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Why should we feel compelled to give generously back to God from all we are and have? The “theology of giving” or “spirituality of stewardship” is wonderfully simple and profound! It can be summarized in four principles:
- God created all that exists;
- Everything belongs to God;
- God has given everything to us;
- God desires that we give all back to Him!
God created all things, so all belongs to Him. Yet, He has literally given us everything in giving us Himself in Jesus, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28); “From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace…” (John 1:16). God, Who is love (cf. 1 John 4:16) gives Himself completely to us. And He gives us all things besides: our life and existence, our every breath and heartbeat, our every blessing! Indeed, St. Paul asks, “What do you possess that you have not received” (1 Cor 4:7)? Precisely, for this reason, God longs for us to imitate His generosity, and love Him in return, by being generous; by being the good stewards of our time, talent and treasure!
- He desires that we first and foremost give Him our TIME, fulfilling the first great commandment to love Him with all our minds, our hearts and our strength (cf. Luke 10:27). We do that by being faithful to the Third Commandment by attending Mass on every Sunday and Holy Day of obligation; by setting apart time daily to receive His love and to communicate with Him in prayer. He wants us to make time to receive His Sacraments frequently and worthily. When we make this our first priority, we will be filled with His grace and power! You can find the complete list of Mass times and Reconciliation times on our homepage.
- Moved and carried by His grace, we next will desire to fulfill the second great commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Luke 10:27) by being good stewards and sharing our TALENT, looking to give of ourselves, serving others generously in the parish community. View a complete list of the ministries currently available at St. Anthony of Padua here. You will also find contact information, so you can get involved.
- Lastly, united to God and animated by His grace, we will want to be generous with our TREASURE, as well, “…for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). “Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor 9:8). Sign up for automated giving or make a one-time donation to St. Anthony of Padua. You can also donate to Living in Giving in Christ. Remember to check off our parish.
St. Paul had the wisdom to point out to us that God made Himself poor, precisely, so that by our generously sacrificing our time, talent and treasure, He could enrich us! “For you know the gracious act of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake He became poor though He was rich, so that by His poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9). God is never outdone in generosity!
Finally, a word about TITHING, or setting apart a tenth of God’s blessings to be returned to Him. Famed Catholic convert and theologian, Dr. Scott Hahn, points out that in all of Sacred Scripture, only on one occasion does God tell us very specifically “to put Him to the test”, and it is with regards tithing! In the Book of Malachi (3:7-10) God challenges us directly through the words of His prophet:
Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.
Be generous towards God by setting apart a tenth of your earnings to support His Church and her charitable works! “Put Him to the test”, even for a month, making this sacrifice for love of Him, to see if He doesn’t bless you abundantly, and provide for your every need! How much God loves when we place all our trust in Him and imitate His generosity with us!
“…give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Luke 6:38).