the communion of saints, a constant link of giving exists between the
faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those in
purgatory, and those still on earth. Between them there is an “abundant
exchange of all good things.” In this wonderful exchange, “the holiness
of one profits others...” thus turning to the help and protection of the
communion of saints lets the sorry sinner be more promptly cleansed of
the punishments for sin. We also call these “spiritual goods,” the
prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in
the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives
holy and carried out the mission of the Father entrusted to them, the Church’s treasury. (Catechism, #1475-77)
Do we “worship” or “adore” our beloved saints, as some non-Catholics think? Not at all. We honor them and learn from their example; adoration belongs to God alone. We ask the saints to pray for us the same way we might ask a good friend to pray. A favorite quotation about prayer begins, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name” (Matthew 18:20). The “two or three” aren’t necessarily limited to the living.
Excerpts from The Science of Counting Blessings by Steve Foran www.giveraising.com
Social scientists are finally catching on to something that Christian stewards have known for centuries, namely: gratitude is beneficial to us as individuals and as a society. In fact, the results of ongoing gratitude research show promise in overcoming “the real world” challenges in building more vibrant communities and parishes.
Researchers have found that if people simply count their blessings instead of their burdens, it increases their overall well-being. Those who recorded their blessings felt better about their lives, had greater expectations and optimism for the coming week, had fewer symptoms of physical illness, spent more time exercising and were more likely to have helped someone.
Simple 2-Part Challenge to Enliven Your Spirit Each day write down three things for which you are grateful. This will become a successful habit if you find a regular time and place that works for you. What you record is too good to keep to yourself, which leads to part two… at some point during the day, as part of regular conversation, share what you wrote with someone else. Make a conversation of it by asking the other person what they are grateful for and why. This is very simple and easy to do, and you will be glad you did!
From May newsletter of the International Catholic Stewardship Council
Teach Children About Giving without Expectation of Anything in Return
Nothing; not even a thank you.
Although this may be easy to understand intellectually, for a moment imagine that you give or serve or help someone and nobody thanks you nor are your efforts recognized in any other way. If you become offended or hurt as a result, then according to James Allen (author of As a Man Thinketh, 1902,) you are not “giving.” Instead you are “grasping” because you are looking for something in return and it does not matter how insignificant that something might be.
Christian stewardship gives us the proper context to help us avoid being “graspers.” When we should give or serve or help others, we should do it out of gratitude for what we have already received from God. This sets us up as “givers” because our act of giving is transformed into an act of thanksgiving; giving thanks is done with no expectation of return.
Teach Children How to Live a Life of Stewardship
Parents have a work of great importance.
Help your children to see the things you do as a good steward. In thanksgiving for nature and for the leaves turning colors, take care of the environment by picking up litter; in thanksgiving for having a job, set aside part of your pay check to give to your parish or a charity; in thanksgiving for a healthy body, exercise and eat right; in thanksgiving for an all loving and forgiving God, pray regularly together.
2010 Parish Family Advent Gathering