If you are as old as I am, you are aware of something called the Baltimore Catechism. It was used in the U.S. Church from 1885 to the 1960s. It was sometimes criticized for being merely a rote memory of questions and answers. However, some of those questions and answers are worth recalling today, especially in light of the concept of stewardship.
Question No. 223 states, “Which are the chief corporal works of mercy?” The correct answer was “The chief corporal works of mercy are seven: To feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to ransom the captive, to harbor the harborless, to visit the sick, and to bury the dead.”
Isn’t that what stewardship is all about? Isn’t that how we are supposed to live out our lives? If we do that, have we not made great strides toward holiness? Of course, there is more to being holy than that, but I cannot think of “harbor the harborless” without coming to the realization that my personal world is filled with “harborless” souls.
I have a great love and devotion for Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu — you know, Mother Teresa. She had a way of putting the stewardship way of life in proper perspective. She said, “Do we know our poor people? Do we know the poor in our house, in our family? Perhaps they are not hungry for a piece of bread. Perhaps our children, our husband, our wife are not hungry, or naked, or dispossessed, but are you sure there is no one there who feels unwanted, deprived of affection?” In fact, they may indeed be harborless, living very close to us, and need us to be good stewards of our time by giving them our love and mercy.