In ‘The Parable of the Talents’ we find an interesting personal development gem. Although the word “talents” in the story refers literally to money, we can obviously extend the meaning to other areas of our life. As our students bring out the House Magazine, “Reach Out”, and give expression to their literary talent through creative writings and collections, I can compare talent to this aspect of their life. First, this parable states that we all begin our life at different positions. Some of us are born into abundance. Others are born into scarcity. But what matters isn’t what we’re given — it’s what we do with it that matters. One person earns five talents, another earns only two, but both are congratulated equally because both achieved a 100% gain. If you happen to be one of those who are born in abundance, don’t feel so proud and arrogant that you’re above others. If you have abundant talents, you should expect even more from yourself. Similarly, those who are born into scarcity should do the best you can with it, and even though your gains appear small from an external standard, by Jesus’ standard you’ve still made a notable accomplishment. Another interesting aspect of the parable is that our talents are entrusted to us. We are stewards of talents and we should utilize them to please God, the giver of those talents. If you can write fairly well, believe that this talent is entrusted to you for a particular purpose. You can either bury it, out of fear or you can strive to create increase. Yet another important aspect to remember from this parable is that Jesus refers inaction to being wicked. In other words, if you do nothing with your talents, if you hide or bury them in the ground and hoard them, you are choosing to be wicked, lazy, and worthless. You are supposed to invest what you’ve been given. What’s the ultimate reward for the faithful servant? One’s true reward is to share in their master’s happiness. So happiness is the reward, and happiness comes from serving others and ‘Reaching Out’ to others through our talents. As Jesus implies in ‘The Parable of the Talents’, creating abundance requires you to move beyond fear. If you’re too fearful or suspicious or distrustful, you’re going to bury your talents. And this leads to “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” i.e. sorrow and depression. You might think that fear and suspicion will keep you out of trouble, but really they’ll just cause you suffering and pain. To live a life of abundance, one must ultimately move beyond fear and work to create abundance for others. Otherwise one will ultimately be cast out as worthless. So reach out with your talents to create increase for others and happiness will be your reward. Bury your talents, pain and sorrow will be the harvest you reap. The choice is yours.

A Big Fight in Vidya Niketan
Life is a process of constant change and growth. Therefore, every person has to grow up in various dimensions of life in order to lead a happy life and be of service to others. This process of growth can be very challenging and mystifying especially for young people. As one young person put it, “One minute it seemed like everybody took for granted that I knew what to do when I really did not; and the next minute everybody was telling me what to do as if I knew nothing.” This dilemma can be the part and parcel of every young person and therefore reflecting on one’s life becomes a prerequisite to march ahead with a clear vision for growth and maturity. So we, the seminarians at Vidya Niketan, Mysore, stimulated by “Janssen Academy”, a forum for organizing various activities to enhance our intellectual and creative skills, chose to reflect on our life in comparison to our companions in the society outside through a debate on the proposition, “Outsiders have an edge over Seminarians.” The above proposition was debated at three maturity levels. First, the spiritual maturity: Do the seminarians and the outsiders live in intimate communion with God through community and personal prayer; seek Christ in faithful meditation on the word of God and in active participation in the sacraments. Second, the human maturity: Are the seminarians and the outsiders balanced persons, affectively mature, capable of relating well to others and bearing the weight of responsibilities. Third, intellectual and social maturity: Do the seminarians and the outsiders feel secure as regards to their intellectual growth to face the challenges and competition in the globalized world, communicate God’s love to people in an effective way through loving service and persevere in the pursuit of truth and values amidst eroding value system. One each student from each class spoke for and against the proposition. Fr. Joy Thomas SVD was the moderator for the “Big Fight 2007” The team which defended the proposition strongly asserted that the outsiders have a clear edge over the seminarians in all quarters of life as they live amidst lots of challenges and difficulties of life. They impressed upon the audience that the outsiders are willing to take risk and grab the opportunities to excel in all the areas of life and thus grow in psychological, spiritual and social maturity. They pointed out that seminarians lack sufficient challenges and opportunities as they are in a well protected and everything provided secure zone and so basically remain immature. While the team which spoke against the proposition claimed that the seminarians are much better off than the outsiders as they are provided with ample opportunities and time to grow in their spiritual, psychological and social life. They pointed out that the outsiders do not have neither the guidance nor the system required to mature intellectually, spiritually and psychologically. Since it was a “Big Fight” only the moderator could give us the right perspective on the proposition. Fr. Joy in his concluding remarks drew our attention to the fact that some of the seminarians as well as the outsiders are quite mature in various aspects of life. However he urged us to focus our attention on the need of becoming “fully human and fully divine persons” by attaining spiritual, human and social maturity, so that we can live worthy of our calling. By: Robin Joseph