Summary: Your being increases in the measure you give it away.

The third servant received only one talent.

Many of us can relate. He’s had some hard knocks in life. He buried his one talent out of fear, the mother of all character defects.

Action alleviates anxiety. If you want to feel better right away, ask God to make you of service.

It’s not just about what God is going to do for you—and he will bless you. It’s also that God wants to do things through you.

Your being increases in the measure you give it away.

Success’s sense of happiness is based upon merit and having earned peace of mind through one’s own efforts, by God’s grace.

The third servant called his master a demanding person.

Actually, the third servant was a demanding person, and the master was not.

The third servant projected mean thoughts onto his master who represents an aspect that the third servant had disowned.

E.g. a wife said that she worries a lot about money and feels her husband should too. She accused him of not acting responsibly when in fact he’s very responsible. What really made her feel mad was his peace of mind about money. What she really wants is her peace of mind about money.

Regarding, inter-personal communication in marriage, our First Reading says that a husband can entrust his heart to his wife. Share your feelings, your disappointments and hopes. The verse says, “Her husband, entrusting his heart to her.”

And the greatest treasure in a marriage relationship is on-going service to God. The verse says, “she reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.”

2. The Master said to the first two servants, “Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.”

These first two servants knew that there is a difference between intention and action. Ask yourself, “Is the behavior I am demonstrating in line with my intent?

When it comes to committing to a new habit, research shows that honoring each small success is key to lasting change.

When people feel successful, even with small things, their overall level of motivation goes up greatly, and with higher levels of motivation, one can do even more advanced positive change.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux observed that people who do not progress in the spiritual life, regress.

3. What can you do with one talent? Pray.

St. Thomas Aquinas commented on the allegorical tradition of the Fathers:

The five talents are related only to material things, accessible to the five senses, and so the one who trades on these five makes five more. He increases material wealth.

The two talents symbolize practical intelligence, or the ability to get things done, and so being diligent produces two more.

The one talent represents “the one thing necessary” (Luke 10:41) that we will have in heaven perfectly and here below imperfectly: namely, simple contemplative knowledge, not of material but spiritual things, not of practical and earthly but of lofty and heavenly things.

Thus, according to the saints, the servant with one talent was called to have a very contemplative, prayerful lifestyle, certainly a privileged position, and the loftiest. He was not called to be in management or a supervisor. But he was ungrateful, and did nothing with his spiritual gift, and so he lost everything.

If the first servant could have just kept his one talent above ground and not bury it, he would have at least doubled or even tripled it, and shared his master’s joy. Well used talents prepare for enjoyment in heaven.

4. With one talent, he might have compared himself to ones who received more, causing him to feel inadequate.

Look in the mirror: there is your competition. Don’t compare your journey with others. Own yours and make the best out of it.

In an ancient book called "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," there is a story about St. Macarius of Egypt who once counseled a young monk to go to the cemetery to shout both curses and praises at the dead. The monk did so, and returned, reporting that he had dutifully fulfilled this odd request.

Then St. Macarius asked him, "What did the dead do when you praised and rebuked them?"

The young man replied, "They were silent to both praise and insult."

Then St. Macarius replied, “Be dead to both the praises and the curses of men. Do not become angry when insulted, nor puffed up when praised.”

It's a good reminder that, while encouragement is useful at times, we don’t necessarily need praise in order to feel good about ourselves.

Philippians 2:13: For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Success’s sense of happiness is based upon our cooperation with Christ and having earned peace of mind through one’s own efforts, all under the inspiration of God’s free grace.

Amen.