So Many Choices

So Many Choices!

Modern American culture offers us more choices on how to spend our time than in any time in the history of humankind.  In many ways, these opportunities are  blessings; but the sheer number of opportunities also poses challenges.

As the school year wraps up for families and they move into a “summer” schedule, this reality comes into focus for many parents.  But even for those who don’t have the responsibility of planning a summer’s worth of activities for their children, this time of year offers an opportunity to be more intentional.

Intentional is a big word in the world of stewardship and evangelization. We are being first called to be and then to formintentional disciples”.  In our stewardship pillar, Dedicated Discipleship, we are invited to practice intentional love of God and neighbor.  Clearly, in the midst of this milieu of choices, Catholic stewards are being invited to do more than just drift through our days wandering from one activity to another aimlessly.

There are many ways we can be more intentional, but today I would like to offer just one useful tool for sifting through the many choices we face.  It has clarified my options and has assisted me in understanding my underlying motivations and desires.  And it is simply this: the difference between a value and an ideal:

  • A Value is something I believe is good and also is something I am willing to sacrifice something else for to have in my life now.
  • An Ideal is also something I believe is good, but it is not something I am willing to sacrifice something else to have in my life now.

This knowledge has been a great tool for slicing through the myriad of good things there are to choose from in our culture.  In striving to be intentional, it is also a helpful tool in sorting the good from the best.  Because as Andrew Pudewa has said, “The challenge is not to let good things get in the way of the best things.”

So here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • If I look at the way I spend my time now, what do my choices reveal about what I consider a value and what I consider an ideal?
  • As I plan for the summer, how would I categorize possible activities for myself or for my children as “values” or as “ideals”?
  • Most importantly, for the dedicated disciple, what would Jesus put under the “value” column?  Does my list correspond to his? Am I willing to sacrifice to put those things He values most into my life today?

This last question is important as we strive to live this Catholic Way of Life.  In our Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish, it states some of the ideals we are striving for as:

  • “The majority of our parishioners put fellowship with Jesus Christ and His Church above their participation in sports, media or other leisure activities encouraged by our culture.”
  • And, “Many parishioners practice intentional generosity . . . generously give themselves in service inside and outside the church . . . practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy . . . . and are intentional and active in caring for the poor and marginalized.”

Certainly anyone reading this, and perhaps the vast majority of those who come to church on Sunday would see the activities outlined above as good.  The important question is, though, are they a value or are they an ideal?  As stewards, we are invited to continue to encourage and inspire each other to intentionally choose the living out of our faith in concrete ways and perhaps more importantly, to be willing to sacrifice other things in order to do so. Distinguishing our values from our ideals assists us in doing just that.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

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(605) 343-3541

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Practical Ways to Live out Stewardship

Practical Ways to Live out Stewardship

A Christian Steward commits to developing certain attitudes and has a particular way of looking at the world. For instance, a steward recognizes that God is the owner of all things, they practice gratitude and generosity. The are growing in trust in God and committed to deepening their relationship with him. But what are some practical things stewards do as a consequence of their beliefs? Here are just a few:

  • Stewards own things. Things don’t own them. They take care of the wealth God has entrusted them with and put them at God’s disposal. They are detached enough to receive and give freely. They do not hoard. They do not put their security in the accumulation of wealth, but trust in God. They have clarity about what are needs and what are wants. They are thoughtful and intentional in managing their gifts. They give to God and others, not just what is “left over”, but measure their own needs and the needs of others together.
  • Stewards aren’t swept away in a current of “busyness”. They are the owners of their time and make intentional choices about how to spend their time.
  • Stewards make intentional choices to “keep the main thing the main thing.” And for stewards the main things are people and relationships; giving time and resources to God, family and other people God has put into their lives.
  • Stewards are people of prayer; regular, planned and consistent time given to God.
  • Stewards are people of generous hospitality, welcoming and inviting, giving generously of themselves to others.
  • Stewards know that their natural talents and gifts have been given to them, not just for themselves, but to be used for the benefit of others. They are generous in sharing these gifts. They also desire to know and use the supernatural charisms given to them by the Holy Spirit to help build His kingdom.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

The Sacrifice of Being Welcoming

The Sacrifice of Being Welcoming

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.  The Gospel reading recounts Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan.  After Jesus comes up out of the water, heaven was opened and a voice came from heaven announcing, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  (cf. Luke 3:21-22)  Notice that God the Father did not say, “you are my ONLY beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” 

