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!
During this time of year, I think about Stewardship and how I can do more, especially during Great Lent. I set some goals, involve my family and try to make a difference. The key is in the action… all of the goals, objectives and planning won’t mean much without the execution. In Father Tom Hopko’s book, The Lenten Spring, he says “According to the Scriptures, the giving of one’s possessions to satisfy the need of others is the most concrete expression of faith and of love. A person who claims to believe in God but does not help the needy has no living faith.”
This is confirmed through James 2:14-17: 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
My goal this year: Take action!
I was reading a book that focused on how unique we are – each and every one of us created by God to be different, to be special, in His image and likeness. When we were born, there was no other individual exactly like us. We will mature and develop skills and characteristics that will also be very unique. Whether they are as parents, business associates, teachers or tradesmen – we are all different.
When we consider Stewardship, we can also be very unique in the way we give of our Time, Talents and Treasures.
As a child, I remembered Stewards of our Church – each one helped the Church in his or her own way. My Aunt and her friends were cooking at least three days a week. Preparing for bake sales, funeral luncheons, wedding celebrations – a task that required hard work but it always seemed easier when they were working together. The one memory I have is that everyone was unique, and at times, a bit different, but everyone worked together with a common purpose and single goal – supporting their Church. Let us, as well, remember how different we are and appreciate the common goals we share.