Mr. Lyall's Line
Happy Easter to everyone!
The Easter Vigil is the "Mother of All Vigils."Easter Sunday, then, is the greatest of all Sundays, and Easter Time is the most important of all liturgical times. Easter is the celebration of the Lord's resurrection from the dead, culminating in his Ascension to the Father and sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. There are 50 days of Easter from the first Sunday to Pentecost. It is characterized, above all, by the joy of glorified life and the victory over death expressed most fully in the great resounding cry of the Christian: Alleluia! All faith flows from faith in the resurrection:"If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith." (1 Cor 15:14)
The octave of Easter comprises the eight days which stretch from the first to the second Sunday. It is a way of prolonging the joy of the initial day. In a sense, every day of the Octave is like a little Sunday.
The word "Easter" comes from Old English, meaning simply the "East." The sun which rises in the East, bringing light, warmth and hope, is a symbol for the Christian of the rising Christ, who is the true Light of the world. The Paschal Candle is a central symbol of this divine light, which is Christ. It is kept near the ambo throughout Easter Time and lit for all liturgical celebrations.
May the risen Lord bless us in these holy days of Easter.
In other news, please turn in your registration forms for next school year. We are planning the budget and need that information as soon as possible. If you need another registration form, please check your e-mail or call Tammi in the office. Thank you.
Thanks for the great response to the online shopping program we have started. This is yet another way the school can benefit from you doing online shopping, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support. If you need more details please call Tammi Osner in the office.
We are truly blessed this Easter season.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week, with the greatest tragedy and sorrow of the year.
Jesus' triumphant return to Jerusalem is only one side of the story.
By now many of the Jews are filled with hate for Our Lord. They want to see him stoned, calling Him a blasphemer, especially after offering proof of His Divinity during a winter visit to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Dedication.
After this, Jesus went to Perea, where he was summoned to Bethany. There he raised Lazarus from the dead, a miracle which wins Him such renown among certain Pharisees that they decided finally to end His life.
Jesus took refuge at Ephrem returning six days before Passover to Bethany, triumphantly entering Jerusalem. That evening, He leaves Jerusalem and returns Monday. He spent time with Gentiles in the Temple, and on Wednesday left for the Mount of Olives. Here he foretold the apostles the events of the next several days, including His impending death.
He returned to Jerusalem on Thursday, to share the Last Supper with His apostles. He was subsequently arrested and tried. He was crucified at Calvary on Friday, outside the gates of Jerusalem.
He was buried the same day, and arose three days later, on Easter Sunday.
All of this is done by our Lord for forgiveness of our sins, and for life everlasting with Him.
God so loved us, that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us so that our sins may be forgiven.
May the blessing of this Lenten season and the Easter message bless each of you during this Holy time.
With You in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
First, I want to thank the many individuals who put together the St. Pats Dinner and Raffle. The countless hours of preparation and hard work for our parish and school are truly a gift of the Holy Spirit. I am so impressed by the efforts. Thank you for the gift of your time, talents, and treasure. I assure you that your effort does not go unnoticed and we appreciate all that you do. Every penny raised will directly help our parish, students, and school.
Next, I want to thank everyone for their generous contributions to the Drexel Fund. We raised $1,000 this year. That is fantastic! This money assists all Drexel schools in the Diocese, as well as St. Patrick. I certainly hope that your support of the Drexel fund continues for the benefit of our Catholic School. Thanks for your donation.
Spring break is March 19-23rd. I hope you enjoy this time off with your families. Please be careful if you are traveling. See you on Monday, March 26th.
If you did not have a chance to conference with your child's teacher, please make sure you contact them to accomplish this task.
Lastly, please send your pre-registration for the 2018-2019 school year in as soon as possible. Thank you.
May God continue to bless our efforts during this Lenten season
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
March is here! With the start of March comes many activities and opportunities for all of us to participate.
First, the St. Patrick Dinner and raffle will be Sunday, March 11th. Raffle tickets went home with students earlier in the week. Please keep selling those tickets for some really great prizes. The students really do a fantastic job each year doing this. We offer them some very nice incentives, which they truly enjoy and deserve. Thank you to everyone who works diligently to make this a huge success.
Our 2nd graders will receive the sacrament of reconciliation on Sunday, March 4th. Please pray for these students as they learn more about fully participating in the sacraments of the Church. We are proud of you, second graders.
The Valley 9 Music festival will be held here at St. Patrick on March the 6th. This is a day filled with beautiful music, both vocal and instrumental. Come enjoy the talents of many students across the entire Valley 9.
March 8th our students are performing, The Mystery Club, a short play at Kingman High School at 6:30 pm. Cost of the play is a free will donation. Please come support our students with this performance. They have really worked hard and you will be in for a very nice treat!
Spring pictures will be March 13th. Please see the handbook for appropriate attire
Conferences by request are on March 16th. Please call the office if you would like to schedule a conference with one or more of the teachers. Teachers will also be contacting some of you as well.
Spring Break begins March 16th after conferences. Classes resume on the 26th.
March 29th marks Holy Thursday. We once again will be hosting a Seder Meal for the entire School. It is a 12:30 dismissal, and a dress-up day for the students. Good Friday we have no school, as well as Easter Monday.
As I said, many opportunities for everyone to participate in activities this March. I hope to see you at every event.
May God abundantly bless you and your family during this Lenten season.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
This week marks the start of our Lenten season. I was reading an article in preparation for Lent and have decided to share some prayer ideas for this season.
Pray for Transformation
This Lent Most people have never prayed a prayer of transformation. Too often when we pray, we pray for tweaking. We want God to tweak this and tweak that. Let’s be honest. We don’t necessarily want our lives transformed. Transformation may seem attractive in a moment of blissfully holy idealistic exuberance or at a moment of crisis, but the everyday reality is we like to distance ourselves from the inner work required to bring about such a transformation. Sure, we want some tweaking, but not transformation. This desire for tweaking is selective and selfish, while transformation is total and selfless. We pray for tweaking—and then we wonder why God doesn’t answer our prayers. The reason is simple: God is not interested in tweaking. God is in the business of transformation. He wants to turn your life upside down, which as it turns out is right side up. If you want to see something incredible, start praying for transformation. That’s a prayer God will answer.
Lenten Prayer for Transformation
Loving Father, I invite you into my life today and make myself available to you. Help me to become the-best-version-of-myself by seeking your will and becoming a living example of your love in the world. Open my heart to the areas of my life that need to change in order for me to carry out the mission and experience the joy you have imagined for my life. Inspire me to live the Catholic faith in ways that are dynamic and engaging. Show me how to best get involved in the life of my parish.
