Stewardship

I am on the parish council at my parish.  The appeal was put out to each member to think about addressing the congregation at the Mass that we usually attend.  I decided that I was going to give my two cents for what it is worth.  I thought I would add it here.

“There are just a few more days to finish preparations for Christmas.  I have a plan for my menu and for the last shopping trips I need to make.  I feel better because I have a plan.

During Advent we have been hearing about God’s plan for salvation through Jesus, our Savior.  We all know that Chirstmas is the day that we celebrate the Incarnation of our Savior as a sweet baby.  We are exceedingly blessed to have been offered, and have received the gift of faith in Jesus.  We are richly blessed to call ourselves Catholic.  We are blessed to be part of the parish of Our Lady of the Desert.

Man has been given the gift and responsibility of being stewards of God’s creation.  In the CCC the Church teaches:  On coming into the world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life.  He needs others.  Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities, intellectual or moral aptitueds, the benefits derived from social commerce and the distribution of wealth.

In other words, “talents” are not distributed equally.

The CCC continues:  These differences belong to God’s plan…the differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness and the sharing of goods.

Theis menas that we should exercise the virtues of Temperance, which is to moderate our use of the good we have been blessed with;  Justice, which is the constant and firm will to give one’s due to God and neighbor and Solidarity, which is recognition of our common humanity, especially in the light of Christ’s redemption, by which we are saved.

Being good stewards requires a plan.  We each need to carefully, review what we have been given in our lives.  We budget for housing, food, cars, utilities.  We need to budget for our spiritual home, this parish.  The parish council is asking that you prayerfully discern what you can afford to give to the parish, the DDF and to other worthy charities.  The parish has bills just as a regular household does.  There are utilities to pay, staff to compensate and insure, insurance on the properties and buildings, not to mention upkeep on the buildings and inside the church.  We have furniture that needs attention.  Like David in the first reading, we should look to taking care of the house of God.  The DDF is an assessment from the diocese.  this is so that they are able to function to provide support and services to the parishes, priests, religious and programs that they are able to run through the diocese.  Any moneys that are collected above the assessment amount comes straight back to the parish.

The worksheet that ha been handed out will help you think of items that you might want to give towards.  Not all of the items listed are required, nor is it all inclusive.  There are combined collections in the Spring and Fall, as well as collections for the Retired Religious and the Congregation of the Resurrection, whom we are blessed to have staffing our parish.  The parish council is highly recommending regular contributions to the parish and the DDF.

Everyone has something to offer.  Not everyone will be able to offer the same dollar amount.  1Cor 16:2 says, “One the first day of the week, Sunday, each of you should set aside whatever he can afford.” and 2Cor 9:7 says, “So that in this way it might be ready as a bountiful give and not as an exaction.”  There is no set amount or, tithe, that is required by the Church.

Like Mary’s Fiat, our saying ‘yes’ to God is an acceptance of the greatest gift.  Our saying yes to this gift requires action like Fr. Del mentioned in his homily.

There is one gift that the parish would like to share with you.  There are calendars available in the concourse.  Diana and I will be out at the tables for a short while after Mass for any questions or comments that you might have.  Thank you for your time and on behalf of the parish council, have a blessed and very Merry Christmas.

Turn, Turn, Turn

This last week, there were lots of things to celebrate in my family. One of my nieces turned 21 on June 22. My favorite cousin (yes, I still have a favorite at the grand age of 46) celebrated her birthday on June 23rd.

My husband and I celebrated our 26th anniversary on Wednesday. Somehow being more than 25 years seems larger, longer, older. I am not sure why that is. I look at Steve now, and I see the gray hair at his temple. I see the smile lines at his eyes and mouth. The eyes that looked deep into mine that last Saturday in June 1985 still look at me with the same intensity. My heart still sings when I look at him. Okay, not all the time. But when I see him throwing our kids in the pool, or him holding our granddaughter at church, or driving us to our date night dinner, times like that?  Those times make my heart sing.

Our middle daughter turned 14 on June 27th. I took her and one of her best friends to an outdoor mall about an hour away from where we live. It is fun to spend time with teens while you are hanging back and letting them explore.

Today is my oldest daughter’s 2nd wedding anniversary. I have to say that it is a blessing to have them living just a few minutes away.

I love the seasons of celebrating.

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneI was reminded that this week is the Week of the Feasts of Homemaking, or Home Keeping, by Elizabeth Foss. http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2013/07/mary-and-martha-and-me-and-you-too.html I love what she had to say about yesterday’s gospel reading and the prayers that she shared.

So, how does St. Mary Magdalene fit into a week of home keeping? For me, it is a reminder that I can always turn from my not so immaculate keeping of my home. I may not always have an immaculate home, but I don’t need to let things slip as they sometimes do.

St. Mary Magdalene turned her life completely around. So much so that she was the first one that our Risen Lord appeared to after his resurrection. He was “my hope” to her. He should be our hope as well.

So, I see one more connection between St. Mary Magdalene and home keeping. Pope Blessed John Paul II described the family as the Domestic Church. The building that we dwell in needs to reflect “our Hope.” Not only should we reflect Christ, our home should be a welcoming place to all who enter.

