April 3, 2009

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

It’s time for a ‘Spiritual Stimulus Package’

David SilerCongress recently approved an economic stimulus package that seeks to bring new life to an economy on life support. But how exactly have we gotten ourselves into this mess?

I submit that the reasons are less about economics and more about values, morals and a crisis of the heart—or, more simply put, a movement away from the Gospel principles of faith, hope and love.

Perhaps these times call for a “Spiritual Stimulus Package” in addition to an economic package. Perhaps what is most needed is an opening of our hearts so we can care more deeply for one another. How about more love, care and concern for one another?

What could this stimulus package contain? How about if every man, woman and child dedicated just 10 minutes a day to prayer? What if each of us decided to give at least one hour per week to a cause greater than ourselves where we seek to enhance the life of another human being, the community or the environment?

Perhaps we could all decide to eliminate from our vocabulary all words that bring negativity. What if we all changed our thoughts of harm for others to thoughts of healing and peace? What if all those in the world who have taken up arms were to lay them down for one week and sit with their enemy while sharing a meal?

For us Catholics, how about if we each committed to attend one extra Mass per week or pray a rosary as a family or spend an hour in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament?

I think the ideas may be endless, but will not likely come from Congress. We, the people of God, will need to prepare this package and spread its message.

The current economic conditions can strike fear that causes us to retreat and hold on more tightly to what we have.

But I invite us to consider that it is time for just the opposite. We need only to recall the biblical principle of “it is in the giving that we receive.” What if this is the time to become more generous with our love, our talents, our financial gifts and our time?

The economy seems to me to simply be a reflection of the collective hearts of society. Our current times might then indicate that greed is winning out over generosity, that despair is winning out over hope, or that gluttony is winning out over self-control. It is time for us to stand together and declare that this is not the world we wish for!

I invite you to join me in advancing this idea of a “Spiritual Stimulus Package.” Let each of us create our own package that works for our lives. Build up your spiritual savings account and stimulate collective spirits for people of all faiths.

I’ve started a group on Facebook so we can share ideas. You can also e-mail me at dsiler@archindy.org.

Together, we can move toward a future with more peace, love and harmony—and justice for all.

(David Siler is executive director of the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at dsiler@archindy.org.)

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