The Many Faces of Stewardship

The following text is taken from a February 3, 1976 entry in Catherine Doherty’s book, Dearly Beloved, Vol. III, published by Madonna House Publications in 1990.

Time and again Jesus spoke to his followers about the need for stewardship. His parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30 is an especially powerful example. If we study the Gospels carefully, we ourselves will come to realize the immensity and all pervasiveness of that word ‘stewardship.’

Let us take baptism, for instance. When we are baptized into the life and death of Jesus Christ, we receive a tremendous stewardship. We receive the keys of the Kingdom; and we have the responsibility of opening its doors and of finding out all about it. Because we are its stewards, we must seek to penetrate every corner of this Kingdom of ours. We have entered it, not for ourselves alone, but for the whole world. What a tremendous stewardship this is!

This concept of stewardship enters into the nitty gritty everydayness of my life. I am responsible for so many things. The pollution of the earth begins with me. Do I use sprays that damage the atmosphere? Do I misuse ways of feeding people who are under my care? I am the steward of everything that I use: utensils in the kitchen, books in the library, files in the office, beds in the dorm.

There is also a stewardship over our bodies. God has created us to be icons of Christ. We can blur the image of Christ in ourselves by being sloppy in our appearance, by having a slouchy posture, by not eating properly, by not disciplining ourselves in all the ways people think they find comfort. If we avoid this self discipline, then we fail to be stewards over the first and most important gift God has given us—our own incarnation.

We must also be good stewards of our own hearts, and be careful to give Christian example to others. From this springs stewardship of our speech, stewardship of our attention, of our thoughts, of our emotions. This form of self discipline begins in the heart, but it moves into all the areas of our subconscious and conscious life.

As we learn to guard our hearts properly, we become stewards of our brothers and sisters, of our neighbor who is next to us.

Do you understand what I am getting at? A sense of stewardship is so very important because our lack of it can easily destroy a family relationship, or an entire apostolate—especially if we fail in spiritual stewardship. We must become like those stewards who spend the ‘money’ of their master wisely. We are entrusted with the money of love, understanding, unselfishness. Especially unselfishness! He gives us these gifts out of the great storehouse of his treasures. Let us ‘spend’ them wisely, not foolishly.

Catherine Doherty, “The Many Faces of Stewardship.” In Dearly Beloved.
(Combermere ON: Madonna House Publications, 1990), 55–58.

Copyright © 1990 Madonna House Publications. ISBN 0-921440-21-9

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