At the end of the confirmation ceremony for Our Lady of the Snow Parish, the community recognized Celia Cyr and Angelina Barrows for their reception of this year’s diocesan Hands of Christ award.
Since I was unable to be present at the Hands of Christ ceremonies in November, I appreciated this moment in which the people who gathered at St. Joseph’s in Weedsport so warmly saluted these impressive young women.
Celia and Angelina are remarkably gifted individuals who obviously understand that God’s gifts are to be shared, and who do that sharing with extraordinary generosity. Their record of contributions includes service to family, parish, school and community. They tutor the young, care for the infirm and support their peers.
They seemed quite serene and peaceful as they stood before the assembly while their records of service were read for the people, and as they received a warm and appreciative ovation. It seemed to me that they were pleased by the recognition and appreciated the support of the community. I also had the impression that they were surprised at all of the attention — that they do what they do because it’s the right thing to do, and for no other reason.
If that’s the case, they are very much like other teens and the many adults I meet around the diocese who day in and day out devote themselves to a wide range of service to others. They serve others because they judge it to be the right thing to do. They serve quietly and without expectation of reward or recognition.
In short, they are good stewards of God’s gifts. They share their time and talent with others. They do so with at least the implicit recognition that everything we have comes from God. And, they understand that God is truly recognized as the source of those blessings only when they share them with others.
Since I heard the list of ways in which Angelina and Celia exercised stewardship and thought about the adults to whom I just referred, I have been drawn to consider my own response to the gifts with which the Lord has endowed me. Have I been a good steward of those gifts?
Do I recognize that all that I have comes from God? And do I, in invitation of God’s generosity, share what I have with others? Do I hoard my time, my talent and my treasure? They are all God’s gifts. All are to be shared.
When Advent began, I did not think I’d be dwelling much on what it means to be a good steward. But thanks to the people of Our Lady of the Snow gathered at St. Joseph’s in Weedsport, and thanks to the remarkable record of stewardship offered by Celia and Angelina, I have been drawn to the theme in very helpful ways.
As we draw near to the Christmas feast, we ask for the grace to appreciate to the bottom of our souls how precious and necessary to us is the gift of the child who reconciles and saves and befriends us all. Flowing from that grace, when it is present in our hearts, is the irrepressible desire to sing about it and share it always and in all the ways we can.
Peace to all.