Make our community hungry for best practices and continuous learning. Give me courage when I am afraid, hope when I am discouraged, and clarity in times of decision. Teach me to enjoy uncertainty and lead your Church to become all you imagined it would be for the people of our times. Amen.
Lenten Prayer for Ash Wednesday
God of goodness and mercy, hear my prayer as I begin this Lenten journey with you. Let me be honest with myself as I look into my heart and soul, noticing the times I turn away from you. Guide me as I humbly seek to repent and return to your love. May humility guide my efforts to be reconciled with you and live forever in your abundant grace. Transform me this Lent, heavenly Father. Give me the strength to commit myself to grow closer to you each day. Amen.
Lenten Prayer for Sundays during Lent
Heavenly Father, as I enter another week of my Lenten journey, guide me to the path that leads to you. Fill my heart with gratitude, patience, strength, and peace as I strive to become the-best-version-of-myself, honestly admitting my shortcomings and sins. As I renew my resolve each day to become a better person, let me hear your voice in the deepest reaches of my heart. Give me rest in you. Help me to accept others, showing them your great love instead of casting judgment. Stay with me through the busy days this week and remind me that when I need comfort, solitude, wisdom, or guidance, I can always turn to you. Help me develop discipline and generosity through fasting and almsgiving, and come closer to you through prayer this Lent. In your name I pray, Amen.
I hope that you find this information useful this Lenten season.
May the sacrifices we make during this Lenten season lead all of us closer to God!
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
I recently read an article on prayer. I thought I would share a few things I got from this article.
We have all had times of great wonder during which we experienced God’s presence: a sunset, a piece of music or a baby’s smile. If we are willing to see and to listen to life around us, we will experience God speaking to us through the wonder of His creation in all its forms.
Often our understanding of prayer can be too narrow and can exclude everyday experiences because they don’t fit our definition of what prayer is or is supposed to be.
If prayer is an activity that nurtures our relationship with God, then, if having a cup of tea with a friend nurtures this relationship that is prayer. If sitting still in a park or garden feeds your soul that is prayer. Listening to music, assisting at children's liturgy, coaching a team, can all be prayer.
We may have stopped praying because our “old” images of God are no longer valid and we have no “new” images to replace them. If we try to figure out who God is before we pray, we might never pray.
If we wait to pray till we have the right words, we might never pray. The longer we wait to pray the more we leave God “in the Church” or in a “Religious Ceremony” instead of in a relationship with us.
I found these words to be intriguing, true, and inspirational. I pray you find some of the same things.
On Thursday St. Patrick hosted the County Spelling Bee. The schools represented, St. Patrick, Cunningham, Kingman, and Norwich had ten representatives, 5 students in Division B and 5 students in Division A. The Division A winner goes on to represent Kingman County in the State Spelling Bee.
The winners in Division A are:
1st - Sukesh Kamesh KEMS
2Nd – Izabelle Youngers KEMS
3Rd – Noah Wendling KEMS
The winners in Division B are:
1St – Lucas Hageman St. Patrick's
2Nd – Sierra Valentine KEMS
3Rd – Kaitlyn Hennessee Cunningham
The student representing Kingman County in the State Spelling Bee is: Sukesh Kamesh from KEMS
Thank you to all of the students who competed. It was an honor to have all the students in our school.
Have a very blessed weekend. Don't forget to pray!
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
This week has been a huge celebration of our Catholic School. The many virtues, values, and faith-filled reminders I have witnessed during this week have been truly a blessing. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful Catholic School and Diocese. I would like to thank the Student Council and their sponsors for sponsoring all of the events and activities this week. I am truly proud of St. Patrick Catholic School and all that it represents.
I would like to thank each and every person who supports our mission here at St. Patrick. Thank you, parents, grandparents, parishioners, teachers, students, and all stakeholders for embracing our faith and providing for each of our needs. We are truly blessed. You do make a difference. Our students also thank you!
Catholic schools benefit all year long from the religious guidance, prayers and support parishes provide. Many parishes join in the National Catholic Schools Week celebration by devoting a Mass to Catholic education.
A central aspect of our Catholic school is learning the importance of service to others. When students take part in service activities they demonstrate the values and faith gained through Catholic education. Our students truly shine with this endeavor.
By focusing on faith, knowledge and service, St. Patrick prepares children to use their God-given talents to the fullest later in life.
So, this week is truly a celebration of everyone coming together to increase our faith. We are truly blessed to have a Catholic School, we are truly blessed to have a Diocese that supports all of the schools. We are truly blessed to have Stewardship guiding our lives. Our faith is important and here at St. Patrick we recognize that daily. Thank you for all of your time, talents, and treasure. We could not do it without you!
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
Is it warm or is it cold outside...?...welcome to January weather. As I have mentioned in the past, it is always better to have layers of clothing that can be removed rather than not having enough.
The colder weather has also brought illness. The entire school was disinfected on Saturday to help from spreading more illness. If your child is ill, has a fever, and is exhibiting signs of the flu, please keep them home. This round of the flu has had symptoms that suddenly appear, and students are sick to their stomach. Students are contagious for 48 hours, and should not be here at school. Experts are even saying that a persons breath can spread this strain of the flu. Hand washing and being vigilant and proactive are still the best ways to combat the spread of the flu. Thank you for helping us keep the spread of the flu and illness in check.
Congratulations to our St. Patrick Catholic School Spelling Bee Participants! They are:
1st Grade: Paisley Gonzales, Isabelle Kaufman, Hunter Stasa
2nd Grade:Finley Maloney, Logan Birkenbaugh, Andrew Ziegler
3rd Grade: Michael Harbert, Kevin Kaufman, Brian Fairchild
4th Grade: Sean Kostner, Dawson Wood, Hope Hughes
5th Grade: Lucas Hageman, Claire Birkenbaugh, Avery Mertens, Emma Harden, Sophia Kaufman, William McBeth
6th Grade: Valerie Weninger, Peyton Eck, Claire Meng
7th Grade: Victoria Tetrick, Ashton Thimesch, Peyton Thimesch
8th Grade: Lauren Theis, Coye Stucky, A. J. Weninger
Winners Division A Division B
Ashton Thimesch Lucas Hageman
Victoria Tetrick Dawson Wood
Claire Meng Hope Hughes
Peyton Eck Brian Fairchild
A. J. Weninger Claire Birkenbaugh
Valerie Weninger Alt. Finley Maloney Alt.
