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When I was working out today, I noticed that some of the TVs in the gym were covering the first outdoor practices of the NFL preseason.  The players were in shorts and helmets practicing handoffs and other fundamentals.  It is kind of amazing that these "professionals" have to return to the basics of the game each year.  One would think that they could start their workouts at a much more developed level of football.  NFL teams practice the fundamentals, such as basic linemen blocking maneuvers, because it is part of our human condition to drift away from perfection over time without practice.  This concentrated focus is taken so seriously that teams will take their players away from their normal everyday environment to practice in off-site cites, e.g., the Chiefs training camp is held in St. Joseph, Missouri.  

Achievement on the athletic field often parallels achievement in the spiritual life.  Just as the best players have to return to the fundamentals each year to play at the highest levels during the season, so we Christians have to frequently return to the fundamentals to live our discipleship well and excel in the life of holiness.

On September 20, the Diocese will be unveiling this year's stewardship them and the annual stewardship renewal.  From September 20 through commitment Sunday in November, every parish in the Diocese will be focusing on the so called "fundamentals" of Stewardship.  We call these fundamentals, pillars.  The four pillars of stewardship include hospitality, prayer, formation and service.  Since we embrace the stewardship way of life as our form of discipleship, success in the spiritual life will depend greatly on how well we engage and appropriate the pillars of stewardship.  Stewardship is meant to be a radical way of living the Gospel with sacrifice and generosity and the pillars of stewardship make this radical living both possible and desirable.  

Soon we will be starting our discipleship preseason with the annual stewardship renewal. Now is a good time to review and reflect upon how well we are living the pillars of stewardship in our life.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Father John F. Jirak

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