Focus

I was chatting with a friend last night about focus. What is my focus here? Can I talk about just one aspect of my life without other aspects of my life flowing into that one?

The answer is no. I couldn’t do that anymore than I could separate the fact that I am a woman from the fact that I am a married woman.

I think perhaps the most important thing you should know about me is that I am a Daughter of The King. My belief in God is what shapes my life most. My call to love God is my first purpose in life. And, because God is good, there are lots of things to talk about.

So, what is your focus?

Feast of St. Bridget

Today is the Feast of St. Bridget, also known as St. Brigitta. St. Bridget was a wife and mother of eight. She was the mother of St. Catherine of Sweden and some of her children completely ignored the church. After her husband’s death, she founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior, also known as the Brigettines. She founded hospices for pilgrims, poor and the sick.

We are still in the week of feasts of homemaking. Many times I have heard moms wish they had more time to pray. if only they were in a convent and had all day to pray. But, our vocation is to be wives to our husbands and mothers to our children. Sometimes the only prayer we have in us is the work of the day.

St. Bridget was married as many young noblewomen of her time were, in arranged marriages. She was obedient to her marriage vows. Only when her husband had died, and presumably her children were all grown, when she was 46 did she found an order of nuns. She was able to focus on things besides her husband, children and home.

While the grass may look greener inside the convent walls, we wives are called to live in the world.  We have to figure out how to pray while in our situations.  When I was in the midst of being a mommy with little “Littles” (when daughter #3 was 5, I had kids who were 15, 11, 5, 4, 2 and newborn) and it was all I could do to say, “Stay by my side Lord,” when my feet hit the ground in the morning.   Now that they are older, there is more time for prayer.  That is a good thing because with my four Littles at the ages of 13, 12, 10 and 8, they ask more complicated questions now.  I need the grace to answer these questions with good answers.

Harold and Clara

Last Monday, I went to a wedding.  This wedding is the fourth one that I have been to this year.  My oldest daughter was married on June 30th.  My family was invited to the blessing of the marriage for our dentist and his wife.  Two of them I went because two of my daughters were asked to be altar servers.

I really wasn’t expecting anything profound from this weeding.  But God, in His infinite wisdom had other plans for me.  Harold and Clara are 85 years old.  Yes, you read that right, 85 years old.  Clara is  lifelong Catholic.  Not Harold.  They chose the “Creation of Eve” (Gen 2: 18-24) as their Old Testament reading, “Love is Patient” (1Cor 13:1-8) and the Gospel reading was “Salt of the Earth” Mt 5:13-16

Most young couples who chose that OT reading would choose it thinking that they have a long time to be companions.  Harold and Clara have chosen each other knowing that their time is going to be shorter rather than longer.  Patience with each other is needed whether you are in your 20s or 30s as well as when you are in your 80s.   But Salt and Light?

Who gets married when they are in their 80s?  How many couples do you know who have done that?  Fr. Charlie (my pastor) said that they are salt and light to the world precisely because they are in their 80s.  There is still value in marriage, even when you are 80 and past the passion of youth, so to speak.  There is value in marriage even when you are past your child bearing years.

In a time when we hear about older people not getting married because they might loose benefits, or just figure they are old enough, why bother, this couple chose to give witness to Christ’s love and to the covenant of marriage.

It was a beautiful wedding and I wish Harold and Clara a beautiful life together.

The Last Day of Summer

I have been down with a head cold for the last couple of days.  I haven’t really been paying attention to much.  We have done enough school work to call it a day.  Then, I have been napping, saving my energy to get up to make dinner for all nine of us.

This morning I was having a lazy Friday morning.  I remembered that the Shuttle Endeavor was being flown into Los Angeles this morning.  The Littles and I watched it being flown around San Francisco.  Then, we heard when it was expected to be in Los Angeles.  I made the decision at 11:05am to head down to see if we could see it come in.  We were in the car by 11:15am and heading down towards LAX.

We listened to a news station on the radio that was keeping us updated on where people were seeing it.  Thankfully, I had decided on a route to LAX that was going to take us near enough to Disneyland for us to see it.  Since we would be on I-105, I knew we would see the plane flying the shuttle in, if we could get close enough to the airport.  There was no traffic on the freeways.  I am pretty sure it was because people who wanted to see it, were already at places to watch it.  My intent was to get far enough to see it from the car.

Imagine our surprise when when my little guy shouted out, “There it is!”  It was behind us a bit.  It was so surreal.  You could see the plane, the shuttle and the escort planes.  We lost it for a bit.  I kind of felt like Maverick in Top Gun…”Do you see it Goose?”

As we were traveling, we saw people crowding the Metro platforms.  I am not sure if they are that busy at that time on a Friday afternoon.  We passed a couple of buildings that had people gathered on the roof.  Then a few more miles closer to the airport, we saw it, in all it’s gleaming glory.  It was beautiful.   There was more screaming in the car.  All five of us were so excited.  We had the camera and my cell phone.  “It’s right there!”  “Take it! Take it! Take it!”

The kids and I took horrible photos.  We will be able to find plenty of those.  We can say that we saw the shuttle on the last day of summer 2012.

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