 The truth is that, we are all beloved children of God and despite our imperfections, He is well pleased with us.  And although, we might in some sense know that is true, I think that much of the time we don’t really believe it.  When Bishop Gruss first came to our Diocese, he often shared how he had been told his whole life, “Jesus loves you” but that he didn’t really know what that meant.  It wasn’t until he was struggling as an adult that he began praying every day, “Jesus, if you are real and you do love me, show me that love in a real and concrete way today.”  He says that prayer changed his life.  In fact, that prayer is the reason we have him as our Shepherd in the Diocese of Rapid City.  Bishop Gruss knew that Jesus loved him; he hadn’t experienced that love.

 Bishop Gruss’ example teaches us about the importance of prayer.  He did not experience the love of God in his own life until he began praying in a very deliberate, consistent and intentional way.  Prayer is essential.  That is why it is a central element in our Stewardship initiative under the pillar of Lively Faith. 

 This experience of God’s love comes directly to us from Him in prayer.  However, it comes to us through the actions of others as well.  Many years ago, I read a book by Dr. Ross Campbell called, “How to Really Love Your Child.”  As a psychiatrist, he had worked with hundreds of families who were struggling.  He said that he had never met a parent who said they didn’t love their child, but that he had worked with hundreds of kids who didn’t think their parents loved them.  Clearly, there was a disconnect — parents who loved their children but weren’t able to convey that love in a way the child received it. 

I am convinced this doesn’t just happen in the parent-child relationship.  It happens in other relationships in our lives and it happens to us as church communities, when we desire to share the Love of Christ with others but that message is not given in a way that others receive or experience the tender love of Jesus.  I believe the Holy Spirit has given us the gift of our stewardship initiative to assist us in bridging this gap. 

The pillar of Generous Hospitality and the concrete examples of how this is done in the characteristics, as well as the witness of so many inside and outside of our Diocese of how hospitality is lived out in concrete, real actions provides us with real and practical help in this area. 

I continue to be challenged to grow in my own hospitality.  I recently read the beautiful new apostolic exhortation by Bishop Olmsted on the family (http://www.catholicsun.org/2018/12/30/complete-my-joy-in-major-new-document-bishop-olmsted-urges-fathers-mothers-to-commit-their-families-to-a-deeper-relationship-with-christ/).  In it, he shares this quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta:

“And so less and less we are in touch with each other.  The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness.  People are starving for love because everybody is in such a great rush.”

 

 

Generous Hospitality requires an attentiveness to the other.  One of the biggest obstacles in my own life to this attentiveness is my tendency to rush through the day.  Slowing down requires a sacrifice on my part; to sacrifice my time and attention and give it to another.  It also requires a certain sensitivity to how others are experiencing life. 

This was brought to my attention yesterday when I witnessed a friend reach out to a visitor from Colombia.  He offered to take our visitor fishing or hunting and I think his offer came from a genuine desire to make this man feel welcome here and a willingness to sacrifice time to give that gift.  I thought to myself, it is pretty easy to wish this man Buenos Días and go on with my day.  Both my friend’s example and Mother Teresa are challenging me to a greater hospitality. 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

The Lord Cannot Fill Up a Cup Already Full

The Lord Cannot Fill Up a Cup Already Full

 “A branch shall sprout from the root of Jesse, and the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth, and all flesh will see the salvation of God.”

Entrance Antiphon for today (December 20, 2018) 

The season of Advent; this season of silence and stillness; the season of waiting is fast approaching its end. In just a few days we will begin our celebration of Christmas.  The glory of the Lord will once again “fill the whole earth” … or at least as much of it as we have given to Him to fill.  For the Lord cannot fill a cup already full.

This is the great challenge of Advent; in the stillness and silence to do some major de-cluttering in our hearts.  In The Reed of God, author Caryll Houselander has a provided some beautiful imagery to help us do just that in imitation of Our Lady.  She speaks of the virginal emptiness of Mary as an:

“emptiness like the hollow in the reed, the narrow riftless emptiness, which can have only one destiny:  to receive the piper’s breath and to utter the song that is in his heart.  It is emptiness like the hollow in the cup, shaped to receive water or wine.  It is emptiness like that of the bird’s nest, built in a round warm ring to receive the little bird.”  

