Grateful Living: The Joy of Stewardship – Discover Your Unique Call

From 2006 through 2015 I was the vocation director for the Diocese of Jefferson City. Many times when I would go to a parish or school, people would ask what the Wichita, KS diocese was doing that allowed them to have over 60 seminarians and ordaining about 10 priests a year. I said “nothing we can’t do here.” First, most every parish has a perpetual adoration chapel where prayer is happening 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Second, for 25 years they have been hearing about and putting the spirituality of stewardship into practice. And, within those 25 years, everyone in leadership, and those who support leadership, are all rowing their oars in the same direction moving the ship in the same direction.
From marriage preparation, to Baptismal classes, to Parents of children receiving first reconciliation and first communion, to teachers in Catholic Schools and PSR programs, to youth groups, Confirmation programs, RCIA, and adult faith formation, here is what they teach and hear:
That God created you, is a gift to be thankful for. That God has a purpose for you, for everyone that helps you discover that purpose, and for the gifts to live out that purpose, are reasons to be thankful. For everything that has been created, that you get to share in that creation, and even have some of His creation as your own — all are reasons to be thankful. That God wants you to do something with the life He has given you, using the gifts He has given you, to make this world He created for you a better place for the other people He has created out of love, are all reasons to be thankful. And, in response to all this thankfulness: pursue His purpose and plan for you.
Stewardship is not a gimmick to increase priestly vocations and happier lifelong marriages. Vocations are a byproduct of teaching and believing that our response to all God has given us, is to be thankful. We show our gratitude to God by using the gifts He gives us for God and neighbor.
In this week’s session, Discover Your Unique Call, the calling from God is more than whether we should be married, be a priest, religious, or remain single. It’s more about how to live that vocation out once the vocation is known. How is God calling us to use our gifts, in thanksgiving to him, as a married person, as a priest, as a deacon, as a consecrated religious? How are we called to raise the children, which are gifts from God, He has given us? How are we to be his disciple in the work place? How are we to be his instrument and use our gifts within our parish? Within Pettis County to make it a better place?
Finding the answers to these questions will take periods of quiet prayer (maybe in the adoration chapel), listening to others as we discuss these important questions (the small group format that can continue after Lent), and getting involved using the talents God has given us. We do this, not because we have to fill out the time and talent form as a duty or an obligation to the church, but because we are grateful that we have a family, a place to live, a place to worship, a place to work, and above all, because God has called us his disciple and given us gifts we use to make this a better place for Him. Thank God for the gift of His gifts! Lord, help me to know how to use the gifts as you see fit and then help me say yes and use them in the ways you call me to use them. Amen.