“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Phil 4:8

Saint Anne is developing programs and activities based on ‘The Twelve Gardens of Stewardship,’ a concept developed by Bishop Robert Morneau of the Diocese of Green Bay, which helps us apply Christian stewardship to every area of our daily lives. We are seeking to help parishioners understand that they are to become stewards in all areas of their lives and to foster Stewardship as a way of life. Our hope is that you and your family find these useful and inspirational.

Using the image of a garden, we may ask ourselves how well we ‘cultivate’ and ‘tend to’ these various areas of our lives.

Garden of Creation

Care for the environment, recycle, don’t waste natural resources.

Ecological Garden
While ecology, concern for the environment, and responsible use of our natural resources are well known concerns in our society at large, we should not forget the connection between them and our faith. The Book of Genesis – the first book of the Bible – reminds us how God entrusted the earth to us. God gave us dominion over creation – the authority and responsibility to take good care of the physical world he gave us. Garden of Creation helps us focus on ways of caring for our environment so that we are good caretakers of our world.
Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism: Selfcentered, only looking for what we get out of a relationship or enjoy through money.
Life of Stewardship: Working to maintain our relationships, enjoying simple activities together, fulfilling God’s call to love our neighbor, understanding our need to share what we have with others.

Reading from Scripture

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31

“Serve one another through love… bear one another’s burdens, and you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 5:13; 6:2

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:34?40

 

Garden of Relationships

Nurture relationships with family, friends and those important to you.
Social Garden
Our relationships are precious gifts that we do not always nurture as much as we should. Sometimes the people we are closest to are the ones we hurt the most. Cultivating our relationships means being attentive, communicating, and showing our love and commitment to the person we are in a relationship with. We should focus on how important it is to be respectful and caring toward one another.
Materialism vs. Stewardship
Life of Materialism: Self?centered, only looking for what we get out of a relationship or enjoy through money.
Life of Stewardship: Working to maintain our relationships, enjoying simple activities together, fulfilling God’s call to love our neighbor, understanding our need to share what we have with others.
Reading from Scripture
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31

“Serve one another through love… bear one another’s burdens, and you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 5:13; 6:2

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:34?40

 

Garden of the Soul

Cultivate your spiritual life through Mass, prayer, meditation and study.

Spiritual Garden
How do you answer when you are asked if you have a “personal relationship with God?” All relationships take commitment, effort, time, and communication to be healthy and grow. It’s important for us to take time to nurture our relationship through prayer and worship. In fact, developing a person relationship with God should hold a place of highest priority. This month, let’s make time for personal prayer our top  priority. And let’s also find time to listen to what God has to say to us.
Materialism vs. Stewardship
Life of Materialism: treating our religious and faith obligations as ‘getting our ticket punched’; as consumerism.

Life of Stewardship: Focusing on loving God through prayer and giving of our self through gifts of time, talent, and gifts of our possessions.

Reading from Scripture

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:54

 

Garden of History

Know and value our history and traditions, especially in regards to making decisions.

Historical Garden

God calls us to understand our past and to use that knowledge for a better future.  The history of God’s people in scripture shows us the consequences of disobeying God, as well as the rewards of living according to His will.  This history along with all of humanity’s known history, is meant to be used for our benefit, as a guide.  This month, we are invited to be more aware of and valuing of our history and traditions.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism: Paying attention only to the ‘here and now’, with no regard for the past or future.

Life of Stewardship: Seeking to understand the past – both our personal past and humanity’s past – as a guide for the future. We should also be attentive to the history of our faith.

Reading from Scripture

“I will teach you hidden lessons from our past – stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord… so the next generation might know them… and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hopes anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.” Psalms 78

 

Garden of Money

Control your money.  Deliberately set and keep a budget.  Honestly and regularly assess your use of your financial resources.

Economic Garden

A central insight of stewardship is that the material ‘possessions’ we have are really not our own. They belong to God, who has entrusted them to us so we can nurture, tend, and share them. Even the money we earn from our own hard work is a gift from God. How does God want us to use these gifts? This month, we focus on the difference between material possessions and the other blessings in life that have far greater value.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism: Buying in abundance; giving to please ourselves or to impress others; use resources for lavish lifestyle; focusing on ‘keeping up with the Jones’s; no regard for financial limits – leads to debt.

Life of Stewardship: Buying only what is truly needed instead of making our purchasing decisions based on what the advertising industry convinces us we can’t live without.

Reading from Scripture

“What do you possess that you have not received.” 1 Corinthians 4:7

“So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” Matthew 6:31?32

 

Garden of Emotions

Strive for emotional growth, development and balance.  Make good humor your priority.

Psychological Garden

Our feelings and emotions are integral parts of us as human beings. Emotions are tricky things, as we all have different ways of dealing with them, some more healthy than others. A good place to start is to recognize our emotions as gifts from God that we are called to faithfully tend. God calls us to deal with our emotions in ways that are not harmful to others, or to ourselves. This month we focus on positive, healthy thoughts and feelings, while trying to avoid the patterns of thoughts and behavior that may disrupt our happiness and well?being.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism:  Approaches life with a fear of not having enough.

