Stewardship: A Way of Life

Stewardship: A Way of Life

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According to Webster:  CRITIC: 1.”one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter esp. involving a judgment of its value, righteousness, beauty, or technique. 2. one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances.’  CRITICISM:  the act of criticizing usu. unfavorably.  2. a critical observation or remark.

How many of us are CRITICS? “reasoned opinions–truth judgments–possibly professionally in analysis.” On the contrary, how many of us offer criticism? And this action is not only in words. We can criticize in words and actions and even in the look we might pass on. For example–some children in church or elsewhere are being noisy and are interrupting us in our attention and enjoyment to the matter at hand. Have we ever turned around and looked at the parents with negative thoughts (eye balls) of ‘why can’t you control your kids? If you can’t, take them away or go home.’ Or maybe we are in the theatre or a party and the adults’ behavior is disrespectful as they are involved with their electronics and not listening or paying attention at all. How about during Christmas Eve Mass or at a funeral Mass using electronics? How do we feel about the dress of some people today? Are we always forming judgmental opinions and/or an attitude about what we see?

Criticism is a part of our lives. But have we ever thought about how our criticism/negative thoughts affect others as well as ourselves. What kind of person are we? When we exchange the evil eye ball, have we ever been concerned about how the other person feels when receiving our negative reactions.? Even more important, have we ever   considered what is happening with the other in  this situation, when we instantly react to something that displeases us. Most of us when reacting to something that we perceive as not acceptable, we react to the moment with no consideration to what is behind the action we notice. There are so many of life’s experiences that stress us out that maybe someone’s action is just an attempt to do something normal and escape other overwhelming issues in their lives, if only for a few moments. “My kid is disruptive and my parent is dying.”  “I should not be using my electronics, but my patient is in critical condition.” None of us is that saintly that we can always be in control of our feelings and reactions in that moment. However we do need to pause–to have the critic’s response–reasoned opinion. The world is not about to end. And can criticism ever be positive?

A while ago when attending Mass at a sea side community, the Pastor made an announcement that caught the  attention of all the parishioners. The Pastor had been concerned for quite a while about the dress of his people in their attendance in God’s house. Like most Pastors, he did not wish to insult or criticize in a way that would drive people away from attending Mass. So he delivered the message with great sadness and tenderness that the church’s Board had voted  NOT build a pool in the parking lot. So despite the heat, no swimming would be available and so they could leave their beach clothes at home.

“Judgment is mine” said the Lord. And so perhaps that is where we should leave it. Instead of the evil eye or    heaving sigh, maybe we should say a prayer for the person involved. God hears our prayers as well as notices our behaviors. Maybe, help will be on the way for those who most need it.

by Kathy Reilly