Learning to become better stewards

By | December 12, 2012

As I went through the materials that evening I was considering how I might continue to actively practice the presence of God during one of the busiest times of year. My husband and I have five children and five grandchildren and we look forward to their visits as they travel from different parts of the country at different times during the Christmas season. We also bring wonderful family recipes and traditions that are important reminders of our parents and grandparents. Needless to say, we are truly blessed and truly busy.

 

Searching for an answer to the question, I remembered that Br. Lawrence was a cook for his order and found ways to make the presence of God a natural flow of his life. I also thought about the people in Jesus’ time and family like Joseph, Mary and Elizabeth. How were they able to be faithful stewards and remain in the presence of God as they made furniture and bread and cared for the daily needs of their family? Their days were certainly long, doing the many tasks and chores that simple survival required. Yet, their lives seemed less complicated without the cell phone, TVs and other technological advances that we have today.

I wonder if the family of Jesus was able to accomplish what Br. Lawrence claims as his method to staying connected to God. He states, “I devote myself exclusively to remaining in his holy presence. I keep myself in his presence by a simple attentiveness and general loving awareness that I call a quiet and secret conversation of the soul with God that is lasting” (Presence, 53). Perhaps it sounds complicated, but it appears to be more habit than academics.

I enjoy preparing for Christmas each year. As I look at my “to-do list,” I am energized knowing that as I am decorating our tree, making cookies and candy, wrapping presents, cleaning the house and preparing the meals that there will be plenty of opportunity to turn off the TV, silence my phone and like Br. Lawrence, be in conversation with my God.

I am amazed at the true beauty of the Catholic tradition because it offers us so many avenues to nurture our relationship with God as stewards of prayer. We are called to encounter Jesus as members of a worshiping community at Mass; we can take part in special devotions like the rosary, eucharistic adoration, spending a day on retreat or praying privately as we sit quietly in a chair.

All these opportunities encourage us to take time out and are important in helping us to appreciate God’s love for us and to understand his will. It is also wonderful to know that even when we are busy, we can place God at the center of the moment.

Done out of a motive of love, Br. Lawrence says: “There is no way of life more agreeable or delightful than continual conversation with God” (Presence, 57). It is comforting to know that perhaps like Mary, Elizabeth or Joseph, we can emerge from basic tasks, knowing God more intimately. I am grateful for new insights and a wonderful retreat day.

Otto is Stewardship and Special Projects director for the diocesan Stewardship and Pastoral Services Department.

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