These students will be representing our school, Thursday, February 8th @ 10:00 am in the Kingman County Spelling Bee here at St. Patrick's. Congratulations!
This Saturday starts Catholic Schools Week. We are so blessed to have our Catholic School. We are also grateful to everyone who gives of their time, talents, and treasure in support of what we do. Our school is outstanding, thank you for your support and efforts on our behalf. A list of activities for our celebration is attached to this week's POST. Don't forget to sign-up for the Grandparents' Luncheon next Friday. I hope to see all of you there.
What is National Catholic Schools Week?
Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2018 is January 28 - February 3. The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2018 is “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” Schools typically observe the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our church, our communities and our nation.
Have a blessed week! Thank you again for all you do to make our Catholic School a wonderful place to pray and learn.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
With the bitter cold temperatures, I just want to remind everyone to make sure your students are bundled-up when they come to school. The temperatures do change rapidly, however, it is always better to have too much clothing, rather than not enough.
I do want to say a special thank you to everyone who donated to the hat and mitten tree this year. All the items were delivered to the shelters on last Friday by our 8th-grade class, and everything was well received. I am certain that your generosity has benefited hundreds of people. Thank you for making this a huge success for those in need.
The St. Patrick Spelling Bee will be January 24th in the school cafeteria. There will be, as always two divisions. Please come and support our super spellers as they compete for a spot in the Kingman, County Spelling Bee. The County Bee will be here at St. Patrick as well on February 8th at 10:00 am.
This weekend and next we will be filling the Bierock orders that were placed. Please come and pick them up on Saturday after you have been notified. Thank you to the PTO for sponsoring this delicious event.
Catholic Schools' Week begins with Saturday evening mass on January 27th and ends on Friday, February 2nd with our grandparent's luncheon. A list of activities will be coming soon, as well as sign-up sheet for the luncheon. The theme this year is Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service. Please join us in celebrating our wonderful Catholic school.
Have a wonderful weekend as I hear the warmer weather may bless us this weekend again.
May God continue to abundantly bless all that we do.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
The basketball tournaments are in full swing for our 7th and 8th-grade boys and girls. The teams are currently doing very well. Good luck Crusaders! You make us proud.
Many students, particularly at this time of year experience a period of basic winter doldrums. Homework is a hassle and can become a struggle. Here are some tips to help end some of these doldrums and create a homework-friendly home to sidestep some of the big obstacles parents and children face. Try these 7 tips to get started:
1. Feed your child's tummy and brain. I am dutiful about making sure my son is sent off to school with a good (some days only OK) breakfast because I know how important a full belly is for learning. After school a full belly is important too and not one filled only with sugary pantry items. A hungry child or one crashing from too much sugar is not a child eager to do his or her homework without a struggle.
2. Allow lots of fresh air and play time first, but no screens. After a long day at school, many children need time to unwind. I have found that by allowing a lot of play time but absolutely zero screen time my son will play more, and get to his homework without struggle because he's had a much-needed break from learning. Often my son will go straight for his homework to get it out of the way but on days when he doesn't the only rule that is not negotiable is zero screens before homework.
3. Have a designated place for all school things. No need for it to be fancy, the same spot by the door is perfect. Your child needs to be able to find the homework that needs to be done easily when it's time to get to work.
4. Have a designated place for doing homework. No need for a special room, just a spot that your child uses every day. Have everything your children might need within arm's reach so that when they are ready to sit down and do homework they don't start wandering about and getting distracted by everything else that is not their homework.
5. Clear your schedule if possible. Be available when they are doing their homework. You may need to be right there next to your kids helping, or nearby in case an issue pops up but try your best not to be unable to help if they need it.
6. Stay calm so your child will too. If your child has hit a roadblock attack the issue as a team. If you are frustrated, that will make the whole situation worse. Homework is something many children have daily and keeping the experience as pleasant as possible will help make this daily activity smooth sailing.
7. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Cranky kids are often tired or hungry. If you have given them a good healthy snack and they are still cranky, the next step is to take a good look at their sleep. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention school-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Your child may need even more.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
I hope that everyone enjoyed their time together during this holiday season. I certainly did. I would also like to extend my personal thanks to everyone who generously gave to our hat and mitten tree. We collected many items that will benefit many people. Those items will be delivered by our 8th-grade class next Friday. I am certain our students will benefit from this experience.
Please make sure your students are prepared for the winter weather with hats, gloves, and coats. If the weather allows they still enjoy getting a break outside.
Have a Blessed New Year.
With you in Christ,
As the third week of advent quickly approaches, I have an explanation of the third week for you and your family. I hope you have tried a couple of the activities and suggestions, as they are fantastic ways to learn about Advent and prepare for Christmas.
Our week begins with “Gaudete .” Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin. It comes from the first word of the Entrance antiphon . The spirit of joy that begins this week comes from the words of Paul, “The Lord is near.” This joyful spirit is marked by the third candle of our Advent wreath, which is rose-colored, and the rose-colored vestments often used at the Eucharist.
The second part of Advent begins on each year. For the last eight days before Christmas, the plan of the readings changes. The first readings are still from the prophecies, but now the gospels are from the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. We read the stories of faithful women and men who prepared the way for our salvation. We enter into the story of how Jesus' life began. These stories are filled with hints of what his life will mean for us. Faith and generosity overcome impossibility. Poverty and persecution reveal glory.
Preparing our Hearts and asking for Grace
We prepare this week by feeling the joy. We move through this week feeling a part of the waiting world that rejoices because our longing has prepared us to believe the reign of God is close at hand. And so we consciously ask:
Prepare our hearts
and remove the sadness
that hinders us from feeling
the joy and hope
which his presence
Each morning this week, in that brief moment we are becoming accustomed to, we want to light a third inner candle. Three candles, going from expectation to longing, to joy. They represent our inner preparation or inner perspective. In this world of “conflict and division,” “greed and lust for power,” we begin each day this week with a sense of liberating joy. Perhaps we can pause, breathe deeply and say,
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
Each day this week, we will continue to go through our everyday life, but we will experience the difference our faith can bring to it. We are confident that the grace we ask for will be given us. We will encounter sin - in our own hearts and in our experience of the sin of the world. We can pause in those moments, and feel the joy of the words,
“You are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew
We may experience the Light shining into dark places of our lives and showing us patterns of sinfulness, and inviting us to experience God's mercy and healing. Perhaps we wish to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week. We may want to make gestures of reconciliation with a loved one, relative, friend or associate. With more light and joy, it is easier to say, “I'm sorry; let's begin again.”
