Stewardship: The Lifestyle of Christian Discipleship
Whenever faithful Catholics devote themselves to daily prayer, to participation, and to financial generosity, they are practicing stewardship. In essence, whenever we use our personal gifts to serve the Lord, we are being Christian Stewards.
As faithful members of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we have come to know that stewardship isn’t just a “program” or a fundraising effort. It’s a commitment to a way of life – the lifestyle of Christian Discipleship. Practically speaking, it means making time for personal prayer. It means choosing to serve in parish ministries. It means planning a generous, consistent gift to the weekly offertory. Over time, as each person embraces their personal commitments, our parish can become a powerful witness to the abundant life that Jesus has promised.
“Give and gifts will be given to you…For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” ~Luke 6:38
Stewardship of Prayer
“Persevere in Prayer” ~Romans 12:12
“Prayer and Christian life are inseparable,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But as anyone who has ever tried to pray on a regular basis will tell you, prayer can be hard work. That’s why we have to make a firm commitment to be persistent. Just as we learn to budget our money or schedule occasions for service, we also have to be very specific when we make time for prayer. Many people set aside 30 minutes in the morning to sip a cup of coffee and read scripture. Others pray a rosary on the way to work. Still others pray with their children before bedtime or pray with their spouse before retiring for the evening. Whatever the format, the important thing is that we make a conscious effort to spend time with God.
Action Steps for Spiritual Growth
- Make Mass your top priority on Sunday
- Schedule time for daily prayer
- Pray together with family and loved ones
“For Catholics, stewardship of time should include setting aside periods for family prayer, for the reading of scripture, for visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and for attendance at Mass during the week whenever this is possible.” ~From the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Stewardship.
Stewardship of Participation
“Serve One Another” ~John 13:15
Every week, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is buzzing with activity. There are groups that pray together, groups that minister to other parishioners, and groups that reach out to the community. We have numerous ministries to choose from! Part of being an active member of our parish is to find your niche – the ministry where your personal talents can best be put to use. This is what St. Peter meant when he wrote, “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10)
Action Steps to Increase Your Involvement
- Re-commit yourself to your current parish ministries
- Choose at least one new ministry to join
- Train your children to serve in the Church
- Plan to attend parish-wide events announced in our bulletin
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service, but the same Lord; there are different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” ~1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Stewardship of Generosity
“Tithe In The Spirit of Joy” ~Sirach 35:8
Have you ever created a family budget? At the top of most people’s list of expenses are big items like the mortgage, car payments, and tuition. Other expenses are food, credit card payments, and entertainment. But how about the Church? Does Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary have a place in your family’s budget? Throughout scripture, we are taught to give to God our “first fruits,” or the “choicest portion.” In modern speech, we might say that the first “line item” in the family budget should be returning a portion of our income to God.
Action Steps for Financial Generosity
- Strive to give 5% to Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1% to the diocese, and 4% to other Charities
- Commit to a specific Gift each week or month
- Use your offertory envelopes or set up online giving
- Support the parish even when you are out of town
- Donate On-line
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” ~Proverbs 11:25