Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from the 2022 book, Stewardship Starts at Home: Using God’s Gifts To Grow As Disciples Of Christ In Our Domestic Church, written by stewardship expert/retreat leader Lisa McArdle and published by Catholic Stewardship Consultants. This excerpt is reprinted with permission from CSC.
There are Four Pillars of a Stewardship Parish — Prayer, Hospitality, Formation, and Service. The third pillar — Formation — teaches us to know and love our God and our faith.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Directory for Catechesis (2005, #20), there are six tasks of faith formation that constitute a unified whole by which faith formation seeks to achieve its objective. This primary objective is the formation of disciples of Jesus Christ.
The six tasks of formation promote knowledge of the faith, promote knowledge of the meaning of the liturgy and the sacraments, promote moral formation in Jesus Christ, teach us how to pray, prepare one to live in community, and participate actively in the life of the Church, and promote a missionary spirit that prepares one to be present as Christians in society.
Take a moment to consider how fully you are currently formed. When is the last time you read a book about the Catholic faith? When is the last time you participated in a Bible study? When is the last time you read and reflected on the readings before Mass? Or looked up something in the Catechism?
Frequently, the last faith formation parishioners receive dates back to when they completed their Confirmation preparation or attended their last religious formation class as a middle or high school student.
This means decades may have gone by since parishioners and family members have experienced formation.
If that is the last time that you have formed yourself or that members of your families have formed themselves, don’t panic. You are not alone.
This realization is an opportunity for growth. A chance to dip your toe back in the water of faith formation and even to learn alongside the members of your family, including the youngest members who are also learning. Don’t ever feel embarrassed that you don’t know an answer to the faith questions asked to you by your children or grandchildren. Instead, learn together!
Remember, the more fully you are formed, the better you will understand God’s calling for your family. Furthermore, the more you are formed in the faith the easier it will be to answer the call of discipleship.
Being properly formed in our faith and listening to God’s call allows us to understand if we are on the right path or if we need to redirect. Being prayerful and well-formed are key to our following His plan for our lives instead of our own wishes and desires. Remember, as stewards, we strive to listen to God and use the gifts He has given us to serve those he places in our paths. Thankfully, it is easier now more than ever to form ourselves and our families.
There is no need to search for faith-formation opportunities. These options can be sent directly to our smartphones and tablets. Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire ministry sends free daily readings along with a brief gospel reflection straight to our inboxes. Matthew Kelly’s Dynamic Catholic offers Lenten and Advent opportunities with free, reflective videos that also arrive via email. Blessed is She even provides an endearing female faith formation perspective — perfect for women young and old. Plus, if you want to form yourself specifically in Scripture, you can also opt for the free podcast, The Bible in a Year featuring the entertaining Fr. Mike Schmitz, from Ascension Presents. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.
Formation is the fuel that keeps your family moving forward as stewards and in becoming all that Christ is calling you to be. Have confidence as you incorporate this ongoing learning into your daily routines.
To find out more about the Stewardship Starts at Home book, visit www.stewardship-starts-at-home.company.site.