Each night this week we want to pause in gratitude. Whatever the day has brought, no matter how busy it has been, we can stop, before we fall asleep, to give thanks for a little more light, a little more freedom to walk by that light, in joy.
Our celebration of the coming of our Savior in history, is opening us up to experience his coming to us this year, and preparing us to await his coming in Glory.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come and visit your people.
We await your coming. Come, O Lord.
This week our teacher feature is on Margaret "Pidge" Wolfe. She has been a classroom para with us for four years. Enjoy!
Teacher Feature: Margaret "Pidge" Wolfe
Hello everyone, this is Margaret Wolfe (Pidge) I have been a para here at St. Patrick's school for almost 4 years now. God Blessed me with this job when I was needing a job change, and everyone has made me feel welcome. I love working with all of St. Pat's students and teachers. I'm married to my best friend Joe Wolfe. We have 2 grown children, 1 granddaughter, and 3 grandsons. Our granddaughter and her husband will be having our first great-grandson at the end of March. I'm a very blessed Wife, mom, and grandma. Hope you all have a happy 2018!
Have a wonderful weekend...may blessings to you and your family this Advent season!
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
Well, the weather outside has finally decided to get colder. I enjoy the colder weather as it reminds me of Denver. Now if we could get some of the needed moisture, that would be great. I will continue to pray for the much-needed precipitation.
Last week I included a Week One Advent Activity. I hope some of you tried it with your family. This week I have 10 activities that will help any person choose what they would like to do for the season of Advent. I hope you try a few, maybe even all of them. They truly are great activities to prepare for the birth of our Savior.
Speaking of Advent, please do not forget to donate hats, gloves, mittens, scarfs, and socks to our tree this Advent. Last year your generosity was overwhelming. Your gifts directly benefit the people of Kingman and Sedgwick Counties. We appreciate everyone who has already given and hope that we all can participate in warming the needy at this time of year.
May God Abundantly bless you and your family this Advent season.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall's Line
The end of this week marks the start of Advent. What a beautiful time of the year. In preparation for this season, I thought I would share an activity each week that truly helps us understand and celebrate this season. These are activities I have done with my own family and students in the past. They seem to really help prepare for the true meaning of Christmas.
A Message from Isaiah Bookmark
To remember a verse in Isaiah that helps us celebrate Advent
The young people will be able to identify the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.
Strips of thick paper
Markers or crayons, pens or pencils
Take a few moments to share with the young people the idea of the Jesse tree and what it represents to us during Advent.
As a group, read aloud the verse in Isaiah from which the idea for a Jesse tree originated. (Isaiah 11:1)
Give each child a strip of thick paper. As you do so, ask the young people to share what the verse means to them.
Ask the young people to write the verse from Isaiah on their strips of paper to use as bookmarks.
When they have written the verse, invite the young people to illustrate their bookmarks, perhaps with an image of an event leading up to the birth of Jesus.
When the young people have completed their drawings, invite them to share what event they chose to draw and why.
Suggest to the young people how they might use these bookmarks so that the message on them remains special to the Advent season. Perhaps the bookmarks can be used during this time of the year, in books used during times of celebration, and so on.
I hope you try this activity. It certainly has been a good one for my family as we start Advent.
Don't forget that we are collecting hats, gloves, mittens, scarfs, socks, and the like for the poor and homeless. We really had an outstanding showing last year, and I am hoping for the same this year. Last year your donations helped well over 200 people, and I know were very much appreciated. Please send all sizes from youth to adult. Help us warm the hands and hearts of the poor.
This weeks teacher feature is on Melissa Tetrick. Enjoy!
May God Abundantly bless your Advent preparation!
With you in Christ,
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Lk ).
Treasure is everything that God has given to us; it’s not just the money that God provides. It’s the food. It’s the shelter. It’s the clothing. God has given them all to us as a gift. Now in our society when we’ve become “self-sufficient,” meaning that we’re more than self-sufficient, we can start thinking: “I’m providing for myself. I’m making that money happen. I’m earning the salary. I’m paying the bills. I bought all of this stuff.”
What do I mean God gave it to you? Well, God gives us our every breath. God makes everything happen to enable us to have our job, our health, and the ability to keep the job we have. God has created the economy and he blesses us. I believe this. God bless America! God has blessed America. I believe that when we get rid of our greed and look with humility and thankfulness at all that God has given us, we will realize how incredibly blessed we are in this country, and that God keeps on blessing us. We have so much in comparison to other countries.
When we look at treasure as a gift of all the things that God has given us, we need to remind ourselves that what God gives us is not our own. It belongs to God. He gives it all to us.
When you give ten percent back, that’s tithing. What a great idea the tithe is! In the Old Testament, everybody knows that you give a tithe and we’ve heard about that, but do we remember how it gets used? The tithe is given to the Levites. Now there were twelve tribes, and tribe of Levi was one of them. All except the Levites got land. Well, how are they going to have a farm? How are they going to raise food to feed themselves? How will they live if they don’t have any land? They are given some cities, but they are given no land. How can they survive? God told Moses that the people, the other tribes, would provide for the tribe of Levi by tithing. They would give their food to the Levites and that’s how the Levites would survive.
What kind of a system would be developed to implement this? The Levite tribe provided the priests. To be a priest you had to be in “perfect” condition. You had to be male, and you had to be between the ages of twenty-five and fifty. If you had a broken finger or a bad eye, you couldn’t be a priest. If a person was spotless, unblemished, male and a Levite, that person would become a priest. The priests offered sacrifices and also helped run Israel. They had the responsibility of collecting the tithe. After all, they had to feed mom and dad and sister and brother. The people would bring the tithe in so it could be used to feed everyone.
The Levites also were required to tithe and this tithe provided for the poor. In the Old Testament, the poor were directly provided for in the year of jubilee. It was the time when debts were forgiven, land was returned (that is, rested: no planting crops), the prisoners and slaves set free. There was a prohibition on interest and on taking collateral for loans from neighbors. (Foreigners, yes. Neighbors, no.) There was an obligation to tithe. Even in the fields, there was a tithe, the poor were allowed by law to glean them.
The third section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church focuses on the “Moral Life and the Ten Commandments.” The seventh commandment, “thou shall not steal,” is all about stewardship and you might be surprised at what the Catechism has to say about private property and about having an obligation. Private property is not an absolute. The goods of creation are destined for the entire human race. We can own it. We’re allowed to own what we need for ourselves, but there’s also an obligation to others outside of ourselves and our privacy. It has to do with justice and charity. When we do not give our money to the poor, we are stealing from them.
