Imagine receiving an ornately wrapped gift, with satin ribbon and glittery bows, so beautiful you almost don't want to disturb its serenity. You open it slowly, fingering the floral paper in hushed awe, only to find....nothing.
What a disappointment! There was such expectation, such promise, which was never realized. Sadly, this can happen in the spiritual realm as well. Natural and supernatural gifts and graces can actually harm us if we are not careful to remember where they come from. If we have a gift and use it for our own glorification instead of God's, it will never reach its full potential.
St. Faustina wrote about this in her diary: "Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God."
She makes a valid point: of all the spiritual experiences a soul can have, none will perfect it. Only complete alignment with the will of God can make a soul perfect. We may speak in tongues, we may prophesy, interpret, heal or preach, but if our lives are not in line with God's will, it will all be in vain.
How do we use our gifts? Are we all glitter and glam, but little substance? Offer your gifts back to God and watch Him use them to perfection!
St. Maria Faustina, pray for us!