January 1, 2011
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany. This is the day that the magi came to Jesus bearing gifts. These were the first Gentiles that recognized the manifestation of God in Christ.
One often wonders why the wise men chose to give Christ gold, frankincense and myrrh. One explanation was that the magi were possible sorcerers in their own land. These elements were used in their practice of magic. By giving these gifts to the Christ child, they were renouncing their old ways and giving their gifts to God.
These travelers exemplified the Christian steward. They were on a journey to find God, and when they found Him, they were willing to share their most valued possessions in service to Him.
As we enter the New Year, and as you look for ways to show your Attitude of Gratitude, consider those elements which you hold precious in your life and consider how you can offer them as a gift to God.
December 25, 2010
Have you ever wondered why God would have His Son, born in a cave which was used as a stable, at a time of word-of-mouth communication and in a region which has been torn by violence since the days of Abraham?
With a reflection on history, I'm not sure that there is another time in history when the miracle of Christ would have had the same effect.
It seems to me that the one thinng that existed then that may be in short supply today is faith. Just consider that the Apostles and earliest Christians were each willing to die rather than deny their faith that Jesus is the Son of God. That is an incredibly strong statement of faith.
Today we celebrate the birth of Christ. No other day is more apporpriate to consider the strength of one's faith. Here is a question for today, "Would I sacrifice my life rather than deny my faith?"
Today, recommit yourself to live out your faith with an Attitude of Gratitude . . . for the gift of Christ in the world.
December 18, 2010
This has been an interesting work week in that it has been our "annual food-drive challenge'. Each site in our company competes to raise the most pounds per person for the local food pantry.
An interesting pattern has developed, in that the winners each year seem to come from the sites least likely to win. The winning site has historically been the one with the fewest high income employees.
The pattern is that those most likely to be charitable are the ones who recognize the need for individuals to care for and support each other. Those less likely to give are the ones who look to "Big Brother" the government or even the Church to care for the needy.
There is a saying that charity begins at home, it is in the family that we learn to care for one another. But we are all God's family. So this Advent, show your Attitude of Gratitude. Find a way to share your blessings with someone in need.
December 11, 2010
Have you noticed it? It is as if the tone of the world has begun to change in preparation for Christmas. In Advent, there is an outpouring of charity, and the joy that comes from helping those in need. Many of us experience the joy of spending time with those we love.
Last year as we introduced the stewardship model, we discussed joy as an outcome of stewardship. During Advent we witness first-hand how society can change and experience the joy of Christ.
On the third Sunday of Advent, the rose color reminds us to rejoice at the coming of Christ. During Advent, and especially on “joyful” Sunday we should consider, why is this time of year different?
Society changes during this time of year because of an outpouring of love. Consider how you can show your Attitude of Gratitude by sharing the love of Christ and living the joy of Advent, throughout the year.
October 9, 2010
Do you realize that the family is the cornerstone of society? In Catholic theology the human family is to be a reflection of the Trinity. However, many of the ills in society stem from problems within the family.
A high divorce rate, too many single parent, violent or dysfunctional families all have a bearing on the individual role in society. Science has proven there are direct correlations between poor family life and individual tendencies toward substance abuse, violence, prison or psychological illness.
The Church has recognized the state of the modern family and has developed a series of ministries to strengthen family life. Here at SJV, family life ministries include young adult and marriage preparation programs which provide a solid foundation for family life. Classes on parenting skills, "Ten Great Dates" and other programs help strengthen family growth. There are also support groups and programs for grieving or divorced families or marriages in crisis.
Rudy and Katrina Villarreal lead the Family Life Committee. If your family needs help or if you wish to show your Attitude of Gratitude by assisting other families, contact Rudy or Katrina at 512-402-8055.
April 23, 2010
The last “source of transition” that we will address is Joy. Often, as we begin our spiritual journey it can weigh on us as an obligation. We don’t feel very joyful. However, as we grow in each of the other sources of transition, and as we progress on our faith journey we begin to experience great happiness and joy.
As we grow in our lives of stewardship, we can experience joy, either as a result of our interaction with others, or as a result of our own inner peace. As knowledge of the faith grows our joy can grow as we become more comfortable with our lives as Christians. As our communal participation grows we experience the joy of appreciating others and being appreciated. As our personal experience of stewardship changes we become joyful as we see the affect we have on others, or we recall how others have affected us. As we grow spiritually, we become more joyful as we grow closer to God. Finally, joy can be an indicator of the degree in which stewardship has become a part of our lives
The joy we experience through stewardship is a strong positive reinforcement. When we live our life of stewardship we receive the joy of Christ in return. For next week, think about those times when you were a good steward and think about the joy you felt. When we live out our Attitude of Gratitude, God rewards us with JOY!
April 17, 2010
From the Stewardship Committee
We don't often think about how our personal experience shapes our life of stewardship; however, personal experience is another of the "sources of transition".
A person can be a recipient, an observer or a practitioner of stewardship. Each of these vantage points influences our level of stewardship. Many people are in need and receive help as a result of others' stewardship. Some people see their stewardship as "giving back" in repayment for when they received help. Many people learned stewardship from watching positive role models. Other people have never been exposed to good stewardship therefore stewardship is a hard thing for them to practice. These examples show how personal experience can shape stewardship. Furthermore it is important to realize that present behavior can strengthen or weaken a life of stewardship. For good stewards, the acts become easier and habitual; the positive emotions and the feelings of gratitude reinforce the positive behavior. If however we turn our backs on an opportunity to help, it becomes easier to reject the next call to help; furthermore any guilt or anxiety can have a bearing on our overall outlook on life.
The key is to think through our experiences and present conditions and understand how our outlook on stewardship has been shaped. For next week, think about how your personal experience has shaped your life of stewardship, and look for ways that you can strengthen your Attitude of Gratitude.