These words were spoken to my dad one summer day in 1978 as he was lying in Beaumont Hospital. He had just suffered a heart attack, and was in the midst of doing anything and everything he could to secure a loan from the government to save Chrysler. They were uttered by a priest who walked in rather out of the blue one day uninvited. Though hardly what my dad wanted to hear that day, those words changed his life.
As I think all of you know by now, my dad, my hero and the greatest man I’ve ever known, died this past February 13. As you can imagine, his life and his death have been a continual source of reflection and prayer for me over these past weeks. In a particular way, they have been helpful in thinking about what truly matters in life.
What matters is meeting and knowing Jesus, putting Him at the center of our lives, and then living in a way that makes our families, friends, neighbors, and everyone in our community want to know
Him. That’s what matters. That was my dad. That’s our mission.
Growing up in my family, it was obvious that many people admired my dad. Some admired him for his many possessions and accomplishments, but everyone admired him for his peace, his joy, and his love of life. He was the greatest disciple of Jesus any of us had ever known, and he modeled it for us in many ways, including his remarkable stewardship. After having encountered Jesus, he made a decision to give himself entirely to God. He understood that everything he had was from Him, so he put Him first and in doing so, lived a life of peace and joy that few ever know.
I want us all to experience that peace and joy my dad knew. That’s why I’m inviting you all again, with more urgency than ever, to surrender to God. Put Him first. Give yourself completely to Him. Trust Him. Live in a way that makes everyone around you want to know Him. And offer them a life-changing encounter with Jesus.
My dad did this by making his life a gift to others. He had a lot to offer in terms of both talent and treasure, and he gave generously because he trusted God and he trusted his church to be a good steward; to use it to lead others to Jesus. Not everyone can give what my dad gave, but everyone can give like my dad gave, with a tremendous love and appreciation for our Lord and all that He has given us.
So what does that look like practically? Inside, you’ll find information about the parish’s needs, and some suggestions and guidelines for the biblical call to tithing (we are suggesting a “5-4-1” model as an example of what to aim for).
This week, in a particular way, I invite you to ask God to give you the courage to trust Him more with your finances. And when you do, trust He will provide you with extraordinary peace and joy.
In His love,
Fr. John Riccardo
“Ask God to give you the courage to trust Him more with your finances. And when you do, trust He will provide you with extraordinary peace and joy. Surrender to God. Put Him first. Give yourself completely to Him. Trust Him. Live in a way that makes everyone around you want to know Him. And offer them a life-changing encounter with Jesus.”
Fr. John Riccardo