May 28, 2011
The first Sacrament is the Sacrament of Baptism. Bap-
tism signifies two things, death to the physical world and
rebirth in Christ. The Church teaches that an indelible mark
is placed on our soul that indicates that we belong to Christ.
Through the waters of Baptism, we are cleansed from per-
sonal sin and also of the original sin that we inherit from
Adam and Eve.
When the sacrament of Baptism occurs we are wel-
comed into Christ's family. In life, as children, we learn and
grow as humans, by the waters of Baptism, we become
children of Christ and as such we begin the process of
growing in Him.
Just as in life we are born to our physical parents, in
Baptism, we also are received by our Godparents. These
special parents are there to help us in our spiritual growth.
By the Sacrament of Baptism, we are given the gift of life
in Christ and our first reason to have an Attitude of Gratitude.
May 21, 2011
Have you ever noticed that God created the world in seven days and that there are seven Sacraments of the Church?
Furthermore, if you compare the seven sacraments to our lives, you will recognize that there are seven stages or needs of our physical lives. Each of these stages aligns with one of the seven sacraments!
The word sacrament means oath, it is a stronger form of commitment than just a promise. Through the oaths of each sacrament, we receive a special grace of God. Through the sacraments we are strenghtened so that we may live out our lives as Christians.
The Sacraments are outward signs, instituted by Christ which when properly administered and received infuse us with God's grace. The seven sacraments are Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anouinting of the Sick, Marriage and Holy Orders.
Over the next several weeks, we will unfold the Seven Sacraments of the Church and how each of the Sacraments helps us grow our Attitude of Gratitude.
May 14, 2011
As Christians we are called to be Christ to others and see Christ in others. But as humans we often fall short of this standard. Our fallen nature makes it difficult to live up to the example of Christ.
The way that we are enabled to be Christ to others is by our reception of God's grace in the seven sacraments. Each sacrament is a way for us to be infused with God's grace, truly becoming one with Christ.
But internalizing the grace of God, isn't sufficient. We must also emulate Christ in our interactions with other people. By serving others, we become the Hands of Christ and we serve Christ as He is present in them.
Humans are a unique creation of God. We are both Spirit and Physical. By full participation in the seven sacraments and by becoming the Hands of Christ to others, we allow the fullness of our human nature to demonstrate our Attitude of Gratitude towards God.
May 7, 2011
A little over 2000 years ago, a teenaged girl said "Yes" to God's call, and the world changed. No one recalls her special skills, talents, or wealth, but all humanity is indebted to her, just for saying "Yes" to God.
When she said "Yes" she lived out the remainder of her life as a mother, raising and teaching her child, caring and tending to him, and later to his friends. She helped him grow to become the man that God intended him to be. She watched him as he shouldered his responsibilities and as he suffered and died. She fulfilled her "Yes" by just being a good mother.
This month, we celebrate "Mary's Month." This month, do a little extra in prayer, in service, in almsgiving. When you do these things, you say "Yes" to God's call. Follow the example of that teenaged girl and how she lived out her Attitude of Gratitude. Say "Yes" to God and help Him change the world.
April 30, 2011
Alleluia!!! Jesus has risen! We hope you all had a veryjoyful and meaningful Easter. Many of you were at the Easter egg hunt and it was wonderful to see the spirit of sharing in you all. Great job, kids.
The month of May is filled with many special things especially for you! Some of you are getting ready to receive Jesus for the first time in the sacrament of Holy Communion. How exciting! The feeling of having Jesus with you is definitely something to cherish. Some of you are getting ready for the sacrament of Confirmation and receiving the special gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help you safeguard the graces you received as a Christian at Baptism.
May is Mary's month and the Rosary will be prayed Sunday-Friday evenings at 7:00 pm in the Marian Garden (Saturdays at 5 pm in the church). Rosary means "garland of roses" and is Mary's favorite prayer. The spring "Fest-of-All" celebration also happens in May. This is a chance to spend time with your fellow SJV family members. So remind your parents, and come spend time at SJV during May and show your attitude of gratitude.
