by Lesle Knop
There is a strong connection between stewardship and civic duty.
Stewardship begins by recognizing that all we have is a gift from God — everything in our lives is a gift, including the opportunity to choose our leaders — and that we give back in the form of our good works out of gratitude for these blessings.
Do you yearn for peace, social justice, and a culture of life in our country? As Catholics, we are stewards of all that we have been given and this includes the opportunity God has given us to discern our roles and our voices.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reminds us that active and faithful citizenship is our responsibility, our moral duty, and a great privilege at the same time. They do not tell us who to vote for, but rather ask us to form our consciences from a thoughtful, prayerful consideration of Christ’s example and our redemption.
Beginning next Sunday, you have the opportunity to join with Catholics throughout our country by praying the Novena for Faithful Citizenship that you can find online and download at: faithfulcitizenship.org, or at: usccb.org. The prayers are lovely, inspirational, and profoundly powerful.
In “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response,” the pastoral letter on stewardship, Bishop John J. McRaith writes in the preface: “Once one chooses to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, stewardship is not an option.”
This pivotal text on stewardship defines our role, saying: “Mature disciples make a conscious, firm decision, carried out in action, to be followers of Jesus Christ, no matter the cost to themselves.”
Stewardship challenges us to a way of life that imitates Christ. Prayerfully considering how we cast our votes is our way to transform our world. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said this about prayer: “Faith is a gift of God, which comes through prayer. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith and the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service and the fruit of service is peace.”
As the election draws near, I hope that you will join me in prayer that, when historic decisions are reached by America’s voters, the people who are elected will be transformed by the grace of God. Our Catholic identity is not as well-defined as it once was and is increasingly challenged by popular culture, the media, and our economic and social differences. There are coalitions of Democratic Catholics and Republican Catholics, both hoping to impact the outcome of the election. Strident, angry voices are not where we find answers, but in the silence of prayer and in one’s own heart.