God is our Helper – Blood is Life – How Do We Forgive? – Courage
Vincentian Day of Fast and Prayer – Tuesday June 9, 2015 (Final)
Dear Vincentians: The Body and Blood of Jesus help to carry us through our work for those in need. It truly helps us to see Jesus in each person we visit. Remember to bring Corpus Christi with us and serve with the love and joy each person we encounter. Pray for peace. Pray for Nepal and donate if you can. Pray for all those suffering from natural disasters and always pray for our Vincentian Family, Priests, Deacons, Religious, seminarians, and all contemplating religious life or Vincentian Life. Lord Jesus may your image be always printed in my heart so that I may give you what is fair: all my life. Amen.
God is our Helper – We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting the Lord wants to help us. We should never be afraid to admit we are weak and cannot always do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: “On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:5).
The Lord has given us the ability to reason. We are smart and are able to use our reasoning skills to arrive at logical decisions. We are smart and are able to use our reasoning skills to arrive at logical decisions. As long as our conclusions don’t conflict with any of the Lord’s teachings, He absolutely expects us to use our intelligence. Here is an often overlooked piece of advice: When trying to determine what God wants us to do, we should seek Him out and remain close to Him, listening to Him in silence for His directions. Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? If we are concerned about following the Lord’s will, having a close relationship with Him makes the process much simpler. This is why we pray before and after a home visit. If it is a first time visit, we really do not know what we face behind the door. With prayer and confidence of God, our helper, we have success together. Always call on our helper. We have 3 helpers, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and they never let us down, if we listen.
Blood is Life – Blood becomes a sign of life, instead of death, in Jesus. The body and blood of Christ is a very wonderful gift for us. However in the world and in almost every culture violence and the blood it brings are glorified. Tradition shows us a history of blood, sacrifice of animals and sometimes humans. In almost every culture in the world, violence is glorified. We tend to forget to live up to the moral standard written on our hearts and the consequences for sin. Scripture shows us a history that changes our symbolic understanding of blood. Jesus takes on the sin of the world and willingly dies – not to appease an angry God once and for all – but to bear witness to the victory of life over death. Blood becomes a sign of the life God intends for us all. When we eat Christ’s Body and drink His Blood, we reject blood offerings and choose to receive God’s mercy; our lives become an offering of grace, and our blood a sign of His abundant life poured out for us all.
How Do We Forgive? – First we pray for forgiveness for ourselves and of others. What do we say? Pray from the heart. Heavenly Father, I ask forgiveness of anyone I have wronged during my lifetime. I sincerely regret any harm I may have caused. Likewise, I am willing to forgive anyone who has wronged me. When my time comes to journey home, open your arms to me and accept me into your heavenly kingdom, where I will be united with all the loved ones who have gone before me, and I will rejoice forever in your saving presence. Amen. We try to always forgive others and we must let others know we forgive them. I teach my grandchildren when the have a fight with one other and they say, “Sorry!” And the response is, “That’s okay!” they need to say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” And the answer would be, “I forgive you.” It truly is more meaning full than sorry. Sorry does have its place, but not when we hurt someone.
Courage – God is a trinity of helpers, healers, strengtheners, and faith-builders. He wants you to benefit from all that He is. He wants to give all of Himself to us. It is one life on earth, whether we spend it in laughing, crying or worrying; we still have to live, love, pray and laugh and most of all BELIEVE. Our God is here, always! Touch can be an act of kindness when someone is dying. If you visit a sick person and find that you are at a loss for words, reach out and touch their hand. It will convey your care and can have a calming effect. It says to the person, “You are appreciated, you are cherished, and you are not alone.” The same thing happens when we visit a person or family in devastating dire need. The touch of love as you serve Jesus who is in them is greater than the basket you bring. They need to feel loved in their poverty and especially if they are refugees or immigrants. The courage to be present comes from God. The Holy Spirit’s gift of courage is for everyone. Pope Francis recently said that we should not be afraid to love or to be tender in our work with others. Let this be our guide in the very important and sensitive task of caring for someone who is in need. You and I have been given the same Spirit.