human earthly existence.72 One encounters God – represented by the master – in commonplace events and is held liable for one’s freely-chosen actions or lack thereof in response to the privileges and accompanying responsibilities accorded by Him.73 The servant deliberately chose not to do any good with the talent, and for that exercise of his free will, he must pay for his decision to neglect his master’s affairs. The master was a long time away,74 allowing ample time for the servants to carry out their duties, so practically speaking the capital must have surely depreciated with rising inflation in the meantime. This is analogous to the spiritual life, where God gives sufficient time for the salvation of souls,75 and if virtue is not willingly exercised, it is lost.76 The lazy servant acted as one obstinate in sin, unwilling to invest in the spiritual life, instead dedicating his God-given abilities to earthly things.77 The master is merciful, for he does not even require the servant to perform the more onerous task of reclaiming the money if he had banked it; the master would have done it himself.78 Similarly, as long as we commit ourselves to God’s work, He will attend to its fulfillment.

The Parable of the Talents is related at a particularly crucial moment in Jesus’ mission, shortly before His descent into Jerusalem to undergo His Passion and Death. It is His indictment of the scribes and Pharisees for willfully neglecting the will of God in the interests of self-preservation. Ironically, in seeking to preserve his life, the faithless servant loses it.79 The parable is also an answer to Christ’s disciples’ question regarding the eschaton, instructing them on the behavior expected of them as servants of the Lord.80 As they await His Second Coming, they cannot remain idle, but must prepare for the coming of the Kingdom, using all that God has given them for their task.

___

1 J.C. Fenton, Saint Matthew. Penguin Books (London, 1971), p. 398.

2 Ibid.; Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D, “Parable of the Talents” The Crossroads Initiative [http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/800/Parable_of_the_Talents.html] (accessed 10th October 2013).

3 Dan Otto Via, Jr., The Parables: Their Literary and Existential Dimensions. Fortress Press (Philadelphia, 1967), p. 18.

4 Matthew 25:1.

5 Matthew 24:3.

6 Matthew 24:23.

7 Matthew 24:33, 24:27-28.

8 Matthew 24:3.

9 Matthew 25:31-46, 26:1.

10 Joachim Jeremias, Rediscovering the Parables. SCM Paperbacks (UK, 1966), p. 131.

11 Ibid.

12 Fenton, op. cit.; Via, op. cit., p. 39.

13 Matthew 23:23.

14 Matthew 25:10.

15 C.H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom. Charles Scribner’s Sons (New York, 1961), p. 93.

16 Revelation 19:7, 9.

17 Fr Francis L. Filas, SJ, Understanding the Parables. Burns & Oates (London, 1959), pp. 124-125.

18 Ibid.

19 Matthew 25:31-46.

20 Matthew 25:13.

21 Dodd, op. cit., p. 115.

22 Ibid.

23 Matthew 25:14.

24 Matthew 25:15.

25 Daniel Patte, The Gospel According to Matthew: A Structural Commentary on Matthew’s Faith. Fortress Press (Philadelphia, 1987), p. 345.

26 Dodd, op. cit., p. 119; Psalms 135:22, Isaiah 49:3, Isaiah 44:21, Luke 1:54.

27 David: 1 Kings 8:66; Solomon: 1 Kings 8:30, 52, 59; Isaac: Daniel 3:35; Jacob: Psalms 77:71, Isaiah 44:1, Isaiah 45:4, Baruch 3:37.

28 Dodd, op. cit., p. 119.

29 William Ridgeway, “Measures and Weights” in Leonard Whibley, (ed). A Companion to Greek Studies. Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1905), p. 444.

30 Fr Robert J. Carr, “Homily: How Not to Be a Useless, Wicked, Worthless, Lout.” Catholicism Anew [http://blog.cancaonova.com/catholicismanew/2011/11/13/homily-how-not-to-be-a-useless-wicked-worthless-lout/] (accessed 10th October 2013).

31 St Jerome, St John Chrysostom & Origen, in St Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea. [http://dhspriory.org/thomas/CAMatthew.htm#25] (accessed 9th October 2013).

32 Ibid.

33 Matthew 25:16-17.

34 Matthew 25:27.

35 Matthew 25:18.

36 “Symbols”. 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14155-symbol] (accessed 10th October 2013).

37 Ibid.

38 John Martignoni, “The Parable of the Talents (Pt. 3)”. The Men of St. Joseph [http://www.menofstjoseph.com/blog/?p=15] (accessed 10th October 2013).

39 D’Ambrosio, op. cit.

40 St Jerome, in Catena Aurea, op. cit.

41 St Gregory, ibid.

42 Joe Heschmeyer, “Reflecting on the Parable of the Talents: You Are Not St. Francis”. Shameless Popery [http:// catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/11/reflecting-on-parable-of-talents-you.html/] (accessed 10th October 2013).

43 Jeremias, op. cit., pp. 131-132.

44 Origen, in Catena Aurea, op. cit.

45 D’Ambrosio, op. cit.; Matthew 25:25.

46 Fr Robert J. Carr, op. cit.

47 Dodd, op. cit., p. 118.

48 Via, op. cit., p. 101.

49 Matthew 25:24.

50 Patte, op. cit., p. 346.

51 Matthew 25:25.

52 Fenton, op. cit., p. 399.

53 Matthew 25:25.

54 Dodd, op. cit., p. 118.

55 St Jerome, in Catena Aurea, op. cit.

56 Matthew 25:26.

57 St Jerome, in Catena Aurea, op. cit.

58 Ibid.

59 Genesis 3:10.

60 Genesis 3:12-13.

61 Genesis 3:16-24.

62 Matthew 25:28.

63 Matthew 25:30.

64 Matthew 25:21, 23.

65 John Martignoni, “The Parable of the Talents (Pt. 2)”. The Men of St. Joseph [http://www.menofstjoseph.com/blog/?p=16] (accessed 10th October 2013).

66 St Jerome, in Catena Aurea, op. cit.

67 Ibid.

68 St Gregory, ibid.

69 Ibid.

70 St Jerome, ibid.

71 Via, op. cit., p. 106.

72 Ibid., p. 107.

73 Ibid., pp. 101, 104.

74 Matthew 25:20.

75 Origen, in Catena Aurea, op. cit.

76 Sts John Chrysostom & Jerome, op. cit.

77 St Gregory, op. cit.

78 Matthew 25:27; St John Chrysostom, “Homily 78 on Matthew”. New Advent [http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/200178.htm] (accessed 9th October 2013).

79 Cf. Luke 17:33.

80 Patte, op. cit., p. 347.