We begin our annual time of stewardship renewal here at Nativity of Mary. I am very sincere when I say that this time of renewal inspires me and fills me with gladness that I am a priest.
Each year parishes around the world send out stewardship renewal forms asking their people to pray, reflect on their blessings, and pledge a portion of their time, talent, and treasure for the upcoming calendar year. It’s a time when I get to hear from people heart-warming testimonies about how much their faith and parish mean to them.
For example, one year at my last parish a family brought to the parish office their stewardship renewal forms. Included with them was a photo of me holding their newborn baby. The photo had been taken on the day that I baptized their little one. On the back of the photo was a note that read, “Not only are we pledging the first-fruits of our time, talent, and treasure to God, but we offer our entire family to God.”
Of all of the gifts that family had received from God, there in my arms was the one gift that they most cherished – and they wanted to put him in God’s hands. Imagine what God can do with that baby boy. Imagine what God can do with our families and everything that we entrust to Him.
A spirituality of good stewardship is like putting on glasses. The more that we offer ourselves in self-giving love the more clearly we see. We perceive more clearly how God is alive and working in our lives. We come to understand more deeply how God is leading us to greater blessings. We come to recognize and to believe that God is providing for us – and that we can give and give and grow to see that we will always have enough. There is nothing to be afraid of. God always takes care of us.
Nativity of Mary is mailing to all registered families and members the stewardship renewal forms for the 2014 calendar year. Before you fill them out, I just ask you to go to a quiet place to pray and to listen to the voice of God. It will be a voice that brings you peace and gives to you a glimpse of what God promises.
It’s about being transformed. The more we can entrust to God our families and our parish, indeed all of our hearts and lives, the more we will become conformed according to the beauty and loving image of God.
Thanks to your many offerings of love here at Nativity of Mary. Trusting God together for even greater blessings still to come,