Spiritual Moderator: A Calling from God

From Vincentian Encyclopedia

SPIRITUAL MODERATOR: A Calling from God

Opening Reflection

An important point, and one to which you should carefully devote yourself, is to establish a close union between yourself and Our Lord in prayer. That is the reservoir in which you will receive the instructions you need to fulfill the duties on which you are now about to enter. When in doubt, have recourse to God and say to Him: “ O Lord, you who are the Father of light, teach me what I ought to do in this circumstance.”: Vincent de Paul Coste. Conferences to the CMs, Conference 153

ADVISORS ACCORDING TO THE MIND OF ST. VINCENT

St. Vincent believed in the laity and had great confidence in them but he demanded of them a response to their vocation of developing the charitable work of the Church. He showed his faith in the laity by founding various associations. He delegated to lay people responsibility for directing these associations and the rules that he drew up when founding the first confraternity clearly define the role of a good Advisor. “The confraternity should be composed of lay people and it should be autonomous with its own specific form of governing body elected by all the members.” (Cf. Rule for the Charities at Châtillon les Dombes, November/December 1617, V. 575-577). The members are to be responsible for organizing the works of the Confraternity as laid down in Chapter X, 571. “Those in charge will have complete responsibility for directing each confraternity.”

In the rule that was drawn up for Châtillon and for subsequent Charities, the advisors are presented as “animators.” Their responsibility is to maintain the original concept and spirit of a confraternity: these men and women Advisors are not to concern themselves with organizational matters or the carrying out of the various tasks because the confraternity is an autonomous body. The role that St. Vincent decided on for the advisors to the confraternities founded by him, was originally limited to that of being “animators” according to these confraternities.

Vincent de Paul, the model advisor for lay people, was a man who paid attention to the laity and was quite prepared to receive from them, not only enlightenment about the spirituality of the confraternity, but was also ready to be influenced by them on fundamental aspects of it.

It was lay people who first suggested to him the idea of making the first foundation and over the years his own spiritual outlook was enriched and influenced by the manner in which the ladies he directed lived their faith. St. Louise is an example of this and so, too, are the Daughters of Charity: the work that they developed for the poor contributed largely to St. Vincent’s integration of the corporal-material element into his ideas on the integral evangelization of the poor.Role and tasks of Advisors to AIC Groups and Associations

Reflection Questions

What points do I want to remember about my responsibilities as Spiritual Advisor?
Ask God for the grace to see your service to the Ladies of Charity through the eyes of the Spirit.
Ask God to accept your own powerlessness and limitations and allow God to act through you.


Closing Prayer: Pray the words of St. Vincent:

It is our vocation…to set people’s hearts ablaze, to do what the Son of God did, to set it aflame with his love. It is not enough for me to love God if my neighbor does not love him. I must love my neighbor as the image of God and the object of his love… I must act in such a way that people love their Creator and each other in mutual charity for the love of God who loved them so much that he delivered up his own Son to death for them. Amen.

Notes Prayer Texts

Lk 5: 1-11 – The Call of Peter
2 Cor 12:1-10 – When I am powerless, then I am strong
Gen 22: 1-19 – Abraham and Isaac
Jer 1:4-10 - Call of Jeremiah
Charity is a fire that acts ceaselessly, Vincent XI