Grateful Living, the Joy of Stewardship – Take Your Place

This session more than others make me think of some of my favorite Catholic Hymns that somehow also reflect stewardship. One of the classics from my grade school and high school years was “All That I am.” It spoke to me so much; it was the offertory song at my priesthood ordination. Another one that spoke to me during college was “The Prayer to St Francis” where we are called to be a disciple in all ways to the world in which we encounter. Since seminary and ordination, I have come to reflect often on the Suspice, the Jesuit Prayer “Take Lord, Receive”, which has become a powerful Catholic Hymn and the basis for Matthew Kelly’s prayer style as well. When I was ordained a priest, and was listening intently on the Litany of Saints, I made this prayer, which I still pray often: “Lord I am going to ask for something I know you will not do, so take this prayer and do what is best so I can be my best for you: take my free will. I know it is mine to keep, but take it and transform it; make my will more with yours and give me the graces to make my will one with yours.”
In my better moments, I know I am happiest, more free and most at peace when I allow God’s will to lead me and I surrender my will to his will. What gets in the way of me doing this at all times is my need to be in control; for me to see all the tangible results and to make things happen. This is holding onto a handful of sand so tightly that all the sand runs out of my hand for the tightness with which it is held. If I simply open my hand and hold onto God’s sand, then it stays and much more can be placed in my hand.
As I was reading the session for today thinking about what I would be saying and how I would be acting if I were a) in the crowd wondering how I would get food after such a long day or b) one of the apostles also hungry, wanting the people to leave so I could get food and quality time with Jesus…and then I heard Jesus say he was going to feed all of us with a few fish and a couple of barley loaves. I’m not sure I have experienced the gift of faith in my life yet to believe that would have happened, had I lived at that time and place. So, how would I respond after I witnessed it and had more than enough to eat? Hopefully with amazing gratitude, with faith to believe that Jesus could do anything with whatever is offered to him in good faith.
And, so today, I get to put that faith into practice. He really did feed these people with so little. And, in Eucharist, he feeds us with his body, blood, soul and divinity. And, he calls me to offer my gifts of time, talent and treasure. Not just a little, but he asks me to offer my very self to him, not because I am a priest, but because I am baptized, so he calls all of us to do this. If everyone gave 10% of their time and talent to the mission of the church – if we all gave 8% of our income to our parish and 2% to other organizations that help those in need, imagine what would happen. But, today I just ask you to take to prayer what God is asking you to do for the mission of the church, trusting in him that He knows what you are able to give and to do and then watch him exponentially grow your relationship with him, with the church and with yourself. He will not be outdone in generosity. Google the songs I started this reflection with, take them to prayer and then in good faith, respond with a generous heart. Thank you for taking the time to be part of the small group and going through Session 10.