OUR MOTHER OF CONFIDENCE
PASTORAL DIRECTION: by Fr. Mark I am writing this brief reflection with a grateful heart for the presentations on “the Spirituality of Stewardship – following Pope Francis’ lead.” given to our parishioners this past weekend by Leisa Anslinger from Catholic Life and Faith. (www.CatholicLifeandFaith.com). We filmed Leisa’s workshop so we can now watch it right up front on our parish website. (www.omcsandiego.org). Leisa reminded us that stewardship always starts with the personal experience of the Risen Christ in our midst and in our hearts. It is a vocation to discipleship. The following of Christ as a disciple entails a personal response, and the call can result in a positive impact on our parish communities. In order to gain a deeper understanding of how we have personally heard and responded to the call to stewardship, we might take some time with the following reflection exercise.
Stewardship: Stewardship is a deeply spiritual way of life that begins with recognition of and gratitude for all we are, have, and will be. What are we most grateful for in our lives? How does our everyday life as Catholic Christians reflect this gratitude?
Giving: Who inspires us by their gift of spirit, time, financial giving, prayer, and sharing of talent? In what ways do we seek to inspire others?
Trust: Living and growing as a good steward requires a deep trust in God’s providence. What challenges our trust in God at this time? In what, or through whom, does Christ console us? To make stewardship a way of life for individuals, families, and parishes requires a change of heart and anew understanding of what it means to follow Jesus without counting the cost.
Living the Eucharist: Stewardship is profoundly Eucharistic. What recent experience has called us to sacrifice, to give deeply of ourselves for the sake of another or others? So what then do we bring to the Eucharistic celebration and join there with Jesus’ offering? We bring our lives as Christian disciples; our personal vocations and the stewardship we have exercised regarding them; our individual contributions to the great work of restoring all things in Christ. As faithful stewards and disciples then, we ask ourselves,“What are the things that we can give thanks to the Lord for these past months of summer?” Surely there are many challenges that we are living through these days, but where do we, first of all, find a space and time to give thanks to God for blessings great and small? After all, the word Eucharist – the “source and summit” of our lives and ministries, means to give thanks: thanks to God for the gift of his son in our lives. Mother Teresa, it is said, gave thanks to God for favors and blessings that she asked for even before they were received! To be consciously grateful also helps us to follow the advice of Saint Paul, which says, “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.”(1Thessalonians 5:11). Can we make a short list of something or somethings to be grateful to God for this past summer, or just today? I am grateful to a friend for a great book on gratitude which she gave me: “Living Life as a Thank You: The Transformative Power of Daily Gratitude” by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons. In the introduction to the book, Nina and Mary Beth say, “In ancient Roman times Cicero said, ‘Gratitude is not only having the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.’” Having an attitude of gratitude is not new advice, but in our fast paced 21st century lives we, as disciples and stewards, need extra reminders to get in touch with the essence of life before our lives fast-forward to our final days. As Saint Paul says in another place, “In all things give thanks, for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ toward you.”(1 Thessalonians 5:18).