Viriditas, energy, and time

Saint Hildegard’s “Viriditas” refers to life force, essence. Many translators simply say that this neologism means “greening”, which it does at the most basic level, but it means so much more than that. It is power, energy, growth. It is the very marrow of what it means to be living. You know when you meet someone whether they are simply existing or truly energetically alive. This “Viriditas” is the difference. We have the ability to tap into this force, a gift from God, and be truly alive. We are then expected to use this power in the service of God to help our fellow humans.

It is what Moses talked about when he said “I set before you a blessing and a curse – therefore, choose life.” Life is the blessing. To grow, to use your gifts is the purpose of life. We must choose to tap into the power of God, and then choose to use it wisely. We are not meant to use this energy for our own personal gain, but to benefit others. We are meant to take what God has given us and magnify it.

Two men having sex together is seen as a sin in Judaism because it is “spilling of the seed” – it is seen as a waste of creative life force. The act isn’t the sin so much as the waste of creative force. Their energy is not being used to create, but is used for personal means. They are not making anything with their energy. It is a mis-use of a gift from God.

Likewise, to create laws against homosexuals is also a waste of power. Imagine how many hungry, homeless, and hurting people could have been helped with the money, time, and energy that have been spent on creating laws against people who are gay or transgendered.

The focus must always be on wisely using what God has given you. The energy must be turned outward to help people, with full trust in God.

This is what Jesus talked about in the parable of the talents. Use what you have and make more. Don’t keep energy to yourself.

This is at the heart of the miracle of the loaves and fishes – which happened twice. Take what you are given and add to it. Feed people, in as many ways as possible. Food, encouragement, love – humans need all of these. Our gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded up.

We are meant to be fruitful and multiply as much as possible, and this does not necessarily mean to have biological children. Our kindness, generosity, compassion are our children as well. Our creative acts – making music or art – are also our children.

This is also about the sanctification of time. The very first commandment that Israel received in the desert was the mitzvah of the calendar. They were to use the moon as their way to mark time, to note its passing, to remember and be mindful about time. It is important to be intentional about the use of time, because it too is a gift from God.

Take nothing for granted. Waste nothing. Trust your gifts and share them with the world, with God’s help.

Remember what Jesus did – he gave thanks to God first before he performed miracles. Tap into the “greening” power of God by giving thanks first for what you have, then turn it outwards to give to others.

Use your gifts

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus told the disciples a parable because they thought that the kingdom of God was coming soon.

“A rich man went away on a long journey. He called his servants to him and gave them some of his money to do business with until he returned. To one he gave five coins, to another, two, and to the last, only one. He gave each servant only what he could handle, dividing it according their ability.

When he returned he asked the servants about the money he had entrusted them with. The first had doubled the money, turning five coins into ten. The second had also doubled his money turning two coins into four. The last returned the money that the master had given him because he had buried it in a hole to keep it safe.

The master was pleased with the first two. He said ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were responsible with a few things, I will now put you in charge of many things.’ They were entrusted with even more responsibility.

When he spoke with the last servant he was dismayed. The servant said ‘I was afraid of you. You’re a difficult man. You collect what you don’t deposit and reap you don’t sow. Because I was afraid of you, I hid your money in the ground so that I could give it back to you.’

The master started yelling at him saying ‘If you knew this is how I acted then why did you bury my money? You knew that I was going to want it back with interest. You should’ve at least put the money in the bank, not bury it in a hole, doing nothing with it.’ He said to the other servants nearby ‘Take the one coin he has and give it to the one who has made the most coins.’ The other servants looked at him and said ‘But he already has 10 coins – why would you give him more?’ The master replied ‘Because if you use what you have properly you will get more, but if you don’t use it all you will have even less.’”

LK 19:11-27, MT 25:14-30, MK 4:25, LK 8:18, MT 13:12

Talents aren’t for us, they are for God.

In the parable of the talents, in Matthew 25:14-30, is about trusting in God and using the gifts that God has given you.

The “prosperity Gospel” preachers will tell you that this parable means that God wants you to make more money, but they have it wrong. Remember that “the love of money is the root of all evil”?

So what is it about?

The king (who represents God) gives money, to three people. It is understood that he is coming back. He gives different amounts to them “to each, according to their ability.”

Two of them are mindful of their gifts and use them to make more. One is afraid of the king and buries the money so he doesn’t lose it. When the king returns and asks for an accounting of his money, the first two are able to give the king back more than what he gave them. The last is only able to give back the original amount. The king is very angry with him.

Notice they had to give back everything. This wasn’t a money making opportunity for them. They didn’t profit from this. They were just stewards of the king’s money.

This isn’t just about money. This is about any gift from God, which is everything. It is your abilities, your special skills, your strength, your time…everything.

God wants us to trust that God will provide. God wants us to trust that we are safe and provided for. God wants is to trust that God is in charge.

Basically, God wants us to trust God, in all things, all the time.

We aren’t in charge. God is.

We are here to use our gifts – time, talent, and treasure, to build up the kingdom of God. We are here to be good stewards our entire lives.

As long as we are not doing things for our own benefit and glory, we will thrive. When we become selfish and greedy, we will fail.

This isn’t about tithing money to a church. This is about serving God all the time, and trusting God all the time.

If we are called to do something by God, God will provide a way for it to happen. This is especially important to remember when we can’t see a way that is possible.

Look at Moses. God told him that he was going to lead Israel to safety across the Red Sea. That made no sense. How was that going to happen? God told Moses to take what he had, his staff, and use it. He did, and God worked through Moses and parted the sea so they could cross safely.