Steward Stories: Warren McGee

Saint Clement stewardship stories have been reformatted to focus on the three Anchors that relate to stewardship: Pray, Serve, and Give—as embodied by Saint Clement parishioners. This new edition of Steward Stories will feature parishioners involved in one of the above Anchors three times a year.

I have been a parishioner at Saint Clement since the summer of 2014. It was recommended to me because of the Young Adult Community. It was something I realized I needed after returning to the Church in college because of a vibrant college ministry and after having been part of a church without one for nearly three years. I also find the liturgy to have a beautiful and sacred character to it, especially the liturgies during Holy Week.

You may have heard the phrase, “He who sings, prays twice” (CCC 1156). As a trained pianist, a member of the Seraphim choir, and someone who connects deeply with music, I resonate deeply with this quote attributed to St. Augustine. He never said this exactly, though; a paraphrase of what he actually said is something like “He who sings well prays twice.” Now, this doesn’t mean we all have to be Andrea Bocelli to pray to God through music; though it would benefit us to pay close attention to the words we sing or pray at mass. Instead, I think St. Augustine would agree with St. Paul when he told the Ephesians to make “melody to the Lord with all your heart.” That is, when we sing praise to God, we should do so with great love. St. Teresa of Calcutta said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” A key lesson I’ve been trying to implement in my life is to try to do all things with as great a love as I can muster, and I’ve learned slowly that prayer is an essential ingredient.

I am definitely not an expert on prayer. Despite being a cradle Catholic, my prayer life could be described as sporadic at best. Some recent life experiences have forced me to recognize the necessity of turning to God in prayer both as part of a regular routine (“Prayer is to faith what breath is to the body”), and as part of the entire day (“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing”). The days when I have begun with even the feeble prayer of “God, help me get out of bed” have been much better with that sense of purpose than those without. Taking that massive source of stress at work (like trying to finish a PhD thesis) to prayer, or that small beauty of a butterfly fluttering by you at the bus stop to prayer has made all the difference. Anything can become an opportunity for prayer, so seize it! For me, those dozens of moments throughout the day have made it easier to inch closer toward the ideal of doing everything with great love and reflecting God’s love for others.