“Find the right path toward the Door of Faith.” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
During this “Year of Faith”, the Archdiocese celebrates its 13th Annual Stewardship Awareness Sunday this weekend with the theme: Stewardship: The Path of Faith. We are not accustomed, perhaps, to thinking about Stewardship in this way. Most of us have been well educated to the three “T’s” of Stewardship – Time, Talent, and Treasure, with the emphasis in our minds on that last “T”. But truly, first, and foremost, Stewardship is the way that Catholics are called to live out their faith. I wonder if this year, we can begin by thinking of three different words also at the heart of the Stewardship message: Prayer, Participation and Generosity.
Prayer – reminds us that God has given to each of us unique gifts and talents, experiences and opportunities that he has never given to anyone else in the history of this planet. In the words of Blessed John Cardinal Henry New-man, “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission.” Prayer connects me to that mission.
Participation – can take many forms. At its heart it is being generous with the time that God has given us. Attending mass and praying daily; becoming actively involved in some parish ministry or forming a new ministry; participating in the spiritual enrichment activities of the parish; sharing your unique talents, job skills or knowledge to help organize, manage and maintain our parish – these are just a few of the forms our participation can take.
Generosity – reminds us that everything we have and are is a gift from God. Gratitude is the spiritual response to the goodness of God to us. When we learn to be grateful for what we have (and not what society tells us we still need) we discover that not only has God given us enough of what we need, but that He has given us something to share. Opening our hearts to gratitude naturally spills over into generosity. How can we not ‘unwrap’ the gifts that God so lavishly gives us, and use them for the good of this world and the kingdom?
This Stewardship Sunday, I leave you with Archbishop Carlson appeal to pray this one simple prayer each day of your life: “Lord, how would You like me to be generous with all the gifts you have given me?”
ps. – The Parish Financial Report and explanation is posted on the website: http://stannchurch.wpengine.com/category/blog/administrative/