My spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Lk 1, 47)
When bad things beyond our control happen to us, or we feel threatened, we tend to lock ourselves up and look out for our own interests. We do as the snails in a conference of St. Vincent de Paul to the missionaries (Coste XII, 92-93). Besides digging in, we sometimes mount a counter-offensive, like roaring lions with wide open jaws.
But Jesus does not want those of the little company to behave in such a way, even when persecuted. He does not like either that stewards, insecure and bent on maintaining order and discipline to protect better the community against threats, lord it, like disappointed people turned cynical, over those under their care (1 Pt 5, 3). The Master only allows the introversion that is required by attentiveness to his word, by repentance and prayer, indispensable for those to whom much is entrusted and from whom much will be demanded.
The faithful and diligent disciples are busy with seeking God’s kingdom—though they should neither worry nor fear anything, for their Father guarantees it to them, in accordance with the promise, “Seek and you will find.” The great harvest needs laborers, “but laborers who work,” says St. Vincent (Coste XI, 41). The fearful who are locked up in a house are not laborers; the Risen One will tell them to go out and will breathe on them.
So then, enlivened by the Holy Spirit and encouraged by the sure knowledge of the oaths in which we put our trust, we followers of Jesus shall become, with “the maternal womb of mercy,” part of the world of the “wounded” and the poor (Pope Francis). We will distribute from what we have and lack, sharing both blessings and dangers, joyful and with songs on our lips. With unbreakable faith, we will trust in God who places his kingdom within our reach and is doing something new that is perceivable, for it is already springing forth (Is. 43, 19).
The same God never allows us to be overwhelmed by hardships; he is by our side and never abandons us (Pope Francis). That is why we will never lose hope even if we go through something like or worse than the train tragedy in the vicinity of Santiago de Compostela. The one who creates out of nothing, raises the dead and makes a mother of a barren wife or a virgin, can lift us out of all straits, which we, like St. Vincent, shall consider as a wonderful news and an opportunity to praise God and to show our trust in him (Abelly 3, III, 13).
Nor will we be dispirited, despite our “inadequacy before the treasure that has been entrusted to us” (Pope Francis). The mistrust of ourselves that arises out of the truth—already expressed in a well-known prayer of Archbishop Oscar Romero— “that it is not for us to build the Kingdom of God, but it is always the grace of God working within us,” this mistrust, yes, serves as the basis of our trust in God, which is at once Franciscan, Ignatian and Vincentian (Coste III, 132-133), or simply, Marian and Christian.
We will continue working, then, relying wholly on God’s grace and with this happy conviction: in the Eucharist is anticipated the return of the Lord, the server, not the served, who will give us a pleasant surprise at the eschatological banquet, when he girds himself, has us recline at table, and waits on us.
Ross Reyes Dizon