At the heart of stewardship is gratitude. The Greek philosopher Epicurus wrote, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” There is certainly stewardship wisdom in that quote.

It follows upon the wisdom that is displayed in today’s readings. In the Gospel from Luke, for example, Jesus cures 10 lepers. They have been given something — health – which they once only hoped for. Yet only one of them, a Samaritan as a matter of fact, returns to the Lord to thank Him. Jesus says “Where are the other nine?”

Stewardship expects us to focus on our gifts, on our many blessings, not on what we may not have, or what we may have been denied. Not only do we need to concentrate on those gifts, but we need to take the time to thank God and others who may have provided us those gifts. When was the last time you actually thanked your parents for the gift of life? When did you last thank your spouse for all that he or she may have done for you? When did you last thank God in prayer?

According to many Catholic encyclopedias, there are five kinds of prayer — adoration, contrition, love, petition, and thanksgiving. For the good steward, those prayers of thanksgiving should be foremost.

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