April 23, 2011
In today's responsorial Psalm, we are reminded to properly orient our relationship to God. We are told, "This is the day the Lord has made." And, "give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endures forever." But which day is the Psalmist referring to? We must recall that the Psalms pre-date the Resurrection and Christianity. Perhaps the psalmist is teaching us that God creates every day, and every day we should be thankful.
However, we as Christians, can have a different view of the Psalm as well. In addition to being thankful every day, we celebrate Sundays as our day of worship. On this "first day of the week" God recreated us through the Resurrection of Christ. We truly know "His mercy endures forever."
We are called to give each Sunday to God in worship, in our family life and in rest from the rigor of the secular world. What a special way to demonstrate our Attitude of Gratitude, by celebrating Easter, and every Sunday, as a truly Holy Day!
April 16, 2011
Today is Palm Sunday, we have just completed Lent and our time of preparation and repentance. Today we also hear the story of Christ's entrance into Jerusalem, followed by his trial and Passion.
Consider the actions of the apostles in today's readings.
Early they hear Jesus' instructions and do as they are told. They cheered him with the crowds as He entered the city. They promised their allegiance to Him. They grew tired and fell asleep. One betrayed Him, one defended Him, one denied Him and all but one deserted Him. These actions sound familiar because they describe each of us at some point during our faith journey.
As you enter Holy week, think about the type of disciple you are right now. You know how the story unfolds, and what Christ does for you. . . this week. Especially this week, consider how you live out your Attitude of Gratitude.
April 9, 2011
During Lent we use prayer, fasting and almsgiving as means to repent and grow closer to God.
As creatures of the flesh, we often find ourselves catering to the needs of the flesh. We focus on material needs for food, shelter and clothing. Often, we use our resources far beyond our needs. We focus on our own desires while ignoring the needs of others.
Almsgiving helps us to separate ourselves from the material world. By giving of our financial resources, we put aside our own flesh in order to focus on our spiritual life.
In today’s Psalm, we hear “With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” By almsgiving, we show God’s mercy to those in need by helping to meet their financial needs. We also show God that we are seeking our own redemption by demonstrating our Attitude of Gratitude.
April 2, 2011
Beginning today, the Stewardship Corner for the first week of each month will be dedicated to the children. As adults, we have an obligation to help the children grow as Stewards of God's gifts. So parents, please continue to read the column and discuss how stewardship is a part of the lives of you and your child.
Children, whenever you are getting ready for church or RE, say to yourself, “I am going to see my best friend, Jesus". Church is always a chance to spend time with your best friend, Jesus. Jesus is always at the Church, waiting to see you. Church is a very special place for us to come and talk to Jesus in prayer and worship.
As part of our Love for Jesus, we always try to help other people. We do this because Jesus needs us to do His work. When you put some money in the gift basket, you are sharing what you have with others. The Church uses this money to help other people. You are being a good Steward and thanking Jesus for everything He has done for you. When you put your money in the basket, remember to say "Thank you Jesus". This will help you grow your Attitude of Gratitude.
March 26, 2011
Lent commemorates the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert praying and fasting. Jesus spent His prayer time coming to know what He was called to do. Jesus spent His prayer time in preparation for His ministry.
Along with fasting or sacrifice during Lent, we are also called to enhance our prayer life. It is through prayer that we grow closer to God. It is through prayer that we come to understand what God is expecting from us.
Prayer can be as simple as a morning thank you to God for another day of life or an Act of Contrition in the evening asking God to forgive our failings. Prayer could be meditating on a daily Bible verse or sitting in quiet contemplation in the Adoration chapel.
As with any relationship the key to prayer is to spend time with God, speaking from the heart... and listening intently. When you listen to God and follow His desire, you are truly showing your Attitude of Gratitude.
