Stewardship – A Way of Life
As we begin a new chapter in the life of Our Lady of Victory Parish, it is important that we continue to develop a strong spirituality that will enable us to live the Gospel in these challenging times. One dimension of a healthy spirituality is a good appreciation for Christian Stewardship. There are several definitions of stewardship, but quite simply “Stewardship is a way of life for Christians who recognize that everything we have is a gift from God. Therefore in gratitude we return to God a portion of what God has given us.” Stewardship is not a program but a spirituality that sees all of life as a gift.
Christian stewardship goes beyond the parish, of course. Christian stewardship is about everything in life. How do we use our time for others? Are we good stewards of our own health? Do we use our skills and experience to help our neighbors? How do we share our personal resources with individuals or institutions? Underlying all of this is the humble recognition that everything we have is a gift of God. Yes, I may have worked hard for what I have. But who gave me the health, the strength and the opportunity to be successful? Once we recognize that God is a Giver who cannot be out done, we should be moved to thanksgiving. And the way we express our gratitude is by returning to God a portion of what God has given us. When this becomes our way of life, our mindset and spirituality, then our attitude about life and our relationship to God and others are deeply affected.
Because stewardship embraces all of life, there is naturally a link between stewardship and our relationship to the Church. While through baptism we become members of a universal Catholic family, it is in the local parish where that membership finds its fullest expression. As Catholics we are entitled to spiritual care in our parishes. We are entitled to the Sacraments and to hear the Gospel preached. But that same relationship with the Church, requires us to be responsible stewards of our time, talent and treasure – sharing these gifts with the Church community and outward when we see the need. Most Catholics want a parish that is alive and vibrant. We look for parishes that are faith-filled, hospitable and caring, parishes that will make a difference in transforming society. But how can a healthy parish emerge unless its parishioners are committed to Christian stewardship?
I’m probably preaching to the choir here. I know that most of you do what you can in the parish and in other ways to fulfill your stewardship obligations. But I need you to help me spread a culture of stewardship throughout the parish. We need to talk to our Catholic neighbors about our commitment to stewardship. When people ask you why you spend so much time at Our Lady of Victory, tell them about how you benefit from your participation in ministry and mission of the parish. If your neighbors do not regularly attend Mass, invited them to come to Mass with you some Sunday. Encourage them to get involved in the parish. When you hear people raise questions about funding, share with them how you have found meaning and satisfaction in being a good steward. You have received your faith as a gift, so now share your faith.
Thank you for all you are doing for our parish and to further the reign of God at work, at home and in the neighborhood. All I am asking of you is to prayerfully review your own practice of stewardship and renew your commitment to a way of life that truly reflects your appreciation for everything you have as being a gift from God.