Life of Stewardship:  Approaches life with a sense of gratitude and trust in God to meet all of our needs.

Reading from Scripture

“What do you possess that you have not received.” 1 Corinthians 4:7

“A fool is quick tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.” Proverbs 12:16

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6

 

Garden of Decisions

Make well informed decisions, exercise prudence, understanding and collaboration, always mindful of the mission of Jesus.

Moral Garden

It may seem unusual to consider decisions as gifts. Sometimes, they feel more like a curse than a blessing! The opportunity to make choices, both large and small, is a great responsibility that we usually take for granted. However, decision making is a gift from God. This is our gift of free will. We are called to make decisions that bring us closer to God rather than turning us away from Him. This month we focus on ways to make decisions that are thoughtful and wise.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism: Making decisions based on self?centered desires, or for the purpose of impressing others. Goals: comfort, power, self?glorification.

Life of Stewardship: Making decisions based on the gospel call to follow Jesus. Goals: other?centered, peace, usefulness, blessing others.

Reading from Scripture

“Wisdom shouts in the streets… ‘Come and listen to my counsel.  I will share my heart with you and make you wise.’” Proverbs 1:20

“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.” Proverbs 19:20

 

Garden of the Mind

Make learning a lifelong vocation.  Continue to develop your knowledge and intellect.

Intellectual Garden

Scientists tell us that we only take advantage of a small part of the capabilities of our minds. We can develop our God?given mental capacities in a variety of ways, but we can be sure that God wants us to use our minds to the fullest extent possible. Our minds are extraordinary gifts that allow us to have a personal relationship with our Creator and all those around us. We should always be learning, questioning, and thirsting for knowledge, in both our spiritual and temporal worlds.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism:  ‘Consuming’ media that tears down or denigrates other people and makes society worse off, or simply detracts us from our true purpose in life.

Life of Stewardship:  Choosing entertainment and information that builds us up to become the people God wants us to be.

Reading from Scripture

“Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8

 

Garden of Citizenship

Be politically aware, involved and active.  Stay well informed. Vote.

Political Garden

We sometimes take for granted the blessing of living in a country in which we can share our opinions and speak our minds. We have the opportunity to vote and we have people who represent us in our  government. We have a tremendous amount of influence when we work together as a city, state, or country. The blessings of civic participation and influence are gifts that we must use wisely.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism:  Supporting only government decisions that benefit my segment and interests in society, despite their negative impact on others.

Life of Stewardship:  Taking part in civic life in ways that support the best for all people. Care for the common good: compassion, volunteerism.

Reading from Scripture

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”  Psalms 33:12

“First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be offered for everyone, for kings and all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in devotion and dignity.”  1 Timothy 2:1?2

 

Garden of the Body

Get proper nutrition, exercise and rest.  Avoid smoking and chemical abuse.

Physical Garden

We can sometimes forget that our physical body is a gift given to us by God. So often, we take advantage of our gift of good health until we develop an illness or receive a medical warning from our doctor. St. Paul reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We can sometimes abuse our bodies, often with the excuse that we are too busy or that something else is more important than caring for ourselves. This month, we are invited to focus on our physical bodies and our health as gifts from God, to be respected and cared for.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism:   Concerned for what others think; buying to keep “in” with fads and fashion.

Life of Stewardship:  Good care of self: healthy diet, exercise, adequate rest.

Reading from Scripture

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been purchased at a price.  Therefore, glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19?20

 

Garden of the Arts

Appreciate and use the fine arts to expand your knowledge and lift up your spirit.

Cultural Garden

Our world would be a dull place without the many arts. Think of a world without music, literature, visual arts, performing arts, and all forms of artistic creativity. Our creative abilities are a great gift from God. Stewardship of the arts includes recognizing that we have each been given a measure of this gift and we are called to nurture and use our creativity, as well as value the creativity of others. Our focus this month is on recognizing and developing our own creativity.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism:  Appreciating only what has market value or is currently popular.

Life of Stewardship:  Nurturing appreciation of beauty and expressions of human creativity.

Reading from Scripture

“Praise the Lord! … Praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praise to the Lord!”  Psalms 150

“David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps, and cymbals.”  1Chronicles 15:16

 

Garden of Technology

Use technology for good and not for evil; for gaining knowledge and benefiting others.

Technological Garden

We live in a vastly different world from the one of just fifty years ago. Our technological advances allow us to both heal people more effectively, and destroy them more effectively. Each day we must decide how we want to use the gifts of technology that surround us. When technology is used responsibly, respectfully, and ethically it allows us to continue gaining knowledge and skills and growing our minds for the good of all humankind.

Materialism vs. Stewardship

Life of Materialism: Always buying the ‘latest and greatest’ technology, for prestige and personal comfort.

Life of Stewardship: Keeping the use of technology in proper perspective; for gaining knowledge and for serving others, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Reading from Scripture

“Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things..” Philippians 4:8