Good Shepherd – Harden Not Your Hearts -Jesus Knocking at Our Door
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast – Tuesday October 21, 2014
Dear Vincentian Family: Wow look at the date! I love the fall and generally in my city it is short and we get snow, so the colours are very limited. However, this year it is sunny and warm and instead of snow, as I write this we had a lovely rain shower. The birds were bathing in my bird bath and God as usual was everywhere. These are some of the many miracles we see each day. Pray for your family, those we serve, clergy, Pope Francis, seminarians and our youth. Lord help us to recognize the goodness of our youth. Amen!
Good Shepherd – My favorite image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. We use this in RCIA a good deal and it is a great graphic to reflect on. When you are feeling down see how Jesus takes His lambs into His arms to comfort them. I envision myself in the arms of Jesus and every hurt or misunderstanding leaves me. Know the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His flock. We need to take care of those He trusts to us and give all the love we can for the lost lambs and their families. Be a Good Shepherd to those we serve and look for the good and positive image of them in the arms of Jesus and fix what is broken, with His help. We need Him to fix our brokenness, too. He is the Good Shepherd of all who call on Him.
Harden Not Your Hearts – I received a story this week from Fr. Brendan McGuire’s of Holy Spirit Parish in San Jose, California. I paraphrase with Fr. Brendan’s permission. He was visiting Portland and stayed in a downtown hotel. He decided to go for a walk to get some water. After making his purchase, including extras, he started walking back to the hotel when he saw an amazing dog. He stopped to pet the dog. There was a young man sitting on the street with this dog and Fr. Started a conversation. “What’s your dog’s name? “Spooky” was the reply. “Why Spooky?” Fr. Asked. “Because the streets are Spooky”, came the matter of fact reply. He continued to speak with the young man, Michael, who was 25, who turned to the streets 6 years ago after losing his mother and subsequently being abused by his father. He lived with his grandparents and when they died he went to the streets. Fr. Brenda asked him what he could do for him. Michael answered, “Get me a job”. Fr. Brenda told him he lived in California and if he came there he was sure he could get him a job. Fr. continued by asking him what he could do right now. He said you have done it. You talked to me. Fr. then pressed on and Michael said he was hungry and could get a meal down the street for $5.00. Fr. asked him if he was on drugs or alcohol, to which he said no, and then proceeded to give him enough money to buy several meals. Michael asked for Father’s phone number, so he could call him to talk sometime. Father Brendan says upon going to his room, he could not sleep and he paced. He prayed for his hardened heart. He realized, he would never have talked to the boy if it hadn’t been for the dog. Sometimes all we can do is pray, but we must always harden not our hearts. Thanks Fr. Brendan for this message.
Knocking at My Door – Jesus is holding a lantern and calling me. He has no door handle. Nothing can hold Jesus back except this door. It is an invitation to us to open the door. We are free to open the door or say, “Go away.” We are never forced to love and follow Christ. One of my dear friends had cancer; she was terminal and prayed always. She knew she had to make amends to her family before could die. She had the most beautiful voice and would sing, “Ave Marie” each day in the hospital. She was a comfort to many. One day her family was there and forgiveness was shared all around. She said to her mom, “I see Uncle Bob.” Her mother comforted her and she sang; suddenly she stopped and yelled Jesus is at the door let Him in!” Her mother with her arm around her daughter said, “Only you can open the door!” She sat bolt upright and smiled reaching her hand to Jesus. She closed her eyes and died at the age of 27. She was so at peace. Our Lord removed her from her pain. This image of course makes me think of her, but never death. It makes me think of peace, the kind Jesus gives when you let Him in. We need to open the door.
Lynn L’Heureux is Special needs co-coordinator & Advisor of the Society of St Vincent de Paul Calgary Alberta Canada.
Her newsletter is translated into 3 languages, hopefully soon to be 4. They have a group which brings the prayer into China and it is translated into Mandarin and other Chinese dialects.