March 19, 2011
During Lent we are called to abstain from meat on Fridays and fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Furthermore we are encouraged to fast as a spiritual exercise to more closely align us with Christ. Typically when we fast, we give up a type of food, a practice or a behavior.
Fasting is intended to be sacrificial. Fasting is supposed to be a practice where we willfully give of ourselves with the intent of drawing closer to God. In Isaiah 58:6, 7 we read "This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke, Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke, Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own."
Each of these actions are examples of how God wants us to treat our neighbor. As you fast this Lent, develop your Attitude of Gratitude by applying your sacrifice to the benefit of another.
March 13, 2011
Today in the first reading we hear how God created man and how man repays Him by sinning. We then hear the psalmist pleading for God's mercy. In the second reading, we hear how God grants us His mercy in the person of Christ. Finally in the Gospel we hear Christ quote three scriptures, "One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God."; "You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test" and finally, "The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve."
Today's readings are particularly meaningful to Christian stewards. First we recognize that God has given us all things. We see that we have sinned against Him yet he has granted us mercy.
On Ash Wednesday, we hear "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." Lent is the perfect time to practice your Attitude of Gratitude by heeding Jesus' words, live by the word of God, take care not to test God, and worship and serve Him.
March 5, 2011
It is really wonderful to see the children growing as stewards. They really enjoy first Sundays and the effort that Father puts in to make it special. The props and the messages speak directly to the children. The children show their appreciation by attentiveness and participation. The children clearly use this time to build their relationship with Jesus.
What would be your answer if you were asked about your relationship with Jesus? Some would answer that Jesus is God; others would say teacher, father, priest or friend. Jesus should be every child's best friend. Like a best friend, we can talk to Jesus at home, at church, anywhere. Like a true friend, we can share with Him our joys, difficulties, plans, and ask Him for help.
As you prepare for church or RE, think "I am going to see my best friend, Jesus." Church should be spending time with your best friend, Jesus, always there waiting to see you. Be excited, come to church with a smile and show an attitude of gratitude to your best friend, Jesus.
February 26, 2011
Have you ever had a conversation about your faith when you are away from Church? Have you ever suggested to another person that maybe they should consider coming to Church?
As we go through our lives, opportunities such as these often present themselves. When they do, there are a couple of things taking place. You are acting as a good steward, by using your gift of faith to reach out to another of God’s loved ones. You may not know “where” the other person is, but they may be in great need of God’s love. You may be the means that God is using to reach out to that individual.
An angel is God’s messenger. You never know when God is using you as an angel for another person. All it takes is a smile, an invitation, a casual remark, each of these can make a difference in another person’s life. A casual conversation with another person about your faith, or your parish can mean all the difference in the world and can really be a sign of your Attitude of Gratitude.
February 19, 2011
Two weeks ago, many of us participated in a wonderful example of Stewardship. Super Bowl Chickens! What? Yep, that's right, Super Bowl Chickens.
The Knights of Columbus are a men's fraternal organization dedicated to charitable work and the support of the Church. These men are constantly using their talents, time and financial gifts to help the local parish, community and the nation.
Few of us ever think of how our basic skills can be used to support God's kingdom. To pull off last weeks' effort, there were men who cut and hauled firewood, men who bought the meat, men who pre-sold the previous weekends, men preparing the birds Saturday night and those here on Sunday to cook, wrap and deliver the birds. Finally there were those who participated by purchasing and enjoying the wonderful fare.
None of these things seem particularly holy or Godly as individual tasks, however the proceeds went to support the Seminarians of our parish, who in turn have volunteered their lives to support God's people of future parishes, perhaps even our own.
The next time you are wondering how you can show your Attitude of Gratitude, just think of the example set by the Knights of Columbus. Week in and week out, they are a shining example of stewardship right in our midst.
February 11, 2011
I am about 2/3 of the way through Matthew Kelly's book, "Rediscovering Catholicism." I thought I would paraphrase one chapter, because it talks so clearly about an issue many parishes (including ours) struggle with.
