Developing a Christian stewardship lifestyle
Pastor's Corner, Father Paul Wolf, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Winsted
The Catholic Church, during the month of October, has a number of special events going on.
To begin with, it is a month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which we ask her intercessions before her son and God.
The church called us on the first Sunday in October to respect life at all stages, from conception until natural death, as well as challenging us to look on the many aspects of life.
The second Sunday was dedicated to vocation awareness, praying for strong vocations within our church and community of religious, priests, single, and married.
We also recognized the Council of Catholic Women and the many works that they do for the church community.
The fourth Sunday is given over to world missions and our call to be generous with the less fortunate.
Throughout the month of October, Holy Trinity has also been challenged to stewardship. The gospel message invites us, as Christians, to follow a different path. As people of faith and members of a parish faith community, we are called to live differently.
The Christian path we are called to lead is a continuing spiritual journey. That journey includes living as Christian stewards. Our guide in the spiritual journey is scripture and tradition, which provides insight, revelation, and direction for our lives.
Sometimes, stewardship is misunderstood. It should not be interpreted as a way for the parish to “raise money.” It isn’t a program, an appeal, or a financial quick fix. Stewardship is deeply personal and spiritual.
Stewardship is defined as “. . . a spiritual consciousness or lifestyle, based in both the Old and New Testament and the tradition of our church. It holds that we are lifelong caretakers of God’s spiritual and worldly blessings.” All our gifts and possessions come from God’s manifold grace.
In many ways, a stewardship lifestyle is a dramatic departure from our consumer culture, which can emphasize and celebrate self, wealth, the material, and individualism.
As a people of faith, we are called to share, serve others, and be part of a worshipping community called a parish. The Christian stewardship concepts also hold that all that we are, all that we have are gifts from God, and that we have been truly blessed by Him.
The concept of Christian stewardship suggests that we are given three gifts: time, talent, and treasure.
Service to one’s church and community consists of offering one’s time to serve the poor, volunteer at school or in religious education, lector, be a Eucharistic Minister, and bring communion to those less ambulatory. But, most importantly, the gift of time is allowance for prayer.
Individual talents are blessings given by God to serve our church and community. Through an offering of our unique God-given talents, we can serve God through service to the parish and one another.
The gift of our treasure is probably the most challenging to each of us, as well as being a test of our faith. Our secular culture holds wealth and possessions as symbols of our independence, power, and personal success.
But our blessings are only ours through the grace of God, and those blessings can help to do God’s work by supporting our parish’s mission and its many ministries. We are called to serve others with our gifts.