This article is taken from a talk given by Benny and Tessie Dios during our Stewardship reflections in October.
Hello! I’m Benny de Dios. I am married to Tessie de Dios. We have two daughters and a beautiful grandbaby girl, Marty. We are a military family, lucky enough to have had the opportunity to move from one area of the world to another. This was a blessing from our God that we’ve openly received no matter how difficult it would be. We moved to Oceanside and decided to retire here two years ago, and have been parishioners of Mission San Luis Rey Parish since then. Today, we are sharing what Christian Stewardship means to our family and how it has affected our lives.
To us, the words, Christian Stewardship, are associated mainly with giving to our church. These are words that we didn’t have a full understanding of until now that we have been given the chance to talk about it. We thought that to be able to talk about Stewardship we would have to look it up, research it, and find its deeper meaning.
According to the Catholic Education Resource Center, Christian Stewardship is a way of living in which we recognize that everything belongs to God. All resources must be used for his glory and for the common good. Solidarity is the fruit of Stewardship.
Stewardship is a popular term often associated with the words tithe, generosity, and money. While these associations are not wrong, it means much more than simply giving time, talent, and treasure. Stewardship demands a way of life that encourages virtue and bears solidarity among people.
Stewardship means that we recognize that God owns it all. God gave us life and the gift of eternal life. He created us for Himself, and He wants our total person.
As far as we can remember, we have been practicing Stewardship since we started our family without us really knowing what Stewardship is all about. When our first-born was a year and a half old, we made it our routine to hand her money for the church collection basket every Sunday, to give her the feeling of belonging. That she’s a member of the church and giving to the church is the way to go.
At the time our second child was born, money was tight, but we continued to share our treasure although it was sporadic and unplanned. We also started to share our time by attending church functions, but not by being involved in the ministries yet. We were not giving to God what belongs to Him, but we figured he’ll understand.
1996-1999 we were stationed in Great Lakes Illinois; my children were enrolled in Catholic school. Tuition was expensive and to offset some of the cost, as parents, we were obligated to volunteer, and we did it reluctantly. But as we continued to volunteer in the school and in the church, we grew closer to our fellow parishioners. We felt a sense of belonging. We were officially members of our church family, we received our envelopes and managed to share our treasures on a weekly basis, although still not nearly proportionate to what we received from our Lord. Time seemed to be more open and we were able to sign up to be a part of church ministry. That is when Tessie started to be a lector. At this time, we got hooked.
1999-2002 We were lucky enough to be stationed in Sicily, Italy. Life was still tough, financially we should have been scraping bottom since Tessie was not able to find a job as a nurse for over a year. But it was here that we greatly felt the blessings from our God. We were sharing our time, talent and treasure, and the more we did the more we felt the grace of the Lord. At this time, we were giving about 3% of our treasure and attempted to make it up with being actively involved in church ministry. We served as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and taught catechism. We opened our house for our Sunday CCD class since we didn’t have a classroom for our Sunday school.
In this duty station, we were able to purchase our Italian furniture and pay off all our bills back in the state. We were able to travel all over Europe, in spite of not having a nursing job. Tessie worked part-time in a retail store and childcare. Our children were growing and requiring more, but we never felt lacking in any way. We had the Lord on our side but of course, our worries were still there, thinking all about the “what ifs”.
Tessie: Fast forward to our present life. Despite all our worries and insecurities, we were able to send our children to college, bought them the cars they needed, and they now have their own lives. Benny and I are retired before the age of 60, and we continue to dedicate our lives to God. We are now giving 10% of our fixed income to our church through automatic deductions, we spend more time in church than we used to do, and we really feel that Mission San Luis Rey Parish is our family. We continue to receive blessings from our Lord, so much more than we need, and we are thankful every day.
Today, we encourage you to get hooked, open your heart and receive the glory of God. Bring forth to the Lord what belongs to Him and you will be showered with his love. Thank you and God bless.
-Benny and Tessie de Dios