Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. The concepts of stewardship can be applied to the environment and nature, economics, health, property, information, theology, and more. As Catholics, we define them within three main areas of care: time, talent and treasure.
October 23, 2016: Humble Prayer/Stewardship Commitment Sunday message
While many of us understand that prayer is an important element of the Christian life most of us admit that it’s difficult to find a quiet moment to spend with God.
As Christians, we must remember that we cannot give what we do not have. In order for us to welcome others into the life of the Church, we need to make sure that our spiritual lives are properly in order. To become a more prayerful person, take inventory of how you spend the 168 hours in the week. Are you taking time to talk to God in prayer, to speak with Him as you would a friend? Are you seeking His truth through reading the scriptures? Will you make Him first on your priority list so that you are able to give to others from the graces He has given you?
MAINTAINING A HEALTHY PRAYER LIFE
• Pope Francis encourages all Catholics to spend time in daily prayer, thanking God for His blessings, asking for His help in difficult circumstances and reading scripture.
• Receive spiritual nourishment in the Eucharist at least every Sunday.
• Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis and asking God for the grace to live a life of holiness.
Helpful Prayer Resources
• Catholic phone or tablet apps: iBreviary, Magnificat, Divine Office or The Pope App (news and homilies from Pope Francis).
• Websites: usccb.org/bible/readings, Vatican.va (The Vatican and Holy See).
“For Catholics, stewardship of time should include setting aside periods for family prayer, for the reading of Scripture, for visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and for attendance at Mass during the week whenever this is possible.” —From the U.S. Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on Stewardship.
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Each of us has received gifts from God that we are to use in humble service. While many of us many not recognize the skills or abilities we have as gifts, they are a means by which we can give glory to God through serving each other. At St. Alexius, Our Lady of the Angels and St. Paul’s, our ministries provide opportunities for us to serve God and others. From a warm smile to giving someone a warm meal, we are able to welcome others into the family of God by being Christ to them. Reaching out in love, while sometimes difficult, can be quite spiritually enriching! Will you take the time to ask God how you can best serve Him through the service of His children?
Ways to Welcome and Serve Others
• Pray about how your gifts can best be used to help others feel welcome.
• Sign up for a parish ministry that stretches you to put others’ needs before your own.
• Greet your fellow parishioners before or after Mass, introducing yourself to unfamiliar faces.
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service, but the same Lord…To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”
(1 Corinthians 12:4–7)
Throughout Scripture, we are taught to give God our “first fruits” or the “choicest portion.” In modern speech, we might say that the first “line item” in the family budget should be returning a portion of our income to God. Both symbolically and in actuality, this is a powerful expression of God’s place in your life. “Where your treasure is, there also lies your heart” (Matthew 6:21). Will you take some time to reassess how you prioritize God in your finances?
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your rihteousness. you will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” —2 Corinthians 9:10–11.
Reasons to Tithe
Why give a percentage of income? We give the tithe (which means 10% of one’s harvest or income) because it is a Scriptural benchmark that has been honored since the early Church (see Malachi 3:10).
Working Toward Giving the Tithe
5% to the parish offertory
1% to the diocese
4% to other charities
If you have difficulty reaching your goal of the tithe, try increasing your giving incrementally, by one or two percent of income each year. Over time, you will find that the tithe is a reasonable goal that can be reached. Most importantly, you will know that you have been faithful in placing God first in everything, even in your finances.