“We are an inviting faith-filled Catholic community made up of two unique parishes devoted to life-long learning and discipleship through prayer, service and sharing.”
This statement, from the St. Rose/St. Mary’s common mission statement shows how integral Stewardship is to our life as community. Recently, Bishop Bob Morneau from Bear Creek wrote the following reflection on a theology of Stewardship. Here are some of his thoughts on prayer, service, and sharing:
Stewardship of Prayer
Prayer is about our relationship with God. Stewards nurture their relationship with God by having a prayer life. Whether that is two minutes or two hours a day, listening and responding to God is at the core of the disciple's life. At times the prayer will be that of thanksgiving. At other times the prayer will be that of praise or petition or forgiveness. Whether private or communal prayer, the purpose is to stay connected to God so as to do the divine will. This dimension of stewardship can be measured to some degree. Of the 168 hours per week, of the 144 daily ten-minutes slots, how much time do we use in prayer? And, of course, the most important prayer of all is the Eucharist in which we hear God's word and receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Stewards are eucharistic people.
Stewardship of Service
Ministry is about gifts and needs. We name and nurture the gifts God has given us; we place these gifts at the service of those in need. Ministries are many in number and find expression in the areas of worship, education, community, social justice, leadership, and evangelization. The Epistle of St. Peter reminds us: "As each one has received a gift, use it to serve another as good stewards of God's varied graces" (1 Peter 4:10). A theology of ministry and service emphasizes that it is not so much that we do things for others but rather Jesus is doing something for others through us. Being aware of the difference between "for" and "through" changes our whole manner of service. That is why prayer is so important: it keeps reminding us that all stewardship is ultimately the work of the Lord taking place through the actions of faithful disciples. Jesus came not to be served but to serve. Through baptism and confirmation we are called to a life of commitment to the wounded of the world. The Eucharist strengthens us in that mission and the Christian community hopefully supports us in our responsibilities.
Stewardship of Sharing
"The budget is a moral document" (Jim Wallis). How we earn and spend our money is both a highly personal issue as well as a social concern. Having access to someone's checkbook is also having access to that person's value system. "For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." Matthew 6:21 Stewards are generous people. Again, they have a grateful heart realizing that all gifts come from the Lord. They feel an obligation to return a portion (be it 3%, 6%, 10%, 20%) to the Church and other charities. They refuse to be co-opted by a culture of greed and live a life of hoarding. A tough question has to be asked: can a person claim to be a disciple of the Lord if they are not sharing generously of their financial resources? A strange phenomenon happens in the stewardship world. The greater the generosity and the greater the sacrifice, the greater the joy. Joy, according to some authors, is impossible without generosity. And as one author states, joy is the infallible sign of God's presence.