In the Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, our second Mass reading for today, Paul reminds Timothy to “stir into flame the gift of God that you have.” For, as Paul says, “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”
I love the image of stirring into flame the gifts we have been given. I can picture leaning over a campfire blowing into a small fire, coaxing it along until it until bursts into flames. It is a task that, as anyone who has ever built a fire knows, requires patience and persistence.
God gives us amazing gifts, but doesn’t give them to us full-blown. God expects us to develop the the gifts we have been given and make them grow so that we can fulfill our mission to proclaim the Word. And the task is not always easy; there will be hardships along the way. But as with everything else, we are expected to do nothing on our own. Rather, everything we do, we do with God. For as Paul reminds Timonthy, our strength comes from God and we have “the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.”