A personal reflection…

While reflecting on Luke 16:19-31, we learn about the rich and the poor, all they had and didn’t have, one with an earthly reward and one with a Heavenly reward. As I read these verses, I thought about the rich man and all that God had blessed him with. The rich man chose not to be a good Steward and not to share any of his wealth with Lazarus – although he had an abundance of everything.

How many times do I walk by the homeless man? How often do I avoid making eye contact with the woman carrying the sign that says Please Help Me? How many times do I say “I’m too busy to help or to make an impact?” From this Gospel reading, I decided to change how I approach these situations, not just from the perspective of sharing what God has provided for me, but, from the thought that I will be judged based on what I have done and my Stewardship is part of my personal Salvation!

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Avarice

The LadderThe 10th Commandment says “Do not covet” and covetousness is defined as being greedy, acquisitive and having a strong desire for material possessions. Step 16 of The Ladder of Divine Ascent defines this as avarice which is a need for excess.

Many when they hear a sermon against avarice, detest the vice and extol contempt of earthly goods, but as soon as the soul sees something it desires, it forgets what it once extolled. Often we feel compunctions for our own faults and, nevertheless, once our lamentations are over, we return to those same faults.

As you prepare for the fall season, focus on the goal of simplifying your life. Consider doing less (and needing less) so you can gain so much more as it relates to Stewardship and your relationship with Christ!

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Embracing a voluntary poverty!

Do not consider your riches as belonging to yourselves alone; open wide your hand to those who are in need; assist those in poverty and pain; comfort those who have fallen into extreme distress; console with those who are in sorrow or oppressed with bodily maladies, and the want of necessities; and also comfort the Saints who embrace a voluntary poverty so they may serve God without distraction.

St. Cyril of Alexandria

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Let us kindle the light of knowledge and not plant among thorns

Let us plant life giving, nutritious and wholesome trees. For giving to the poor has these qualities and places a seal on those who do so. Even when death comes, charity won’t wither. But it always stands tall to enlighten the mind, feeds the sinews of the soul, and gives even mightier strength. St. John Chrysostom

As we approach the fall season, make your Stewardship commitment of Time, Talents and Treasures to your parish, your community and those who are in need!

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Good labor will be questioned!

When a man begins, with warm faith to live well, the enemy of good usually sends him various frightful temptations, so that he, being daunted by this, might leave off the work of his good desire. But if you will not prepare yourself for meeting such temptations, then beware of undertaking good labor. St. Paisius Velichkovsky

The Ecclesiastical New Year is but a month away – please review your Stewardship commitments of Time, Talents & Treasures for the remainder of this year and 2019. Support your parish and ministries!

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It’s never too late to start working!

In the parable about the hirelings, even he who worked only one hour was rewarded equally to the others by the master of the house. The hours of the day in this parable is an image of the course of our life. The eleventh hour is the final time in this life. The Lord shows that even those who lived without working for Him up to that moment can start to work and please Him no less than others. Therefore, old age is no excuse; let no one despair, supposing that there is no point in starting to work. Start, and do not be cowardly; the Lord is merciful; He will give you all that He gives others, here, according to the measure of grace, and there, according to the rank of truth. Just have more fervour, and grieve more contritely about the carelessness in which almost all of your life was spent. You will say, the master of the house called those in the parable. So, let the Lord call me. But isn’t He calling? Could it really be that you do not hear the voice of the Lord in the Church, saying, come unto Me all ye, and the Apostles’ call, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God (II Cor. 5:20).

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Attentiveness in our daily life

Without attentiveness in everyday affairs you cannot do anything properly; but in spiritual matters—it comes first. It notices what is bad and brings it before the inner judge; sets the guard of the inner chamber, where the best course of action is discussed, and then protects the one who carries out the decisions. This is not surprising, because the spiritual life in its fullness is called a sober life, and in patristic writings we meet mostly words about soberness or attentiveness, for they are one and the same. Therefore, how important it is to make a habit of attentiveness! The initial labor of those who have begun to be concerned about their souls is usually directed toward this. And their work only begins to resemble work from the point where attentiveness begins to be gathered within themselves; usually the attentiveness is all external, and not internal. From this moment the inner life is conceived and with this attentiveness it ripens and strengthens. What does this mean? It means standing with the mind in the heart before the Lord and consciously discussing all, and undertaking all before His face. This job, obviously, is complicated. It becomes successful with prayer, and is as much strengthened by it, as it strengthens prayer itself.

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