Friday, August 5, 2011
CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP: DISCIPLESHIP
I just got back from a stewardship conference at which I spoke and bragged about my parish. When we landed in Wichita, Kansas on Tuesday afternoon it was only 111 actual degrees! On Wednesday night we had what I thought was a Wizard of Oz experience as a strong thunderstorm moved through.
But back to stewardship. It is about discipleship and calling Catholics to respond to their baptismal and sacramental grace to know, love and serve Jesus Christ in this world by giving back to Him and His Church a portion of what has been given to them by God. Of course everything we have and who we are come from God as a pure gift.
The three "t's" of stewardship are Time, Talent and Treasure.
We respond to God's unconditional love by spending time with Him in prayer, Sunday Mass being the most important and other forms of prayers and devotions to support our Sunday obligation and our spiritual life during the week. That could include adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Rosary, a charismatic prayer meeting, family prayer with spouse and/or children. Praying daily and constantly is what "time" with the Lord means.
We discern what our talents are and strive to develop and use these for the benefit of the Church and our evangelical response to the world in which we live. A gardener might help with the Church's landscape, a plumber with needs in the parish or helping the poor in their homes, those who have good listening and "loving" skills with visiting the sick and home-bound and others who have a heart for the poor helping to serve their needs. The list goes on. Of course our talents should be used to show forth Christ in all that we do at Church, in the home and in the world.
Finally, when people are connected to God and His Church and see their baptismal calling to be Christ's disciples in the world, they also see their need to give a portion of their treasure back to God through the Church (parish and diocese) as well as other charities. Catholic stewardship challenges people to give a tithe of their treasure away.
Catholics having always been good at giving to a "need." Catholic stewardship calls them to acknowledge the "need" to give back to God in a proportionate, systematic and calculated way and to give to God their "first fruits."
Knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ in this world is what Catholic Stewardship is all about. It's about discipleship. How orthodox is that?