Silence – Celebrate the Good – Love & Encourage – Darkness & Light
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast Tuesday January 27, 2015
Dear Vincentian Family: This past weekend I attended a silent retreat. It gave me a good deal of time to pray and reflect. I truly felt I was in God’s presence and had the best time with Him. Why pray and fast on Tuesday? It was a challenge to me as a Vincentian to do more than serve in SSVP and feel good about doing it. Through our prayer and fast, we strive to be disciples of Jesus. As we approach those friends and neighbours He places before us, we are serving Him and we imitate Him in our service. We are in the Vincentian family not as an accident, we are chosen. We are working to become Saints and we need prayer to accomplish this. We fast not so much with what goes into our mouth as from what comes out, such as gossip, criticism and harsh judgement. We are God’s Chosen. We are called, to evangelize those in need through our service and love. We go to them to bring them hope and help them to re-discover their joy. We cannot be successful without prayer and fasting and images of those before us. St. Vincent says of the Hand of God: “Always, the hand of God is outstretched for those who wish to clasp it.” When we look at our friends and neighbours in need and see God, we take His hand in prayer and serve Him. This is His will. Amen
Silence – Silence is a true gift. Listening in the silence is the greatest gift. It is different for everyone. I firmly believe if you can spend time in pure silence you can be one with God. This is when you hear your heart. How often do we take the time to listen to our heart? Silence gives freedom and peace inside and allows us to let the burdens go. You actually hear God’s voice loud and clear. The message within us is very important. It gives us the ability to believe and see God. We do have a perfect self that we often push aside. Taking in the silence you get to see your perfection and what God has in store for you. Our vision becomes very clear. My question and focus was: What am I doing in SSVP? Why am I here? I found those answers and more. I looked for and found my light, but more importantly, I found, recognized and appreciating the light in all of my Vincentian family (even those, I disagree with)! Look for the light in others and yourself.
Celebrate the Good – All of us are good, unique and beautiful creations of God, even on our worst day. Do you believe it? We must believe it as we have a great purpose to share and make the world a better place. It becomes easier when we look for the good. These last few weeks amidst the bad in the news and threats, violence and terrorism it seems there is not so much good. More violence and death has happened in Canada and my own city and province than I can remember. Tony and I have now taken to looking at the news and focusing on the good. It is not always easy, but I think we succeed. This month, the anniversary celebrations of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks and Desmond Tutu, to name a few were the good news stories. Our theme for the retreat was the Beatitudes. Many of you know this is my favorite. I like to refer to them as “Be Attitudes”. These are a beautiful gift from Jesus to show what our life should be like. The beatitudes refer to our life style. They are the model from Jesus in His sermon on the Mont for us to embrace and live by.
Love and Encourage – We are called to encourage others. It leads them away from sin. In our encouragement especially in the young or others who have lost their way, we can give them hope and a new direction. This is a gift we have been given. Each time we encourage and give hope our love is also given. We should encourage others each day. When we do home visits, we encourage by listening closely to the story. We take the time to feel the pain in the hearts of those we serve. We try to do it without judging. If we show we care, we encourage. We cannot solve all things, however we can journey with others giving encouragement along the way. We pray before our visit and after our visit and it’s in God’s hands to heal. We are there to serve and encourage and offer those in need the love of our Lord. This is Vincentian friendship and those we serve are friends and part of our Vincentian family. We also need encouragement and what goes around comes around. Remember to encourage others in the Vincentian Family.
Darkness and Light –Each one of us has darkness and light. We want the light to show more than the darkness. Sometimes we are afraid to speak our minds. We hide in the darkness. We hover in the shadows. When we sense darkness, turn around and let the light shine. Guilt is not a gift we want to give. Let others see your light. Face the light in your life. Keep the anger at bay. Approach others when you want to share an idea. Always come forward and let go of the hurt in you. My solution is to cuddle. We all need hugs and smiles.
Pope Francis has Dedicated 2015 to consecrated life. Religious are to be respected for their charisms, Pope Francis reflected, and not seen merely as “helpers” when a local Church is in need of priests. Please pray for all priests, deacons, bishops and Pope Francis. Remember every religious dedicating themselves to our Lord and pray for all who are contemplating giving themselves to consecrated life.
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.