Stewardship Thoughts

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Stewardship Thoughts

Post  Smitty5 on Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:15 am

Many do not understand the concept of being a good Steward... many think that it only deals with money, although that is partly true, stewardship is a much greater thing and we need to think well on this important subject that Jesus taught the apostles. Here are two examples for your consideration:


A Steward Reflects… Eucharistic Prayer I

The familiar words of the first Eucharistic prayer ask God’s blessing on our gifts of bread and wine. “We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ your Son. Through Him we ask You to accept and bless these gifts we offer You in sacrifice.” But those two lines, coupled with their echo at the close of the prayer, “Through Him You give us all these gifts. You fill them with life and goodness, You bless them and make them holy,” also provide a pretty thorough definition of good stewardship.

First and foremost, good stewards are grateful, for they know that all they have has been given to them by a gracious and loving God. But gratitude is only the beginning. Understanding that all is gift, they also understand that the gifts have been given, not for themselves alone, but to share. Whether the gift is time to spend with loved ones, the skills and abilities needed to earn a living, or financial resources, the promise of this Eucharistic prayer is that when the gifts are offered to God with a grateful heart, He will fill them with life and goodness and make them holy.

“Who is a Christian steward?” the U.S. Catholic Bishops ask in their pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response. “One who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord.” We will be good stewards of God’s gifts if, whenever we are asked to give of ourselves, we hear in our hearts the opening words of the first Eucharistic prayer, “We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Through Him we ask You to accept these gifts we offer You in sacrifice.” Fill us with life and goodness, Lord; bless us and make us holy. Amen.

Sacrament of Penance

Whether you call id “Penance” or the “Sacrament of Reconciliation” or simply “Confession”, this sacrament has deep meaning for Christian stewards. At the very beginning, the power to forgive sins was a gift to the Apostles from the Lord- “Whose sins you remit they are remitted; whose sins you retain, they are retained” (Jn 20:23). Throughout the ages, from St. Peter to the pastor of your parish, it has been a gift to priests over which they must exercise good stewardship, using it unselfishly to minister to serve the people of God.

Of course, it is a gift to us who receive it, too. An often, it is our selfishness – our failure to be good stewards of God’s gifts – that leads us to seek the sacrament. In their pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, the U.S. bishops say, “Sin causes people to turn in on themselves; to become grasping and exploitative towards possessions and other people; to grow accustomed to conducting relationship not by the standards of generous stewardship but by the calculus of self-interest: “What’s in it for me?”

Fr. James Fetscher, a pastor from Miami, sums it up this way: “Stewardship is the examination of a Christian’s mind and heart to see if one’s inmost desires and hopes are finding expression in outward words and actions.” Here is a steward’s act of contrition to use when such honest self-evaluation shows that we have fallen short:

“Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for these and all my sins, those spoken aloud and those buried, unremembered, in my heart. I know that You have given me all that I am and have - even my life is the gift of Your love. I am sorry for having misused Your gifts, for having presumed on Your love. Forgive me for Jesus’ sake and, with the help of Your Holy Spirit, I will sin no more. Amen.”

May we always be good stewards of God’s gracious gifts – and grateful recipients of the sacrament of penance when we are not!

Blessings!
Maria[b]
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Smitty5

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