We all know that the moon doesn’t produce its own light but that it is a giant reflective ball in the heavens. The light we receive from the moon is 100% the reflected light of our star, the Sun. We can look directly at the moon – though I wouldn’t recommend doing so with binoculars or a telescope on a clear night (it’s still extremely bright especially under magnification) – but if we look directly at the sun our retinas will be burned and we will have permanent loss of sight. The Sun is far superior – closer to perfection – than the moon and that superiority makes it both more valuable to us as well as more dangerous to us. Yet the moon, as inferior as it is to the Sun, because it is only what it is; it has what it has as a gift from the Creator and it functions unimpeded within the capacity of its gift – in other words, the moon isn’t the Sun, nor is it trying to be the Sun, neither is it being something other than the moon – but because the moon simply manifests its unique gifts, it has the wondrous ability to reflect the Sun’s light so brilliantly that it can dazzle our eyes. The moon has been given much – its native physical qualities – and, being faithful to these qualities, it is given more; namely, the honour of reflecting the glory of the Sun.
Saint Augustine observes, that those people who have received graces and favours from God, and have not made good use of them and profited by them, these people may be said to have not received these graces or favours; though this is not because they have been taken away from them, but rather because, making no use of them, it’s as if they had never received those graces.
To him that has been given, and has received the gift, and has made good use of the gift; to him shall be given the knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. But those who are incredulous, and resist God’s gift – like those who undiscerningly receive Christ’s Body and Blood while in a state of mortal sin, or those who make their confession without true contrition and with no intention to amend their lives, or the spouse who seeks not to serve their husband or wife but rather to be served by them, or those who faithlessly serve at the altar of God or exercise a divine vocation for carnal ends – these are not only far from being enriched by God’s spiritual gifts in His eternal Kingdom, but they are in reality already deprived of the benefits they now seem to possess.
Saint Augustine illustrates thusly: God did not spare even the Hebrews utter humiliation and the evisceration of their religion. That which they appeared to have (the Law and the Prophets) were taken from them now and for ever in symbol of the destruction of the Temple and cessation of ritual sacrifices. A much greater gift than the Law and the Prophets was offered them, but Saint John tells us, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (Jn 1:11).
That same gift stands before us as it still does before the Jews. It’s not a gift we receive once, but we consciously/actively receive it daily. God gives us treasures – each of them unique to the individual – and as we desire to cooperate with His divine treasures, that desire will not only supernaturally increase in us but He will grant us all other virtues. Like King Solomon who beseeched God for wisdom; and because he did not ask selfishly but rather out of a sense of duty to serve Yahweh’s people, God not only gave him tremendous wisdom but he also blessed him with power, riches, honour and a thousand HB10 wives! On the other hand, if we neglect the gift that is within us by smothering our godly desires, then the virtues we already possess – or seem to possess – will be taken from us. Or as Saint John Chrysostom points out; God does not always literally deprive us our gifts and virtues, but we make ourselves unworthy of not only the gift but the Giver.
Our Lady sings, “the hungry are filled with good things” (Lk 1:53); and when we are hungry and willing to be what God has called us to be – to give our will over to His will, nothing held back – He will give to us, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over… For the measure we give will be the measure we get back” (Lk 6:38).
He will enrich us not only with what we have (like the moon’s natural gifts) but He will give to us all things in both heaven and earth (we will shine like the Sun). The conclusion to the parable of the Prodigal Son gives us a clear picture of what God offers each of us – consciously, willingly cooperating with Him; ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry” (Lk 15:21-24). “Truly,” Our Lord says to us, “many prophets and righteous men longed to see what we see, and did not see it, and to hear what we hear, and did not hear it” (Mt. 13:17).