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About the Blogger


Lea Dacanay is a Vicariate Stewardship Consultant in the Stewardship and Development Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago. She serves as a consultant to parish stewardship professionals and parish leadership groups in their efforts to educate and inspire the community about stewardship. She is also a spiritual director and a licensed massage therapist.

Monday, August 03, 2009

“Hope Is Stronger Than Memory”

I am sure that all of us have received a forwarded email at least once that required us to  “pass this along to 10 people in the next X minutes or days” or the worst luck shall hound us for all eternity.  Although I consider these emailed chain letters irritating, I often find that for the most part, the main content of these emails is good – usually inspiring.  Today, someone sent me a “Christian Cartoon” email, with of course that request at the very end.  However, the request started a little differently. It said, “Concentrate on this sentence… When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you but merely opening your hands to receive something better…. The will of God never takes you where the Grace of God will not protect you.”  Where I am at right now, that sounds like God talking to me through the email.

We are all being affected by the economic downturn. The future does not seem to look that bright and cheerful at all.  Some of us are affected more directly and intensely than others.  It seems that the “abundance” we had once has been “taken away from our grasp”.  It is easy to get bogged down by the “loss” we are suffering. I know I have.  Reading this quote, however, reminded me of what I often talk about in stewardship.  “Everything is a gift” – even this challenging time we are facing. It is not God punishing us but His way of asking us to open our hands, to let go of something we are grasping so tightly so that we can receive something better.

A Christian steward is a person who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends God’s gifts responsibly, shares one’s gifts in love and justice and returns one’s gifts with increase to God (USCCB Pastoral Letter on Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response). During this financially difficult time, stewardship challenges us not only to share our treasure, but our time and talent as well, beyond what we believe we can do or give, so we can grow individually and collectively as God desires. 

At times like these, when this call seems to be more difficult to respond to, I am reminded of a quote I have in my office:

“Hope is stronger than memory. Salvation is stronger than sin. Forgiveness is stronger than bitterness. Reconciliation is stronger than hatred. Resurrection is stronger than crucifixion. Light is stronger than darkness…Hope is stronger than memory!” (Kennon Callahan, Twelve Keys To An Effective Church)

Hope and faith in God will allow me to let go but before I can do that, I need the Holy Spirit’s guidance and to ask myself,  “What am I grasping so tightly that I need to let go of so I can receive something better?”

For more information on Stewardship, visit our site at: http://www.archchicago.org/departments/stewardship_dev/stewardship_dev.shtm

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Comments

Friday, August 07, 2009 1:26 PM

Thank you very much for all your comments. Now more than ever, the gift of ourselves as laity is critical. The religious vocation continues to dwindle and what we, as lay people can give - time, talent and treasure will help nourish and grow our faith community. In St. Ignatius of Loyola's words, I pray "Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous, teach me to serve you as I should." (Prayer for Generosity) Blessings.

-Lea

Lea Dacanay

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 4:12 PM

Lea,

As usual, your comments are "right on"! We are so prone to look at what we think is "missing", rather than what is present, already filling our space. Thank you for redirecting my thinking once again toward the positive message that God is always bending us to. As stewards, we cannot afford to understate or underestimate our gifts.

Jim M.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 11:03 AM

Thanks for your thoughts Lea. It is so refreshing to hear the idea of giving more than just money.

Monetary gifts can reflect a substantial gift of oneself; however giving one's time and talents as well as money is fuller expression of giving of one's self.

Interestingly enough, that extra step in "giving" opens the individual to "receiving" in ways which givers of only money will never know. That extra investment of self, in giving and receiving, brings us more deeply into the experience of Christ's own love, whose love has the power to change our hard hearts, and transform us more completely into His image.

Dennis K.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 5:55 PM

Ms. Decany,

I can not agree more with the "Time & talents" reference. Not everyone can donate money to their parish, but surely they can help in other ways. This was very inspiring piece you wrote. Thank you

Tom S.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 1:51 PM

Hi Lea! What a nice article you wrote and so very much to the point. I believe that so many of us associate stewardship primarily with monetary giving and/or tithing that we don't stop and realize precisely what you said Lea regarding "time and talents." God gave each one of us at least one special gift or talent or acumen that sets us apart from our brothers and sisters who also possess a unique set of God-given gift(s). What are we as Catholic Christians doing to share our gifts with others of our brothers and sisters in the faith and outside of the faith? When we are sitting in the pews on Sunday and observe a shortage in Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, does something touch us to maybe sign up and learn the proper procedure so that we can give Christ in the Blessed Sacrament to our fellow Catholics? What's stopping us from signing up to join at least one ministry in our parish.?. why, in reality are there so many empty places at the table? Think of the gift or gifts that the Lord has given us and let's find a place in our church where we can be of service to our fellow man. Every Catholic man, woman and child should be involved in at least one ministry. Many folks I know are involved in so many different things... A wise senior Sister used to say: " You can't do justice to 10 different things at one time. Pick something you like and stick with it!" Sure, there are life circumstances and setbacks that often make unable us to take on an extra load--but as Jesus taught us...He gives us the strength and graces we need to get the job done...Ministry weekend will soon be around the corner. Each of us needs to reassess our priorities and decide to make a commitment to participating in at least one ministry in our parish. We Catholics need to rise to the occasion and show people of other faiths or of no faith, especially those who are looking for a faith to believe in--that we walk the walk and talk the talk-- that we are, indeed Eucharist to all!!! Time, talents and treasures...gift received, gift given... besides, who wants to be the richest man/woman in the cemetery? God Bless all!

Carol B.

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