Lynn L’Heureux reflects on listening to the sounds of silence in Advent and its calls.
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast – Tuesday December 3, 2013
Are you called? – Silence is Golden – The Creed – Advent
Dear Vincentian Family: By the time you receive this, I will be home, however I had to write the prayer early for translation to get to me. I pray in Thanksgiving for our translators who give lovingly of their time and talent. God, pour your blessings today on Jess and Magdalena for their work. We are well into Advent and we wait in great hope and joy for the coming of Christ. We plan each day for our great celebration and we pray we bring Christ to each of our family members and that we share Him with others. Pray for each of us to prepare for and celebrate the joy of Christ. You are in my prayers.
Are You Called? I have this question in many workshops and writings for the SSVP. We must feel the calling. What we do is special because we take it to the next step. We visit in the homes, on their turf; we see and celebrate their families’ accomplishments, joys and sorrows. We volunteer our time, but we are more than volunteers. We are called. Yes, we are called to serve Christ in each prisoner, addict, dirty, lonely, homeless, single parent and bad decision makers. We pray for them before we enter the house, prison, shelter, hospital or treatment center. We serve Jesus, the broken Jesus and we do so with love. This is a calling. It is more than bringing food and paying rent. Many times it becomes a journey of love and we are called to the journey to serve Christ.
Silence is Golden – We have heard this said in different situations. Silence is also very difficult to obtain. We want to retreat in silence to pray. It is not that we don’t want to pray, however we also want to be part of what is going on and we are afraid to miss things. Silence is so foreign to us. Sitting before the Blessed Sacrament with our Lord where the loudest sound is your heart beat and swallowing can be so uplifting. I would think even 15 minutes is better than an hour’s session with the most expensive therapist. In this silence you hear like thunder with no sound the roaring love of God. This is such a boost to our faith which tends to come and go at times. I once wrote an article on the sounds of silence at a three day retreat. The communication was thunderous, without a single voice. Celery was very loud, and even soup spoke to us, but most of all Our Lord spoke and you could see it on every face in the silence.
The Creed – The Apostles Creed is basically the foundation and belief system of our Catholic Christian Faith. For me what really gets my attention is “life everlasting”. It seemed to take me a long time to get it, but if we believe, we live forever. This is what comforted me as a child when my pet died and what comforts me today when my family or close friends die. They are living forever with God. Wow! In the Old Testament we don’t read anything about life everlasting. God revealed this to us a little later. Although the Jewish people believed in life everlasting it was more as a people not individually. After 200 BC life everlasting became more personal, but none as personal as the resurrection of the dead with Jesus. As Christians we believe we bear the image and likeness of God. We are so loved by God and we try to give back the love in serving others. We use our gifts for goodness and God, this is our thank you to Him for loving us so much. I believe in God, creator of heaven and earth and the Holy Spirit and Jesus the Son. Three in one – God! St. Paul questions, what can separate us from God’s love?
Advent is the coming. We wait in hope. We need hope and we bring it to those we serve. As long as you have hope, anything can happen and often does. As we wait, we think about our giving to those in need. Father Ron Rolheiser wrote, “Giving to the poor is good for our health!” We know we need to give, it is our calling and it is not necessarily because they need it, but because they deserve it and we need to do it for the love of God. There is nothing better than other people praying for you. It is interesting how you feel it. Like a gentle caress, a stroke of love, a feeling of goodness and a moment of great peace. Someone is praying and we need to pray for each other, not just in Advent, but always and we have to remember to pray for those in need by name, not necessarily by situation in a group prayer. In your private prayer name the person and ask God to be with them. It is the right thing to do and helps us with hope for Advent. Prepare the way of the Lord. Our Saviour is coming.
Lynn L’Heureux is Special needs co-coordinator & Advisor of the Society of St Vincent de Paul Calgary Alberta Canada
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Tags: Advent, Creed, L'Heureux, Silence