That’s what the Catechism describes. We have an obligation to the poor, and where do we find it? In the commandment “thou shall not steal.” There’s one other place that treasure and stewardship is mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is in the fourth section, the one on prayer. In the Our Father, we say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We have an image of God providing us everything we need. Remember, this is about treasure. God gives us everything we need.
In addressing the issue of helping the poor, the Catechism talks about the parable of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. (See Lk 16:19-31.) There he is at the gates of the rich man and he is covered with sores which are licked by the dogs. The rich man eats splendidly every day and poor Lazarus longs to eat the scraps that fall from the rich man’s table. One day the poor man dies and is immediately whisked to heaven in the arms of Father Abraham. Sure enough, the rich man dies and finds himself in torment and flames. He looks up and sees Lazarus in the arms of Abraham and calls out, “Father Abraham, send Lazarus down here to give me some water.” Father Abraham says, “No, Lazarus is not coming to give you any water. You were well off in your life and now you suffer, whereas poor Lazarus was poor off and now he’s found consolation.” He says, “Besides, he can’t come down to you and you can’t come up to us. There’s a chasm between the two.” Then the rich man says, “Well then, send him to my family. I have five brothers. Tell them so that they don’t end up in this terrible place like me.” Father Abraham says, “Look. If they won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe if someone rises from the dead” — a reference to Jesus, rising from the dead.
What does that story tell us? The rich man is not condemned for being rich. He is condemned for not caring for the poor. You see, God gives us everything we need to live. God even gives us the portion –– the tithe –– to be given back to him. People tend to think it’s theirs and they tend to keep it for themselves. It isn’t ours. It belongs to God. “Give us this day our daily bread” applied to Lazarus. God gave Lazarus his daily bread. The problem is he didn’t get it. The rich man kept it for himself. That’s the problem of poverty in the world. The rich keep the tithe for themselves and don’t feed the poor. “The poor you will always have with you,” Jesus tells us. (See Mt 26:11.)
So when we have poverty in our midst its proof that we’re not treating the treasure that God has given to us with the respect that God expects of us. The tithe, that ten percent, isn’t ours. It is to be used to take care of the needs of the poor. The rich man would not have even noticed the scraps that fell from his table. He probably wouldn’t have noticed if he had given the first and best ten percent to Lazarus. Do you think the rich man would have ended up with less? God would have given the rich man even more. You will find out that God loves a good steward because he can trust him. What happens when you are trustworthy, or you’re in charge of something, and you find someone who is trustworthy? Do you give that person less or do you give that person more? You give more of course, or you take on more. God will give you more. He’ll give you more to manage. You know what? You don’t have to give all that increase away. He just says give ten percent of it away. So you get ninety percent more. You think, well, I’ll tithe again. God will again give you more.
That’s what God does. It is amazing. I’ve watched it happen. You will not end up with less. You’ll end up with more. Lazarus would have had his stomach full. The rich man would have had just as much food on his table and would not have noticed any lack. In fact, he would have had more food on his table. In that sense, we need to talk about treasure and how the tithe worked in the Old Testament. First of all, the tithe is not leftovers. You can’t look at everything you have and then say, “OK, whatever I can spare and whatever I can do without I give to God.” That’s not it at all. It needs to be an action of the first priority. It is the first fruits of the harvest. It’s not after sweeping up the grain bins that you figure out what you’re going to give to God. It is the first thing that is picked.
There’s a story of a village where a missionary came and talked all about tithing. A little boy went fishing. When he returned he came and knocked on the door of the missionary and said, “Here’s my fish.” The missionary asked, “Where are the other nine?” The boy said, “They’re still in the river. I haven’t caught them yet.”
He gave his first fish! This is a great story about trust. He trusted that God would provide and give him those other fish. It should be the same with us. We need to give the first tenth to God knowing that the other nine are in the river. God will give them to us. Can we do that? It was what was expected of the Israelites. They gave the first fruits to God, not knowing what the rest of the crop would bring.
When the Israelites offered a lamb for sacrifice, they didn’t pick out the blind and lame one. They didn’t ask, “Which lamb can I do without?” They found the prettiest, the most beautiful, and the healthiest one-year-old male lamb without blemish, the best one. That’s the one that was given to God and by God as our sacrifice. So it is in stewardship spirituality when you’re looking at treasure and it’s time to tithe we need an attitude change. We need to give not what’s leftover but what we have now. We give to God in thanksgiving for what God has done. We give our first and our best.
My personal practice is to get ahead of my tithe. I like to give more at the beginning of the year than I do at the end of the year. A lot of people catch up at the end of the year. I front load the year. I think that if God’s going to really bless me, he might really surprise me. I don’t want to find out I’m behind in my tithe when he is blessing. It’s an attitude change I made in myself because then I’m always looking for the blessings of God. I find out that God has already blessed me. I don’t look for some sort of extraordinary way God has blessed me. I start appreciating the ordinary blessings that I have and I’m grateful.
That’s what it does for me personally when I’m ahead of my tithe. I keep giving. I keep challenging myself saying, “OK, maybe I can give more.” When I just keep giving more I find out more keeps coming in. Try it. You’ll find out. You cannot outdo God in generosity. You cannot. Try it. Try giving half of it away and see what happens. You’ll get it all back and more. That’s just how God works. It’s amazing.
I hope you enjoyed this series of articles from Father Kemberling on the spirituality of Stewardship. I have found them very rewarding and thought-filled.
This weeks teacher feature is on Michael Marks. Michael teachers Religion and the Social Sciences in grades 6, 7 and 8. He is also the Communications Director for the school.
Happy November to all of you. I have many reasons to be thankful for all of you!
With you in Christ,
“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom 12:6-8).
As we mentioned in the section on “Identity,” the English word “talent” originated in the Bible which describes talent as a unit of money. It’s a coin representing a specific amount. And, as we talked about there, the Parable of the Talents (Mt 25:14-30) is a reminder that a talent is something that is not our own.
I have to convince myself of that sometimes. I’m trained as an artist but right now a lot of my art training is on hold. Most parishioners don’t know that I’m an artist. They have never seen me do any artwork, so they have no clue. Although I was able to leave behind a work of art in my previous parish, I still ask: “God, what about the talent you gave me in art? How am I going to use that?” My mind tells me “It’s coming. It will have a way of coming out.”
