Always Be Ready – God is Merciful – Doors of Faith – Mystery of Love
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast – Tuesday February 23, 2016
Always Be Ready – Lent is a good time to remember to always be ready. Look inside and know what needs improving. Do a Lenten cleanup of the junk and turn it into good things. Let love be your theme and treat others as you want to be treated. Forgive and pray for the enemy. It will make your world a better place. When you are serving those in need, don’t look at what is wrong with them in judgement. Look at them as if you are seeing Jesus who gave His life for us and pray to determine how you can lift this friend in need from poverty. Always be ready to show love, mercy and joy. Give this person a great day. Sit and listen to their story. Let them know you are not there to judge. Ask them how you can help them. Be ready to make a difference and collaborate with other agencies in your area. This is a good challenge for all of us and the first step in ending poverty. We end poverty one person at a time or one family at a time. Be ready to journey with the change you are suggesting and pray always. Take the Holy Spirit with you to ensure you are always ready.
God is Merciful – Despite our many sins and failures, God remains committed to us, looking at us patiently and mercifully in the face of our faults. He loves us even when we do things that hurt our relationship with Him. He loves those we serve in the same manner. He never stops loving us. We could never do anything to make Him love us less. This thought should keep us going even when we mess up. His love is eternal. He is not a fly- by -night. The virtues remind us of the higher moral standard we are called to follow. God’s Mercy and love should inspire us to give more of ourselves in the pursuit of virtue and live more like Christ, rather than living a life of indulgence. When we pray to our merciful God we must make the prayer true and honest. True prayer involves giving God our love and our trust completely. Then in turn He will be with us every step of the way. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus is assuring us that we can rely on our Father who is in heaven; we can ask for His help and it will be given to us. To convince us of this, He reminds us of the good that we do for our children. Certainly, our Father loves us like that and even more! Of course He won’t give us anything as useless as a stone when we’ve asked for something good (the loaf of bread).When we are in our best form of prayer, we can say, “Hey Dad. Please give me what I need to be better and to serve you better.” Believe God is already working on a good plan for you in His most merciful way and it will be good. He’s got our backs, our God of Mercy.
Doors of Faith – Enter the doors of faith for you and for those we serve. This year we celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy. We have Jubilee Doors. Have you gone through the Jubilee door? If not, find one in your area and do a pilgrimage with your Vincentian family. God is mercy and we are called to be servants, so in this year we are servants to show mercy to others. Jubilee year and the doors of Faith are about prayer, forgiveness and all the works of Mercy. When I was young we had to memorize the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Try to keep this in your heart and mind on every home visit and every decision made on our service to those in need. Some of us are in bad economic times and we are hurting. In Calgary our numbers are up and our donations are down. So we truly have to open our doors of Faith to all in need, even when we are hurting ourselves. Keep God up front and know He is a God of Mercy. We are also encouraged to have a Vincentian Retreat. My conference had a silent one early in January and we had an opportunity to go through the Jubilee Door and pray at each station. It was great! We also had a wonderful Parish Retreat on the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Nothing makes you feel alive and so much better than hearing these words and knowing God loves us all. Take a chance and journey through the doors of Faith.
Mystery of Love – Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling…. –C.S. Lewis Striving side by side toward the good life and encouraging one another in the virtues, true friends are primarily concerned not with what they get out of the friendship but with what is best for the friend and with pursuing the virtuous life with that friend. Being together with family and loving every moment. Sharing a hug and words of encouragement when things are wrong is love. The greatest love story is Jesus giving His life for us. It is also our calling as Vincentians to be His disciples and servants of the poor. Sometimes we don’t like what we see, but as disciples we serve in love. This love is a true mystery as we sometimes receive criticism from friends or acquaintances for serving those drunks or low life bums or addicts. I never see those qualities in those I serve. I see a person happy because they felt my love. By the end of the visit, I feel and see their love. This is a great mystery from God. It is heavenly love. This is why we are called to know the mystery of love – true love.