A Letter From Our Pastor: How Can I Give Today?
In these times, it is helpful to begin the day with the question, “How can I give today?”
As we continue to do our best to live stewardship during these difficult times, I have been thinking of ways for us all to share our Time, Talent and Treasure with our family, our parish, our community, and even ourselves. So, I would like to share with you my list of 10 ways to be a giver in these days that challenge us to be upbeat, or even to remain on an even keel. And, as we give effectively, we will spread and experience joy.
1. Give encouragement. Many folks are struggling as they adjust to a new normal, which keeps changing — but they are moving along, trying to do what is right and good. Encouragement helps us all to keep making good decisions and to give and find zest.
2. Give gratitude. Be grateful to God, to family and friends, and to professionals who are helping us through the pandemic. Find a way to express gratitude — maybe send a hand-written note.
3. Forgive others. We are all victims in one way or another. People who have hurt us are usually victims themselves. Holding on to the hurt or harboring resentment does no one any good. Start forgiving by praying for the one who has hurt you or a loved one. This is a good time to mend fences by expressing care and the desire to see beyond the rift.
4. Forgive yourself. During these days, many people report that memories of their own mean, foolish and hurtful actions are flooding them with a vengeance. If others have forgiven us, if God and the Church have forgiven us, if we would forgive someone who did to us what we cannot forgive ourselves for, well then, what good reason is there to withhold forgiving ourselves?
5. Give the gift of volunteer time. There are many needs out there for folks to share their time and talents in one way or another. We know this in our Church, our neighborhood, our places of work. In our bulletin, we regularly invite folks to volunteer, to make another person’s life healthier and safer. Seldom do we volunteer as a solitary person — we can make great friends among our fellow volunteers.
6. Give financial support. These, of course, are uncertain times. Many charitable organizations are offering assistance to those in need. Our Church and parish face the challenge of managing our budget while there are less people attending Mass and giving less of their treasure. There is a joy and a sense of peace when we give, when we trust God to provide enough for our well-being, and when we can see the good our generosity and sacrifices are accomplishing.
7. Give the gift of self-care. Balance exercise, healthy meals, rest, staying in touch with family and friends, intellectual stimulation, finding ways to enjoy life with virtual assistance, staying safe and keeping others safe. Find ways to enjoy nature. Self-care is important so we can be our best self in our relationships with others and as we encounter life’s challenges.
8. Give time to listen to God. Trust that God has words of encouragement, direction, clarification and peace for us. We pray speaking to God from our hearts, but also by listening to the Divine Message which penetrates our hearts.
9. Give the gift of petitionary prayer. Petitionary prayer works — the result is not always that our will is done, but petitionary prayer leads us to look for God, to trust in God, and to compassionately put those for whom we pray in the hands of God. Petitionary prayer unites us with those for whom we are praying and those who are also praying. We give a great gift when we pray for someone — we have the joy of bringing our hopes to God and feeling the Divine Presence.
10. Give the gift of the desire to give. If we start every day with the desire and the question “How can I give today?” we will have a spirit of dedication and build on the joy of giving day by day as we gradually work our way through this pandemic and all the fears, issues and problems which have surfaced.
Let us trust the joy of giving as we move forward.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Steven Arisman, Pastor