Stewardship, a concept as old as the Bible and it has the potential of changing the way Catholics live-and give- in the world today. We know from the Bible that everything we have is a gift from God. We are stewards-manages of the many gifts God has given to us. As Christian stewards, we recognize that all that we are-all that we have-belongs to God, and we are accountable to Him for the use of all things.
Stewardship at Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a way that we can help all parishioners see that they have received so many blessings from God and out of gratitude they can give back through their time, talent, and treasure. After all, God let us keep 90% of all he give us.
We promote a simple theme here at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, ‘The Rule of One’.
This allows a person to take concrete steps to improve their faith by prayer, ministry, and supporting the parish with their financial resources. We ask that you commit to on hour of prayer (outside of Mass) per week, one hour of service per week, and the first hour of your weekly wage to the church in the form of a tithe. Through giving back to God by prayer, service, and finances conversion will take place in our lives and we will see that we are becoming the person God created us to be – a steward uniquely His own.
To find out more about becoming a Stewardship Household, and the many benefits that come with it, email Deacon Jim by June 20.
Chapter 5: Praying like Jesus
When the disciples asked Jesus for instructions on prayer, Jesus began by saying, “When you pray…” He simply assumed the disciples would have a regular time for prayer. That’s a big assumption to make about Jesus’ disciples today. Most of us say we just do not have time for daily prayer. If we want to develop any other areas of our life like playing sports or playing the piano, we practice regularly.
Get away from distractions: If establishing a regular prayer time is important, so is making a regular prayer place. A private place ensures a minimum of distractions, and most people find distractions deadly when it comes to making connection with God. Once you identify such a place and begin to use it regularly, it becomes a holy place, the place where God meets with you.
- Mean what you say
- Pray from the heart
- Pray specifically
Reflect on your time with God: Write you prayer down and reflect on them later. You might start with “God, here are some frustrations in my life. They aren’t going away, so I might as well take a look at them.” Or, “Here is a relationship I’m concerned about. It is not good, and I do not know how to improve it.” Or, “Here are some blessings you’ve poured into my life.”
Remember just pray: Remember that God’s prevailing power is released through prayer. He is interested in you and your needs. He is able to meet any need, and he has invited you to pray.
- What priority did Jesus place on prayer?
- What priority do you place on prayer?
- How can you benefit from writing out your prayers?
– Deacon Jim
Chapter 4: Heart-Building Habits
God has invited us to come into his presence. He has told us that he is with us and within us, that he is waiting to hear from us, and that he can and will respond to us.
Our spirits, like our bodies, have requirements for health and growth. Some people don’t want to pay the price of developing good spiritual habits. Sadly, they end up paying the much higher price of spiritual disease and even death. Do we want to form any habits that would increase our spiritual health?
Two warnings that are some extremes that some people choose: One, it to make a list of things to ask for or have a special formula of what to say. The second, to let go and let God do whatever he want to do, and I will just see what happens.
Ask the Expert: When they ask Jesus he responded, “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by all… When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”.
- Pray regularly, Jesus said, “When you pray,” not “if you pray.”
- Pray privately. God is not impressed by public displays of piety.
- Pray sincerely. God is not interested in formulas. He wants to hear what is on your heart.
- Pray specifically. Use the Lord’s Prayer as a model.
Name some habits that contribute to spiritual health.
Are you a list maker or a free spirit?
– Deacon Jim
God’s Presence, God’s Power
Prayer is an unnatural activity. From birth we have been learning the rules of self-reliance as we strain and struggle to achieve self-sufficiency. It can be an assault on human autonomy, and indictment of independent living. To people of the fast lane, prayer is an embarrassing interruption. Prayer can seem alien to our proud human nature. And yet all of us reach the point of falling to our knees, fixing our attention on God and praying.
Why are we drawn to prayer?
We pray because, by intuition or experience, we understand that the most intimate communion with God comes through prayer. Not that all of your prayers will be answered the way you want if you but only pray enough, but the greatest thrill of all should be the qualitative difference in your relationship with God. Besides an enhanced relationship, most believe God’s power flows to people who pray.
- What difference does prayer make in your life?
- What draws you to prayer?
- How can prayer sometimes seem to impose on your individuality?
- What causes you to resist prayer?
– Deacon Jim
Most of us have trouble finding time to pray. There’s church, school, work, neighbors, friends, and recreation and then a crises hits.
Time for prayer seems impossible to find. To help us find time to pray I found this book called “Too Busy Not To Pray” by Bill Hybels that I would like to share with you during the Lenten Season. My hope is that these reflections will help enrich your prayer life going forward as we are all pilgrims on a journey. I will summarize each chapter and list a few reflection questions for your meditation time for the penitential season as we prepare to celebrate Easter.