"The Collection – At this time a basket is passed so that we can contribute financially to the mission of the Church. What we place in the basket we are giving to God and to the needy. It is a real and practical expression of loving God and neighbor"
"Engage: Give generously – not because your parish needs the money, not because the priest gave a good homily and not because others might know what you gave. Give because we have a real and present spiritual need to give." "In God we trust, it says on our money. But do we? This regular Sunday giving is a sign of letting go, a sign of surrender. Too often in our society we give with lots of strings attached. Often I hear people say, "I don't give to the Church because I don't like how they spend the money." Whether this is true or not in any particular situation, this statement is filled with judgment and generalization, the pride that we know better, and a desire to control. These are all the behaviors that spiritual giving is designed to liberate us from. Give generously. It is hard, I know. You will feel torn; such is the pull of money in our lives."
Each time the collection plate comes to you is a perfect time for you to test your Attitude of Gratitude. Think about it, and then act on it.
February 5, 2011
In today's readings we clearly hear the call to stewardship. In the first reading we hear of our responsibility to feed the poor, shelter the oppressed and homeless and clothe the naked. We hear that by doing these things, when we call upon the Lord, our prayers will be answered.
In the Psalms we hear that the just man is a light in darkness and how the just man shares generously with those in need. In the second reading Paul tells us that it is not by the wisdom of men that we come to know Christ, that only by the demonstration of the Spirit.
Finally, in the Gospel we hear that we are the light of the world and that no one hides a lamp under a basket, but he puts the light on a lamp stand so that it may shine for all to see.
We must share our faith through our works by giving generously of the best we have to offer. If we are to demonstarte our Attitude of Gratitude, we must live our lives in such a manner that others see the power of Christ in our lives.
January 29, 2011
Last week I heard a priest describing the different names of love used in ancient Greece. The Greeks had 8 or 9 different terms for love. He mentioned that our culture has lost sight of Christian love by only having one term. The word used in the Bible for Christian love is AGAPE. He went on to define agape as sacrificial love, a love so strong you are willing to sacrifice for another. This is the love that Christ teaches us. Christ sacrificed his own life for us.
Spouses know that they must each sacrifice for the other for a marriage to flourish. Parents know that they must put aside and sacrifice in order to provide for their children. Priests, religious and many in public service sacrifice their private lives for the sake of others.
As stewards we are called to sacrificial love as well. When we give of ourselves, our talents, our time and our treasure, we are called to share sacrificially. We are called to give our first and best to God and to give of ourselves for others as Christ gave for us. As we learn to love sacrificially we are truly living an Attitude of Gratitude.
January 22, 2011
In today's Gospel we hear Jesus say, "Come after me and I will make you fishers of men." And the response was, "At once they left their nets and followed him."
The response of the Apostles was to follow first, knowing that they would be expected to do something later. For the first three years after the call, the Apostles followed Him and learned from Him. But, once He was gone, it was their trun to become "fishers of men."
This pattern shows how our faith journey is to unfold. First, we must hear His call. Then, we must choose to follow. Next, we learn our faith. Finally, by living our faith, we call others to Christ.
Stewardship is all about living our faith in a manner that calls others to Christ. Through the joyful giving of time, talent, and treasure we show others what it means to follow Christ. By demonstrating our Attitude of Gratitude, we become "fishers of men."
January 15, 2011
Did you ever stop to consider, why are you here? Right her, right now. Why are you here at this point in your journey? God put you here for a reason, but do you know why? Is there something you are supposed to get from being here? Is there something you are supposed to do?
Today's first reading said, "The LORD said to me' You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory." "Now the LORD has spoken... it is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
As a steward, we are first called to be servants of God, but just being a servant isn't enough. We are also supposed to be a light to those around us.
This passage offers two measures for your Attitude of Gratitude. Am I a servant of God? Am I a light for others? First, think it through, then look for ways to make it happen.