It’s not mine. It’s God’s gift to me and it’s how well I use it. I have other talents. I use those in a way that I believe God is directing me to. As with yourself, every one of us is given talents, some more, some less. With each of the talents we received, we are asked first of all to appreciate them, to be grateful for God’s gifts. Remember how we were being grateful for the gift of time? We need to see everything as a gift, and that’s why gratitude is an underlying value. We begin to understand that we are not our own. We need to identify with our Master. We need to be trustworthy and to trust that God gives us the talent to use well and to use it honestly and with integrity.
Again, the talent is a reflection of God the creator. God has created us in his image and likeness. The abilities that we have are in some sense a reflection of who God is in us. We all reflect God a little differently in the talents that we have. Our talents reflect the goodness and creativity of God as well as the activity of God in one another.
As we see that our talent is not our own and that we should use it for God and for the benefit of God, we realize that part of this gift of our talent needs to be given back to God in thanksgiving for what he has done. Tithing of one’s talent is a difficult quantity to put together, so giving a tenth of one’s talent is something I don’t know how to tell you to do. I have yet to hear anybody really explain that one, and I’m open to suggestions. I do know that at least making a commitment of one’s time and talent together has been the way most people see time because you have to give your time to be able to give of your talent. So that’s how the two were put together in discussing stewardship.
I like to separate out our time in prayer because that’s an important one for all of us Christians. Everybody says prayer is important. Well then do it! Make a schedule. Set it up so that you’re at least spending two hours and twenty-four minutes a week in prayer. At least tithe one day a week of prayer throughout the week. It is the same thing with talent. Tithe your talent back to God by putting time and talent together. Tithe that back to God in thanksgiving for all that God has done.
For the last few weeks, I have been posting excerpts from an article on the Spirituality of Stewardship. I hope you have found this information useful. This week Father Kemberling ties the virtues he has been talking about the time, talent, and treasure. This is the section on "time."
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
The Spirituality of Stewardship deals with time, talent and treasure. As we look into the core values of identity, trust, gratitude and love, we understand how to be good stewards. We remember who we are. We trust enough to let go and let God. It is a sign of our love to give the best by putting God first in our lives and in our spending. We love God as he loves us. We express our love of God by giving of our time, talent and treasure.
As St. Peter said,
“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 1 Peter .
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
Time is a gift from God. In stewardship spirituality, we think of time and talent as connected. One has to spend time giving of one’s talent. So the two are obviously linked. But reflecting upon time alone gives further insights into the spirituality of stewardship.
The timelessness of God is found in the “Glory Be” prayer.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Yes, God’s world is not like our world. Time is a creation of God. Time is for our created world. It’s limited, and it will have an end. We clearly hear in Scriptures that Jesus will return at “the end of time.” Since time is a creation of our world, perhaps time has been created solely for our human benefit. This is a staggering thought in the light of the millions and billions of years that have passed before human existence. Perhaps time was created so that the phrase, “In the fullness of time, God sent His only Son to be our Redeemer,” would take on greater meaning. In comparison to the vast amount of time that has passed before us, a relatively short time has passed since Jesus made the announcement, “This is the time of fulfillment; the kingdom of God is at hand.”
We have learned from science that time and space are intricately connected since they are a function of each other. Since God is timeless, He is also space-less. The world of the afterlife, where God lives, has no time. It has no space. God’s world is not like our world. These are qualities of our world that need to be appreciated for the gift that they are. I believe that when we no longer have them, we will appreciate them for the gift that they are.
I believe we will be able to look upon all of our time and how we spent it. How we prioritize our time will reveal our motives and intentions. We will remember the hours we spent watching movies or television. Time spent with family will be compared with time spent working. The time spent with God will stand out in a special way. Will this review of our time betray us and reveal us to be hypocrites?
Time spent in prayer is time well spent. In the beginning, God took six days to create and on the seventh day He rested. As a reminder, these are divine days, since an earthly day was created on the fourth day when God created the sun and the moon. Scripture tells us in Psalm 90 that a thousand years is like a day, and a day is like a thousand years. Whatever these divine days mean to God, who has no time, He took the seventh day and made it holy.
We imitate God since we have seven days in our week, with the day set aside for rest. Six days may be considered ours but the seventh day belongs to God. That is why is called the “Lord’s Day.” The main reason for the prohibition of work is so we would have the time to pray. I like to say, “Remember the days when to miss Mass was a sin? Well, it still is.” Yes, the primacy of being a day of prayer is important in stewardship spirituality. Please note that attending evening Mass is a fulfillment of our obligation.
In stewardship spirituality, we fulfill an obligation of being thankful for this gift of time by giving a portion back to God in prayer. The portion that is given back to God is called the tithe. The first ten percent of this gift is to be given back to God in thanksgiving. In respect to time, we would be asked to give the first and the best of it. being the first day of the week has a special place in our time marked out for prayer. The one-tenth portion of a day is two hours and 24 minutes. Being conscious of the amount of time we spend in prayer will allow us to pass the best of our time ever mindful of it being a gift to us.
Well, that’s what many people in religious orders do. For those who already have a dedication to a prayer life, wouldn’t it be wonderful if added to that spirituality was the understanding that the time spent in prayer is that of being a good steward accepting, receiving and giving back the gift of time that God has given to us? It gives greater meaning to a prayer life. You might say, “I’m doing this as a gift back to God.”
This is particularly true for me as a priest. There may be two or three days a week when I get to tithe two hours and 24 minutes of time back to God. I’m celebrating Mass. I’m hearing confessions. I’m praying the Rosary. I’m leading a group in prayer. When I do that and it starts to seem burdensome to me I remind myself, “Wait a minute, this is my opportunity to tithe this time back to God in thanksgiving for what God has done.” I’m being a good steward of time. When I realize that I’m saying, “Wait a minute. Where is the present moment in this?” Then it gets me deeper into the prayer that I’m praying. The distractions become something further away. When we become aware that distractions are part of interfering with the present moment, then we deepen our prayer life.
Making time to pray can be seen in this story:
During the lunch hour, the president of a large factory wanted to talk to his company’s manager about an urgent matter, but the manager’s secretary said, “He is at a conference as he is every day at this time.” “But,” said the impatient official, “Tell him the president wants to see him.” The secretary firmly replied, “I have strict orders not to disturb him when he is in a conference. Angrily, he brushed the secretary aside and opened the door to the manager’s private office. After one look, he backed out slowly, gently closed the door, and said, “I’m sorry. Is this a daily occurrence?” “Yes, every day he spends 15 minutes in such a conference,” said the secretary. The president had found the manager on his knees before an open Bible. Of course, the 15-minute daily conference was with God.
