Good Shepherd – Why Pray? – Always with Christ – Sit in the Garden
Vincentian Day of Fast and Prayer – Tuesday March 31, 2015
Dear Vincentian Family: We are now into Holy Week. Prepare yourself well and feel the goodness it brings. This is the most renewing week of the year. We get to Venerate the cross and feel the awesomeness of the Risen Christ, and the Alleluia and the Gloria return. You are in my prayers. Continue praying for those who are suffering through war, anger and natural disasters. Amen. Alleluia
Good Shepherd – Our personal relationship with Jesus falls under this beautiful title. The picture of Him holding the lamb to rescue him is our calling as Vincentians. We are called to tend the flock. It is the personal voice of Jesus calling us. His voice is the voice of our Shepherd, and our King. His is the voice that is supposed to gather all the sheep: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must lead them too and they shall hear my voice. There shall be one flock, one shepherd.” There is only one name by which people are to be saved – the name of Jesus. He is calling us to tend to the sheep He places before us. A good shepherd who is really attentive to his sheep knows the distinctive voices of his charges. Just as a mother knows the voices of her children, so the shepherd can recognize the call of his sheep. They know the shepherd is the key to their flourishing. Listen to the voice of your sheep and serve Christ well. We know He is in those we serve.
Why Pray? – People ask me why I harp on prayer. I started to reflect and decided I only harp on my family, both the human and the Vincentian. I just happen to believe in order to belong in a family we will only succeed with prayer and it is even more important in the Vincentian family because we need so much support. One of the most disastrous things you’ll ever do is pay attention to the wrong person and takes their advice. We turn to God to put us on track. He loves us, will never set us astray and He is three persons in one and they all love us more than anyone we know on earth. When my children and grandchildren were small, I used to lay my hands on their heads and pray. Recently my 18 year old granddaughter was going through a tough time and she asked me to lay my hands on her head. The week before she informed me I was not to ask her if she was praying as she believed she was in a good place and didn’t need prayer. I never stopped or never will stop praying for her. The same goes with those Our Lord places before us. I continue to pray for those I’ve served, even the ones I have not seen in years. I pray because I care and believe!
Always with Christ – Christ knew that one of the saddest things we have to live with on this earth is our loneliness, our sense of expulsion and exile. He knows when you really love someone, you want to devour them, to become one with them, and you can’t do that with another human being. So He did it in the Eucharist. Each time we receive the Eucharist we receive Christ. Each time we visit the Blessed Sacrament, we are with Him. He never leaves us. Sit with Him, receive the Eucharist often and know He is always there. We are with Him always. Jesus says, “No one pours new wine into old wine skins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins and both wine and skins will be lost.” The new wine is good news, the Gospel, the Incarnation, the body of God. It is wine because it is intoxicating; it is new because no one had imagined it possible. The receptacle for this wine is us as we receive the Eucharist, we become new wine skins. We become the temple and Christ is always with us.
Sit in the Garden – Join Jesus in the Garden during Holy Week to prepare your hearts. Bring it all to the Garden and seek forgiveness always. He wants to listen to us, like a mother who can hear the cry of her child amidst any noise. He hears us and calls us to sit with Him. Do not block out His voice. Jesus hears us when we call out to Him…. Come to Him during this Holy week and acknowledge our sins. We can spend time to reflect on the “Seven Deadly Sins”. We hear about these and generally dismiss them. Now is a good time to pray and prepare to confess. Everything is forgiven. Pride: practice humility always and stay close to God in what He calls us to do. Envy: Instead of being envious make an effort to praise the goodness in others. Anger: When you lose your temper, ask for forgiveness and take steps to make things better, even if you were not at fault. You always feel better when you forgive. Sloth: refers to laziness or apathy especially for neglecting God’s call to serve with many excuses. We replace sloth with Zeal and pray God will reveal His mission for us and do it well. Avarice: an extreme greed for riches and covetousness. Practice generosity, especially with those we serve. Bring a gift of something you hold dear. Gluttony: Stay away from wanting everything and offer your desires for a greater good. Lust: pray for those who have had abortions or are considering abortions. Teach chastity to your kids. Know the honour of purity and holiness in yourself and others.
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.