The following write up is based on the 1992 pastoral letter “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response”
What is Stewardship:
Stewardship is an expression of discipleship, with the power to change how we understand and live out our lives. Disciples who practice stewardship recognize God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, the source of all they have and are and will be. They know themselves to be recepients and caretakers of God’s many gifts. They are grateful for what they have received and are eager to cultivate their gifts out of love for God and for one another.
In some ways it may be harder to be a Christian steward today than in times in the past. Although religious faith is a strong force in the lives of many of us, our country’s dominant secular culture often contradicts the values of our Christian tradition. This culture of materialism, relativism, individualism and consumerism, excercise seductive powerful influences. There is a strong tendency to privatize faith, to push it to the margins of society while excluding it form the marketplace of ideas where social policy is formed and men and women acquire their view of life and its meaning.
Christians are part of this culture, influenced by it in many ways. In recent decades us Catholics have made great strides in mainstream Canadian society, often,however this process has widened the split between faith and life. For example, although religious people often speak about community, individualism infects the religious experience of many persons. Parishes, dioceses and Church institutions appear impersonal and alienating in the eyes of many. How to use people’s many gifts, how to empower the laity, how to recognize the role of women, how to affirm racial,cultural and ethnic minorities, how to overcome poverty and oppression – these and other countless issues remain vexing questions, as well as opportunities..
What Does it Mean to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ:
The generous sharing of resources including the sharing of time, talent and treasure, is central to the practice of stewardship. Essentially, it means helping the church’s mission both at home and abroad. This sharing is not an option for Catholics who understand what membership in the Church involves. It is a serious duty. It is a consequence of the faith which Catholics profess and celebrate. Jesus’ invitation to follow him is addressed to people of every time and condition. Here and now it is addressed to us, Catholics in a wealthy nation, members of a community of faith, blessed with many human and material resources, yet often uncertain about how to sustain and use them.
Who is a Christian Steward:
A Christian steward is one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with all. and returns them with increase to the Lord.
Stewardship involves a lifelong process of study reflection, prayer and action. To make stewardship a way of life for individuals and families in our Parish requires a change of mind and heart and a new understanding of what it means to follow Jesus without counting the cost.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”