Sometimes people feel distracted when they pray. Understanding the relationship of prayer to time can be helpful in this matter. Experiencing time in relation to the present moment is a critical idea in understanding time as a gift. It is even more important when we see the link of time to prayer. Time can seem elusive because we view time as being past, present and future. As hard as it may seem, time is only experienced in the here and now. There is the constant temptation to live time as if it were either in the future or the past. When we begin to think like this, we rob ourselves of the present moment and we lose peace and serenity. By living in the future, we experience worry and fear. By living in the past, we are plagued by guilt and shame. Only in the present moment is there any relief. Finding that present moment is where we also find the presence of God.
When we try to seek to live in the past without the involvement of God in the present moment, we fail miserably. Historians have a noble profession but have always found their efforts ultimately take on meaning in relation to the present. Planners and developers dream dreams that ultimately have their meaning also in the present. Living in the here and now means adopting spiritual principles that recognize time as a gift.
In our modern society, we have many timesaving devices, yet less time than ever! Over-activity and the pursuit of leisure activities rob us of the present moment. Being busy has us scurrying about, causing a lack of focus and priorities. We become too busy to pray. Some are too busy to attend Mass. Time gets hijacked by the business world. Time is money, and no losses will be recorded by the industrious. This kind of utilitarian way of thinking wickedly transforms time into being a measure of production and efficiency. Time becomes a curse and not a blessing. The pursuit of pleasure also makes time into a commodity. Our hedonistic tendency needs time to experience gratification. Of course, one can never get enough, as temperance is a casualty of the pursuit of pleasure. God is lost or forgotten because the gift of the present moment becomes irrelevant.
These threats need to be consciously addressed as we reclaim the present moment out of respect for God. Time is a gift, a gift from God. True peace and serenity will not be found in deed or gratification but in God. The spiritual principle of stewardship resets our priority upon the primacy of God as creator. We are creatures of His created order, an order of time and space. Past and future have their places as do fear and shame. Emotional freedom is found in the here and now and recognizes life as being lived in the present moment.
Stewards of all that God gives us, we are ever conscious of the gift of time. We don’t find time to pray, we make time to pray. Time spent in prayer is balanced with the time experienced each moment of our lives. When we are too far ahead of ourselves, we know that we will experience fear and worry. When we are too far behind ourselves, we will experience guilt and shame. The good steward acts rightly, loves goodness and walks humbly with his God. (Micah 6:8) First things are done first and one thing is done at a time. We stay focused upon the primacy of God and see every moment as a gift. In all things may God be glorified.
Time, in stewardship spirituality, is more than time spent in giving of our talents. It is an attitude that stays focused and unafraid. Being God-conscious in all that we do keeps us ever linked to the present because only God is found in the here and now. This spiritual understanding of time is important to understanding and embracing the spirituality of stewardship.
This week's teacher feature is on Theresa Walker.
Have a nice weekend.
With you in Christ,
For the last few weeks, I have been sharing an excerpt from a large article written by Rev. Andrew Kemberling, V.F. on the spirituality of stewardship. Here is this weeks installment on LOVE.
“And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor
We have identified the three core values of identity, trust, gratitude and now we come to the last core value of love. Scripture tells us that there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love. (1Cor ) As God loves us, we love God. Love is the requirement of the Christian. It is NOT optional.
I often remind people that love is also in our language as another word––it’s called charity. When people hear charity they immediately think money! When you think of love you don’t think of money. But we say faith, hope, and love: faith, hope, and charity. Charity and love are the same things; they are interchangeable. We use them all the time in theological context. But if you’re going to move it into a spiritual context, that means if you are going to love, you are going to have to give.
Charity, therefore, is the requirement of a Christian. Love is not self-seeking. Love itself requires one to give. One cannot love if all one does is receive, receive, receive. Think about it. If in our family relationships, all that we do is receive, would we call that love? No. Love, therefore, requires us to give, to give of ourselves. To give time to God in prayer is an exceptional sign of our love.
The good steward understands that our charitable giving is based on the key idea that we have a need to give before we give to a need. Our need to give is our response in love. We give back what is not really ours. God does not want all of it back––not yet. He will when we die. He does not want half of it back, like the elderly man who won the million dollars was willing to do. No. God asks a tithe back in thanksgiving for what God has done. He asks us to give of our time, talent and treasure. As God loves us we love God. When God sees our response in love, God gives us even more. God cannot be outdone in generosity.
The love we have for God is manifested in setting nothing before our relationship with him. Out of love, our first priority is God. We don’t let things get in the way. Remember, God made us; we don’t belong to ourselves. If we don’t belong to ourselves, then the things we have are not even ours. They are lent to us. Just as when we rent something, there is a real owner, and that owner is God. This is particularly true when it comes to spending money entrusted to us. Put God first before paying any bills or setting any money aside.
When we rent something, we have to return it, give it back. Renters can be careless, which shows lack of respect for the owner. An even greater insult is for the renter to use an item and never to return it. That’s stealing from the owner. God is the owner, and we are the managers of his treasure. God, however, says, “Keep 90percent; use it even though it is not yours. Give back only 10percent––a tithe.” A tithe is not what’s leftover, or the table droppings. It is the best portion, the first portion. It is a sign of our love to give the very best.
I ask you wives, would it be love if all your husbands ever did was receive, receive, receive? No. That’s not love. You need to give. It must be mutual giving. That’s what we believe marriage is. It’s a covenant of mutuality. It means you give and you receive. You receive and you give. You learn how to give back and forth. And the requirement of the Christian is to love. The requirement of the Christian is to give. You need to learn to give.
What do you give? Well, we believe there are a number of things you can give but we have categorized these as time, talent and treasure. Often, we think that giving is optional. It is not optional. Love requires us to give; it’s part of loving. You can think your way through love, but when you act your way through love you have to give of yourself. For those of you who are married, you entered a covenant of receiving and receiving. You love each other. You know how to give. You give of yourself. You don’t give 50/50. You give 100/100. You give your whole self. And by giving yourself, you hold nothing back and you become even greater because you’re giving yourself away. That’s what the sacrament of marriage is about. It’s a beautiful image. And it really is born out of this image of love.
Love is important in stewardship spirituality. It is expressed in giving. If we say we love God, why is it hard to give to the collection basket at Church? Why do so many make excuses when people do not give? This, to me, diminishes the value of love. If people give, even as little as it is, it teaches them to focus on someone else rather then on himself or herself. It focuses on a relationship, a deep and loving relationship with God. Remember first core value of identity––that God created us for Him.