She goes on to ask, “can someone whose life is already cluttered up with trivial things get back to this virginal emptiness?” Yes! So, too, can those who are too full of their own big plans, those who are “too set on their own conscious purpose in life… Zealots and triflers and all besides who have crowded the emptiness out of their minds and the silence out of their souls can restore it.  At least they can allow God to restore it and ask Him to do so.” 

If we have not yet captured the silence and stillness of Advent, it is not too late to do so.  With God, it is never too late.  Doing so is well worth the effort because as we learn from the example of Our Lady, into this emptiness rushes the Holy Spirit and in her case God is made man —  The Incarnation — The greatest event in human history.   For us as well, new life will be made in us when we make space for the Holy Spirit, when we carve out stillness and silence and dwell in expectant emptiness. 

We can also follow Our Lady further and continue to learn from her. Having received, Mary then gives.  “She had nothing to give Him but herself. He asked for nothing else.  She gave Him herself.  Working, eating, sleeping, she was forming His body from hers.  His flesh and blood.  From her humanity she gave Him His humanity.”  As Houselander points out, Jesus is formed as Mary moves through her daily activities.  “Every beat of her heart gave Him His heart to love with… Breaking and eating the bread, drinking the wine of the country, she gave Him His flesh and blood.”

This is where stewardship enters into our story.  In embracing this Catholic Way of Life, we allow God into all of our daily activities; we invite the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in our lives; we allow Him to guide our daily activities, choices and work and He brings His life into the mundane.  Like Mary, we have nothing to give but ourselves.  And he asks for nothing else.  But when we give that which we have, he gives back life in abundance. 

I think sometimes our greatest barrier to living this life of generosity, of abundance, of dedicated discipleship is that deep down we really don’t believe that it works this way.  We doubt His generosity, we doubt our own ability to receive and then to give.  Deep down, do we really believe in God’s ability and desire to transform our lives; to make them holy?  Stewardship gives us concrete ways to bring God into the small, daily choices of life.  To allow Him to be made in the ordinary.  To live deeply in the mystery of the Incarnation. 

May the remainder of our Advent be filled with expectant stillness and silence. May we all experience the deep love of the Word Incarnate this Christmas.   Many blessings to you and to your family!

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

“Time is our treasure, the “money” with which to buy eternity.”

“Time is our treasure, the “money” with which to buy eternity.”

“We do not bring God into time; He is the Creator of time. In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Eternal Word through whom the universe was created entered into time to re-create it from within!”

In a few weeks, we celebrate Christmas, the great feast of the Incarnation.  One of the ways the Church sanctifies time is through the liturgical calendar.  Entering into the rhythm of the church calendar, marking the seasons, celebrations and saints contained in it, can help us live a Lively Faith.  It also reminds us of the Catholic notion of receiving time as a gift from God.  The Catholic steward sees time, like all other things, as something given to us by God to be used for His glory.  “The Catholic Church proclaims that time is a precious commodity. In the insightful and allegorical words of St Jose Maria Escriva, the “Time is our treasure, the “money” with which to buy eternity.” (Furrow #882)

“Time truly matters. What we do with it truly matters. That is as true of the history of the world as it is our own personal histories. As that wonderful Saint reminded us, “A true Christian is always ready to appear before God. Because, if he is fighting to live as a man of Christ, he is ready at every moment to fulfill his duty.” (Furrow, 875)

One of the searching questions we should ask ourselves, in a blunt examination of conscience, is what are we doing with time? Do we choose to mark our passage of time by the great events of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ? . . .

When we really enter into the Liturgical seasons of our Church, when they become granular and real, they offer a way to receive time as a continual gift and change the way we actually live our daily lives. Our choice to celebrate them helps us to grow in the life of grace as we say “yes” to their invitations. They invite us to walk in a new way of life which becomes infused with supernatural meaning; to enter into the mystery of living in the Church as the New World and thereby become leaven for an age which has lost its soul.

Human beings have always marked time by significant events. The real question is not whether we will mark time, but how we will mark time? What events and what messages are we proclaiming in our calendaring?”


The Liturgical calendar can be a useful tool for the Christian Steward; a way to order time according to God’s will and to acknowledge time as a gift given to us by Him.”


(Lengthy quote taken from, Deacon Keith A Fournier, Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org) 11/23/2014)

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

13 + 6 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418