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Welcome Sarah Reinhard

January 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard, Vicki Burbach

Book Club INTERNAL IMAGE (internal to post) 600x214Welcome back!  I hope you've been enjoying this Blessed Christmas Season!  I also hope you are ready to roll because we have quite a bit of ground to cover this week! 

First, after our two-week break, we need to discuss our latest assignment from An Introduction to the Devout Life

Second, I’d like you to meet my new cohort, Sarah Reinhard, who has graciously agreed to moderate the book club every other week. Our plan is to take turns offering our personal perspectives on the current week’s reading. Sarah will be leading the discussion next week for Week 9, on 1/14, and I’ll meet you back here on 1/21 to discuss the assignment from Week 10. Welcome, Sarah!!!

1. Discussion: An Introduction to the Devout Life (Wk 8 of 14)

You should be more watchful than men of the world are, in order to turn your possessions to good use. Are not the gardeners of kings and princes more particular and diligent in the cultivation and embellishment of the gardens committed to their charge than they would be were these their own, and that because they belong to those kings and princes, whom they would fain please by their assiduous services? Our possessions are not our own; God has given them to us that we may cultivate them, and it is His Will that we should render them useful and fruitful.  – An Introduction to the Devout Life, Part III, Chapter XV, Paragraph II

Dozens of homilies associated with stewardship, along with all the books I've read about Catholic finances over the years have been of great service to my understanding of money and possessions, as well as their place in my life.  Before reading this passage, I would have told you, “I get it.”  I do not own anything.  God owns everything.  My husband and I are mere stewards of our money and possessions. And rather than seeing them merely in terms of blessings bestowed upon us and amidst which we can bask in our gratitude, we should consider them more along the lines of responsibilities to which we should tend with prayer and discernment.

At first glance, the passage above could be seen merely as a repetition of something I've heard for twenty years.  But this paragraph stood out for me.  Rather than reiterate things I've known, it provided for me a much more profound visual definition of the word stewardship – even a whole new dimension.

Perhaps I can explain.  When I think of being a steward, I think of having money or possessions entrusted to my care.  That I should manage them effectively, taking good care not to waste them, but to use them wisely. Unfortunately, when I sync my understanding of stewardship with the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), my definition could technically apply to all three servants.  Between you and me, I've always felt that the servant who was punished for burying his one talent got a raw deal.  After all, he didn't exactly squander it!  And frankly, I'm not particularly adventuresome, so I might have been a little nervous, too, about losing something that didn't belong to me.

But perhaps my preconceived notions of stewardship were responsible for my tendency to identify with the disgraceful servant.

Seeing myself as a gardener both clarifies and expands my understanding of God's Plan.  In this analogy, I could not possibly see myself receiving seeds from the King, only to hide them until His return.  As His gardener, I would do everything I could to please Him.  As His gardener, I imagine (must imagine because in truth I’m not much of a gardener) diligent planning and year-round foresight and care. When I see the word “cultivate,” I think of long-term designs to be developed and plotted over many years.  Plans must be made for complimentary plants, tall and short, wide and narrow, in a wide variety of colors planted so that beauty is maximized and all plants are in balance.  Carefully positioned in a way that allows and even encourages the garden to flourish over time.  And, when I think “gardener” I think of getting my hands dirty. Not simply signing a check and putting it in the collection plate, but of getting involved and spreading fertilizer so that seeds may grow in greater abundance.

As His gardener, I would desperately want to please the King. Not just today, but when we stand, looking back at how the garden has developed over the years.  As I plan for each seed, I must look ahead and ask myself, “Will He be pleased with the overall progress of this garden over time? With its growth? With its beauty?”

The King wants to return to a garden brimming with exquisite blossoms. He desires a full and glorious garden grown from whatever seeds He’s given us to plant – whether they be wildflowers or roses.  And He seeks only our faithfulness and diligence in the process.

(Please see Discussion Questions and Assignment Below.)

 

2. Introducing our New Book Club Blogger – Sarah Reinhard!

If Sarah Reinhard isn’t off hiding somewhere with a good book, chances are she’s chasing a kid or a critter—or drinking coffee, because it’s the only way she’s found to fight off her constant desire for a nap.

She enjoys the idiosyncrasies of rural life in central Ohio with her husband and children. She’s been Catholic since 2001 and has a background in high school agricultural education, marketing, and miscellany. She’s spent the last ten years working for her parish as publications' editor, webmaster, catechist, youth leader, and person-who-does-whatever’s-needed.

Sarah has been blogging at SnoringScholar.com since 2006 and contributes regularly in a number of other venues, as both writer and editor, including CatholicMom.com, Integrated Catholic Life, and The Catholic Times. She’s written a few books but maintains that the rumor about “social media addiction” is completely unfounded.

Her backyard faces acres of fields and the sunrises are astounding. Her front yard faces a lovely view to the west and she’s always astounded by the splashes of sunset color in late fall. She rides horses, wrangles schedules, and juggles commitments like the basketballs her kids throw around the house. But her first love is reading, plain and simple. When she found herself topping the 100-book mark in 2013, she pretty much figured that life was as good as it was going to get.

And then, she found out about the book club here at SpiritualDirection.com. She’s excited to dive in here, because that feeling of being the only person in the room who (a) is reading five books at once, (b) has read something Catholic in the last two days, and/or (c) longs to talk books, books, books all day long is getting pretty old.

Please welcome Sarah to our Book Club family. I’ll be taking time every other week to catch up on grading, housekeeping, or just plain reading – something I’m sure you can all appreciate!

 

Reading Assignment:

Week 8 Part 3: Chapter 19-27

 

Discussion Questions:

1. Does the above passage provide for you any insight into the meaning of stewardship? If so, please share them with us.

2. Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

 

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

For More Information on the Book Club:  https://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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