One way to look at love as a requirement of the Christian is what Scriptures tell us in the Old Testament: “do not come empty-handed when you come to the altar.” In biblical times, there were the three times a year when they were required “to celebrate a pilgrim feast’ to God (Ex ). They didn’t come empty-handed. They had to give, “the choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.” Ex .
It was a way of life then in the Old Testament, and it’s a way of life for us now. To explain this further, I would like to go back to that identity issue. One of the images we came across while promoting stewardship as a way of life in the Philippines was this idea of the spousal image of identity. Remember what scriptures teach us: God has married us; we are married to God. We are His spouse. In addition, Jesus calls himself as the “bridegroom” and the Church is his bride. The Church is our spouse. That’s a beautiful image.
Of course, we also have another image which is more accepted within the church and that is: “the Church is our mother.” It’s a beautiful image, a very beautiful image. Indeed, the church provides for and feeds and looks after us just like what a mother does for her child. It’s very tender, and there’s trust and the sense of security.
Let’s face it though, little children grow up. And when you grow up, you don’t marry your mother; you don’t marry your father. You marry your spouse; you marry your husband; you marry your wife. And if you can see the Church not as just your mother, but as your husband or as your wife, then you also see an obligation that comes with loving a spouse––loving a wife or a husband. It is in that spousal relationship that we challenge a poor parish to ask: “How would you treat your wife? Would you treat your wife this way by giving her nothing?” You would go out of your way to make sure she had everything she needed.
Remember, that’s what spirituality is––applying it––asking people to take seriously that the Church is their spouse. Are you in love with your spouse? Look at her. Look at him. Are you in love with him? Are you only thinking you love him? Are you showing your love for your spouse?
Even the poorest people know about marriage. They know that image. You don’t have to explain it too hard. They get that one real fast because they know what it is to have a husband and a wife. They know how to be good to their spouses. When they think of the Church as their spouse, they learn to now to treat the Church with that same understanding.
Remember, love is a requirement of the Christian. We love, and then we know how to love, especially those of us who are married. They know how to love. If they can understand the kind of love there is between husband and wife, they can transfer that to the Church. That’s an important start, but it’s just a start.
I hope you have been enjoying Father Kembrling's message. Incorporating the virtues is truly the way to a stewardship way of life.
Don't forget to read the teacher feature this week on Ann Vaughn. Ann is our lead teacher and has been here at St. Pats for her entire career. Very impressive.
With you in Christ,
Andrew Kemberling, V.F. It discusses the spirituality of gratitude.
Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever. Ps. 106:1
“We thank God the Father, through Christ in the Spirit, for the gifts of creation, salvation and sanctification.” CCC, No. 1352.
Trust and acceptance naturally lead to the next core value of gratitude. Coming to the realization that enough is enough is fueled by acceptance. It is an attitude shift of looking at what we have, not at what we don’t have.
The greatest gift is our relationship with loved ones. People are more important than things. We come to accept that God has given us just what we need. We come to believe that God does for us what we can not do for ourselves. And God’s way of providing is for our own good. Our detachment from material goods places them in their proper perspective. We appreciate them for what they are––a gift.
Gratitude fills our heart as we realize the wisdom and forethought God has in giving us what we need. If we don’t have it, perhaps we don’t need it. If God wants us to have something, we remember that nothing is impossible with God. What we have is shared with us by God and we appreciate his trust in us to be stewards of the good things of life. Our thanks to God is an offering in itself. It is our way of responding to the relationship founded upon God’s love.
Gratitude is like the fruit of the first two because as you start losing yourself, you start focusing on the things that you have been given. All of stewardship sees everything as a gift, a gift from God. Listen for the gift language in the Eucharistic prayer. You hear it all the time. “Oh God, we present these gifts to you and all the gifts that you’ve given us.” Thus in the Eucharist, “We thank God the Father, through Christ in the Spirit, for the gifts of creation, salvation and sanctification.” CCC, No.___ Indeed, God has given you every single thing in your life. Thus you won’t take anything for granted. You realize how God’s action and control has made everything happen in your life.
Gratitude is born out of trust because the ultimate trust is letting go of the control. God is in control. When you realize that God is in control and you realize he’s given everything as a gift, gratitude is born.
Greed and Envy
The opposites of gratitude are greed and envy. Greed and envy are qualities in our world that are destructive to gratitude because greed and envy want more, more, more. With gratitude we say, “I am not trying to seek what I don’t have. Rather, I appreciate what I already have.” It changes the focus. It’s like taking a 180-degree turn in gratitude. You start seeing a different picture.
Thus, you say, “I have this, and I have that,” and you begin to realize what you do have instead of being filled with covetousness, with avarice, and with wanting more. You appreciate what you have. You begin to say “I don’t need so much, I can live with less.” That’s what gratitude does. It helps you realize you can have less. You don’t have to have all that you want. Instead, you say “I have enough. In fact, I have too much already. Look at all God’s given me!” You start to take an inventory of everything you have and you say “I have more than I’ve ever needed!” And then you begin to realize, when you compare what you have to what other people have, that: “I am blessed; I am truly blessed.”
This is especially true for travelers from First World countries to Third World countries. You can be a real wimp when it comes to getting ready in the morning, with hot water and a shower readily available. This might not be the case in Third World countries and it could be a very hard experience for some. Thus, when you go home, you’ll be thanking God for hot water!
When was the last time you thanked God for that? It reminds you of how much we have, yet we take them for granted ––even the most basic creature comforts of life. I thank God for a private bathroom, and I thank God for drinkable water. Imagine not having potable water! Most often in Third World countries, you have to drink out of bottles. Thus, we realize how much we have in our country.
Gratitude is a quality of humility. We need to lose our selfishness and, perhaps, some sense of control, and we need to become humble. Humility does not focus on oneself; rather, it upon the ultimate. The ultimate is that God is God and He gives us everything we have. Then we realize we don’t need anything more because we already have so much now.
Everything we have is a gift. That means there’s this relationship of giving and receiving that’s very important to stewardship spirituality. God gives and we receive; and then on our part we learn how to give. Just as God gives us everything, we too, need to learn to give as part of this spirituality. This is not an intellectual process. These are actions that come from your heart. This is very moral––things you have to do. And so in this spirituality, gratitude means you need to be thankful. You cannot just think thankfulness; you have to act out being thankful.
Lastly, don't forget to check out this week's teacher feature. Mary Meng is the headliner this week.
With you in Christ,