Tend your gardens with Christian stewardship

Simply stewardship
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

by Lesle Knop

This time of year, we get serious about our gardens. We’ve constructed boxes for raised beds, cut back plants and cleared mulch from tiny shoots awakening from winter hibernation. Praise the Lord, it’s spring in Kansas!

In the U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter, “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response,” we are reminded that God created the first garden and gave the first humans the responsibility to cultivate and care for it. This is our first call to stewardship from God.

Many years ago, I heard an address by Bishop Robert Morneau, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, at an International Catholic Stewardship Council conference. Called “The Twelve Gardens of Stewardship,” his talk was unforgettable. Recently, as I visited with Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher about his upcoming keynote address for the biennial Region IX Stewardship Symposium at Savior Pastoral Center on Friday, April 21, he mentioned his old friend Bishop Morneau.

Archbishop Keleher was among the original authors of the pastoral letter and was among the early episcopal moderators of the ICSC. Bishop Morneau was also among the authors back in 1992.

In his address for us in Kansas City this month, Archbishop Keleher will reflect on the past 25 years of Catholic stewardship. I hope you can attend. You can register online at: www.steward shiparchkck.org/register.

These “12 gardens” help me to apply Christian stewardship to every area of my life. I hope that you will find them helpful also, as we each continue our Lenten journeys and prepare for Holy Week:

  1. GARDEN OF THE BODY: Get proper nutrition, exercise and rest; avoid chemical abuse, smoking, obesity.
  2. GARDEN OF THE SOUL: Cultivate a life of prayer.
  3. GARDEN OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS: Take the time to nurture relationships with those important to you.
  4. GARDEN OF THE GLOBE: Care for the environment; recycle; don’t waste natural resources.
  5. GARDEN OF EMOTIONS: Aim for an emotional balance in life; work at being in good humor.
  6. GARDEN OF THE “POLIS”: Be politically aware, be an informed and involved citizen and vote; participate in community meetings.
  7. GARDEN OF THE MIND: Keep learning.
  8. GARDEN OF DECISIONS: Make well- informed choices; work toward understanding and consensus; keep the vision and mission of Jesus in mind.
  9. GARDEN OF THE CHIP: Use technology for good purposes.
  10. GARDEN OF HISTORY: Know and value the things of the past; keep the lessons of history fresh in the mind.
  11. GARDEN OF THE ARTS: Listen to, read and watch the best in books, music, movies, theater, artwork, radio and television.
  12. GARDEN OF MONEY: Use financial resources well; set and keep a budget; set spending limits; ask how much money is enough.

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