Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
How willing are you to serve the Lord? What are you still withholding from God? How much fear drives your decisions and choices? What would your life look like if you actually surrendered your will and your life over to the care of God? Would you even be recognizable? What will it take for you to lay it all down for the Lord? Can you let go or will it all have to be ripped out of your hands? God has a way of get-ting what he wants from us. The only question is will we let go willingly or get dragged along the way to God’s Will?
These are some questions we’ll be asking at our 10th Annual People Raiser or PR-X. The People Raiser provides an opportunity for all of us to examine the stewardship of our time and talents. How well or not are we using them to build up the community of the Church? Where are we resisting? Do you wake up each morning ensnared by your problems? Or do you wake up seeing the possibilities that your problems present? A Christian steward should be above all filled with confidence and hope. After all God’s power is just a prayer away!
I hope that ten years of People Raiser’s (remember people are our most important capital) have nudged us on the way to embracing Stewardship as a way of life. This unique way of life for the Christian is based on the twin commands of loving God and our neighbor. One naturally flows from the other. It is the very substance of Christian spirituality. Still it’s important to be reminded that you can’t have one without the other! Some of us do a really good job of loving God, worshipping God, praying, utilizing the sacra-ments but our love of our neighbor is just an abstraction. We need to put meat on the bones of that love. Ser-vice is the answer. Still some of us excel in serving but the love of God part is still superficial. Unhinged from the love of God, our love of neighbor can turn us into do-gooders, secular humanitarians who are self-absorbed and self-congratulatory.
C.S. Lewis once noted that, “if the happiness of a creature lies in self-surrender no one can make that surrender but himself and he may refuse.” Our annual People Raiser and our stewardship efforts are just aids, designed to push you closer to surrender and to embrace the life of a Christian steward.
The theme of PR-X is “Withholding Nothing”. Since we acknowledge that everything we have and are comes from God, how greedy are we to withhold any of it from its rightful owner? For the Christian, giving back to God with increase should be the norm. But we hold back, give only partially or flat out refuse to give. That’s why the structures of our stewardship programs are important: they assist us in doing what we are called to do when we are reluctant, selfish or fearful. They are not cute and clever gimmicks but aids to our Christian spirituality.
The video for PR-X is a compilation of the previous videos from People Raisers and a few others. We have been at this for a while and the fruits are starting to manifest themselves. In fact the International Catholic Stewardship Council has added a new category to its yearly Stewardship Recognition Awards for the best Parish Stewardship Video. Our Parish Stewardship videos led the way and helped convince the ICSC to add this award and so encourage other parishes to do the same. Imagine every parish with a People Raiser video! Glad we set the bar high! All in all just one more lesson in how God multiples the loaves and the fishes in our midst.
This week as we prepare for PR-X ask yourself: “what am I withholding?” And then ask God to make you willing to serve or serve more or the courage to serve in a new or different capacity. This way when you show up at the People Raiser next weekend you will be willing and ready to say to the Lord: Here I am, send me!
I surrender all to you
Everything I give to you
Fr. John B.