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The Four Pillars of Stewardship

Have you ever seen the 1949 movie, “Samson and Delilah”?
If you recall, after Hedy Lamarr’s Delilah is rejected by Victor Mature’s Samson, the long-locked strong man of the Old Testament is blinded and tortured. Not only that, but Samson’s strength, which God gives him via his long hair, is removed when Delilah gives him a trim.
The final scene has the blind Samson tethered between two large pillars in an immense, public gathering. Unnoticed by the rabble, his hair has grown back, and with it, his strength, so he topples the temple, burying the rabble in rubble. Although he probably didn’t know it, Samson was providing an example of how a lack of attention to our baptismal call can topple the pillars that support our faith life. These pillars -- Hospitality, Prayer, Formation and Service – were introduced to the Diocese of Dodge City last year by Bishop John Brungardt. He sees the pillars as supporting a fundamental tenant of our Catholic life, stewardship. By asking what you can do to be good stewards, you are asking what you can do to live out your baptismal call.  
“Stewardship,” the bishop says, “is the grateful response of a Christian disciple who recognizes and receives God’s gifts and shares these gifts in love of God and neighbor.”
The “four pillars of stewardship” -- Hospitality, Prayer, Formation, and Service -- offers “four ways to live the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, to grow in the virtues, to live our baptismal call, to resist the vices, and to love.”
At its heart is the simple yet deeply profound admonition that only by giving do we receive. It is with this in mind that the bishop began a series of columns discussing Stewardship, and continues that study by asking that this issue of the Register, and upcoming issues leading up to Stewardship Renewal Commitment Sunday, Nov. 17, include a closer look at each one of the four pillars.
In one of his columns, Bishop John discussed the four pillars:
1) Formation is necessary to live the truth that “I love our Catholic Faith.” God calls us to be lifelong learners of the message of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. The virtue of faith helps us grow in our understanding and belief in God and his Church.
2) Prayer says to our Creator: “I love God.” We pray in the silence in our hearts, in the quiet of our room, before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, in Holy Mass, or in other sacraments or group prayer. Prayer is recognizing the presence of Emmanuel, God-with-us.
3) Service calls us to say, “I love our neighbor,” like the Good Samaritan. We are made to imitate Jesus, to focus on serving others (not selfishly always focusing on ourselves). The virtue of building up community will assist us to serve.
4) Hospitality is simply demonstrating: “I love you.” We are hospitable by saying “Good morning,” by smiling at another, by recognizing that each person is a son or daughter of the Heavenly Father, worthy of great dignity and respect.

How do you live out these pillars? How do you  strengthen your family, your Church?

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