The poor man who begs and the rich man who gives both are indebting the Lord, but only under the condition that the poor man begs in the name of the Lord with humility and that the rich man gives in the name of the Lord with compassion. Everyone who receives should know that he receives that which belongs to God and everyone who gives should know that he gives that which belongs to God. Such giving has a price and such receiving has a price. All of us enter this world naked and naked shall we leave this world. All of us are beggars before the Lord for we possess nothing that we have not received from the Lord. Therefore, give to the poor man as God as given to you. You take what is another’s and you give to your own when you perform charity. The poor man is closer to you than all of your goods even as God, the Creator of men, every man is incomparably more precious than all of his goods. If you have been given riches, it was given to you for temptation: that your heart be tempted! That God and all the heavenly hosts see whether you understood from whom are all your riches and why they were given to you. Blessed are you if you know that your goods are from God and belong to God! Blessed are you if you consider the poor as your companions, among your family members and share with them from that which God has entrusted to you!
O how immeasurable is God’s love for mankind! Behold, all that you have belongs to God but, nevertheless, God considers Himself your debtor if you take from Him and give to the poor and He will repay you for your good. What kind of mercy can be compared to this!
O Man-loving Lord, open our minds to understand the mystery of Your mercy and soften our hearts as wax, that as wax they burn and shine with the reflection of Your inexpressible mercy!
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
St. Nikolai Velimirovic –Prologue of Ohrid
St. Justin Popovic: For to be a member of the Church means to become incarnated with the God-man, to share His body, to become an organic part of His divine-human body. In other words, to become divine-human in the entire reality of one’s human personality
Theosis is our opportunity to become like Christ, to live like Christ and to create a lifestyle that treats the Church as our primary focus. Consider how you can help your Church. Are there areas where your Time and Talents could be used? What unique qualities do you possess that can contribute to the Church’s needs? A singer, an electrician, a teacher, a carpenter, an accountant, a gardener, a cook or a painter – just to name few. Think about the many skills that you have and how you can use them!
A few weeks ago, I attended a Lenten Retreat with Mother Gabriella (of the Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery in Rives Junction MI}. She asked several thought provoking questions such as What is your calling? – What is your struggle? – What is your reward? The one that had the most impact was… What is your worth and how are you measuring it?
From the perspective of Stewardship – am I measuring my worth through how I use my Time, Talents and Treasures? I thought about society today and Mother Gabriella’s question – are we gauging our worth using the right measurement? Do we consider our goals, objectives and accomplishments based on the earthly or the Heavenly? Are we conducting our business lives with a proper model of worth and value? Are we kind, empathetic, helpful and understanding?
Questions that left me thinking… how can I make sure I am using the right measuring stick?
St. Dorotheos of Gaza says “who will give us back this present time if we waste it?” As I reviewed a recently written reflection, I thought about the many conversations related to time – how fast it’s been going – how quickly my kids have turned into adults – where have the past five years gone – why am I getting older (that one is asked a lot lately!)…
To enter the Heavenly Kingdom, we must prepare during our earthly life – as part of our daily existence. This requires changes; in our body, soul and spirit and these changes are the primary focus of Great Lent. St. John Chrysostom says, “after our time on earth, there are no more opportunities for change so this leaves our life on earth as the only time during which change is possible.”
Change, with our focus on Church and ministry
Change, with how we interact with people
Change, with all of those bad habits we have
Change, with the Stewardship of our Time, Talents and Treasures
This change is necessary for our salvation, for we know that God will judge us by our works but we don’t know when! We pray that this time of Great Lent provides you with the opportunity for reflection and the contemplation of change in your life.
We always think that there is plenty of time. Is there???
A quote from Father Robert Holet… “Our call is to reflect that glory of God by personally allowing the divine light of Christ to increase in our lives by spiritual purification.” As I reflected on this, the glory of God is the gifts that he bestows upon us and the divine light of Christ is experienced through fasting, prayer and almsgiving. These are the three recommended goals during Lent with the last one, typically exemplified through our Stewardship. We increase Christ’s light through the good works we do – giving of our Time, Talents and Treasures.
The Canon from Lenten Matins…
Showing joyfulness of soul in the Fast, let us not be of a sad countenance; for the change in our way of life during these blessed days will help us to gain holiness.
Stewardship is a use of our Time, Talents and Treasures. It is what we will be judged on as we progress towards our personal Salvation. Let us consider the potential and opportunity for holiness through changing our way of life and how we approach our Stewardship. Think about how you can make an impact during this Lenten season!
With Lent less than a week away, from the Church and personal perspective, we have been provided with a time of preparation. As with most things, we can’t jump right in – it has to be a bit slower so that we adjust and make the necessary changes. This is the same with Stewardship – especially, if we consider the 5 Sundays of preparation right before the beginning of Great Lent. The themes are… desire, humility, return, judgment and forgiveness. Think about these in terms of Stewardship; Do we have the desire to become a Steward of our parish and make a difference? Are we humble in our approach to almsgiving? Do we return to God, our Father, and provide the first and best of what we have? Do we realize we will be judged based on what we do with God’s blessings? And last, if we haven’t done a great job, do we ask for forgiveness and the opportunity to try again and do better?
I pray that you will have a blessed Great Lent – a time where change can be realized with the opportunity to become a Steward or increase your Stewardship, to support the many ministries your Church provides!