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STEWARDSHIP | Models of prayer, participation and generosity

In St. Louis we refer to the gifts of time, talent and treasure as prayer, participation and generosity. Too many times when we hear “time, talent and treasure” we “harden our hearts” instead of opening them. Hearing the words “prayer, participation and generosity” often makes us more receptive to the stewardship message.

Prayer — Our time spent with God is the foundation of our personal and parish stewardship. Privately, this is best done in silence to listen for God’s response. Collectively, this is best done in joyful celebration of the Holy Mass. We should ask God daily how He wants us to use our gifts. We should open our hearts in gratitude for all that we have been given so that our hearts may overflow in generosity. “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances, give thanks…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Participation — Using our gifts in charitable works and parish ministry is how we respond to God’s call. Each of us has been given unique gifts and we are called to nurture and develop them, not bury them. We are called to embrace our role in God’s plan and to work together in a complimentary way as one Body of Christ. “The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)

Generosity — Using our financial resources to draw us closer to God and return our gifts with increase. For many of us, God and money run neck and neck as the top priority in our lives. Being generous with our money keeps us from putting other gods before God. It keeps God first in everything! Many Catholics are generous, however, many of us are not generous in proportion to what we have been given. “No one can serve two masters. He will hate one and love the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (wealth).” (Matthew 6: 24)

We are very fortunate in St. Louis that our archdiocese’s patron saints are excellent models of each of the gifts of prayer, participation and generosity.

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne was known as “the woman who always prays.” St. Rose said, “Do not look back at the past, nor forward to the future. Claim only the present, for it holds God’s will.” For more information on St. Rose Philippine Duchesne as a model of prayer, visit archstl.org/stewardship to view a short video by Father Patrick Russell (chaplain of St. Dominic High School and associate pastor at Assumption Parish in O’Fallon).

St. Vincent de Paul is well known for his charitable works as nearly every parish has a St. Vincent de Paul Society helping those in need. St. Vincent said, “Let us do our duty well; let us go straight to God; let us work to become very humble, very patient, very mortified and very charitable.” For more information on St. Vincent de Paul as a model of prayer, visit archstl.org/stewardship to view a short video by seminarian Jacob Braun (Kenrick-Glennon Seminary).

St. Louis, King of France is well known for his generosity with his wealth in assisting those in need. St Louis said, “Have a pitiful heart for the poor, and all those whom you believe to in misery of heart or body, and, according to your ability, comfort and aid them with alms.” For more information on St. Louis, King of France as a model of generosity, visit archstl.org/stewardship to view a short video by seminarian Charlie Archer (Kenrick-Glennon Seminary).

Stewardship is simply recognizing that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God and living a grateful and generous lifestyle where we try to become more Christ-centered and less self-centered. The whole point is to strengthen our relationship with God and with each other and ultimately, help each other get to heaven. Let’s follow the example of our patron saints.

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, pray for us!

St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us!

St. Louis, King of France, pray for us!

Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at Mary, Mother of the Church in south St. Louis County. He can be reached at (314) 792-7215 or [email protected]

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