Simply stewardship

Life’s instruction manuals are where you find them

Simply stewardship

Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at:

by Lesle Knop

Babies don’t come with instruction manuals.

This is true — unless the baby is the first child of a young couple going away for the first time leaving their baby in the care of Grammy and Papa.

We were given three pages of typed instructions, diaper bag, duffel bag, food bag, milk bag and toys for a year’s worth of growth development for the weekend we were to babysit. We could see that the young parents were very serious about the importance of staying on the baby’s schedule when we were entrusted with baby’s care. Nor could we forget with the text messages (dozens!) that we received over the next two days: “Is he napping?”

If only life was like this. We could be prepared in advance for whatever lies ahead and guided every step of the way by mentors and concerned friends.

Recently, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann provided his Administrative Team with a copy of a new collection of essays edited by Erika Bachiochi called “Women, Sex and the Church: A Case for Catholic Teaching.”

One of the reviewers of this text said that these essays “should be required reading for every son, brother, fiance, husband, father, seminarian and priest.” I would agree, adding that it should be required reading for every daughter, sister, bride-to-be, wife, mother and any woman called to the religious life. The writers of these essays thoughtfully present their observations of the human condition from conception to natural death.

Another instruction manual Catholics turn to often is the holy Bible which provides guidelines for husbands and wives in the family that God ordains. In St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, for example, it says: “Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do” (3:13).

This month, an Archbishop’s Call to Share funded ministry, the office of marriage and family life, is presenting The Joyful Marriage Project with instructions to build your own “dream home.”

A joyful marriage is available if we invest a little bit of time and energy into making (and keeping) it strong. Please see the archdiocesan website at: for more information about these learning opportunities.

Your generous gifts to the Archbishop’s Call to Share are appreciated by those who benefit from more than 42 funded ministries. Thank you.

As to life’s little instruction manuals, here is another good rule that Christian stewards try to live by: It is more blessed to give than to receive.

About the author

Lesle Knop

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