Stewardship reflection: grateful

This year’s Stewardship Poster features a quote from Matthew 16:24: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”

Editor’s note: Our annual diocesan stewardship renewal will take place during the next few weeks, culminating in our Commitment Sunday on Nov. 22. The theme for this year’s annual renewal is “Stewardship – The Grateful Response of a Christian Disciple.”
During the next several editions of the Catholic Advance, members of our diocesan family will share their understanding of the four major words of our renewal. Today, Vern and Teresa Strecker, parishioners from St. Andrew Parish in Independence, reflect upon the word, “Grateful.”

By Vern and Teresa Strecker, Parishioners of St. Andrew Parish, Independence
Have you ever experienced the feeling that overwhelms you at times, when your heart and mind are overflowing with peace and joy that all things are right and good and you want to share that feeling? That is what we call feeling grateful.
It is a gift of grace from the Holy Spirit. Psalm 40:6 reads: “How numerous, O Lord, my God, you have made your wondrous deeds! And in your plans for us there is none to equal you. Should I wish to declare or tell them, too many are they to recount.”
For us, feeling grateful or having a sense of being given grace does not always come easy. It is a conscious prayerful decision we make each day and often throughout the day.
As we reflect on our lives we have come to understand that we have wasted a lot of time and energy in the past dwelling on what we didn’t have instead of being grateful for what God gives us each day. We began praying for the grace to be grateful people, to look at our lives and pray for the wisdom and understanding to see “what is” instead of “what isn’t.” Even in adversity the thought that we are closer to God through pain and suffering can cause us to have a sense of gratitude.
At night before we go to sleep we pray: “As night gathers and all the earth grows still, we lift our hearts to you in grateful trust.”