Vincentian Lifestyle – The Gaze of God – Vincentians Planted by God – Vincentian Journey of Holiness
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast – Tuesday March 8, 2016
Vincentian Lifestyle – Vincentian spirituality is embedded in a lifestyle of giving and love. It is an imitation of Jesus. First of all we are in a family and we have a very special structure which puts prayer and service first. Our works, our religious expressions, home visits and service are directed by God. We are called by Him to the Vincentian lifestyle. St. Vincent is indeed our role model. His teachings are not outdated. We like, Vincent have to question: Who is Jesus? How do I follow Him? These are good reflections. Do you see a lifestyle change? I see in you a true calling and of course we all need to learn. Most importantly we have to pray and reflect on Scripture. Oh, it is very true we are called and we answered the call. So we also know God is not going to abandon the call of the Son. He will help us change our thoughts and give us the tools to serve in a Vincentian lifestyle. God truly leads to the world of the poor and when we get there, He is waiting for us. Christ calls the poor to us. The Spirit works with us and guides us to this Vincentian lifestyle and the charisms given to us to serve those in poverty. Giving charity is more than delivering food and doing good works. Rather it is an encounter with a new friend that needs our help. We need to know them, their names, their dreams and their passions. We must listen to their stories. We give them our time and we place ourselves among them. We need the Trinity to let us live the Vincentian Charisms which bring us to the Vincentian lifestyle.
The Gaze of God – What is it about a face? When we meet someone, we study that person’s face. The face gives away the soul. We can read so much in a person’s facial expression. So much of the texture of what they are thinking, feeling, and experiencing can be sensed in the face. When we want to be honest and direct, we look someone in the face. When we resolve to meet a difficult situation, we face up to it. On other hand, standing before the face of another can be threatening and shaming, but also sometimes enlivening. In the book of Numbers, the Lord instructs Moses how he wants the priests to bless the people: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: this is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord blesses you and keeps you! The Lord lets his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord looks upon you kindly and gives you peace” (Numbers 6:23-26). This is all about the face of Yahweh. We often speak about man’s search for God. But the thrust here is in a different direction. It is much more interested in God’s quest for us. God looks upon us with love and searches us out when we run from him. Vincentians are called to be the gaze of God, especially in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Make a point of getting to know those we serve and look upon them with the love of God.
Vincentians Planted by God – No person is an evil person. Evil-doers are children of God living in ignorance of their true identity. God called us and planted us to bear fruit. We must fertilize and nurture ourselves so fruit will grow in others. We are called every day by name. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us produce good fruit. He places the fruit in me. Our Lord Jesus shows us the way. We have to prune ourselves sometimes and make sure we are using the right fertilizer for those we serve. In Luke’s Gospel Jesus wants us to understand we are all sinners and even the person we label as the greater sinner is open to be saved. We all have to ask for repentance. We cannot hate the sinner, but we can try to show the way to growing better fruit in our service with love and mercy. Jesus calls us to do everything possible. Do not destroy the tree until we have tried everything. It also loves others when everything has been tried and the sinner must reap what is sown. We sometimes keep helping and we then notice we are enabling the person we are to save. Sometimes we need to trim the tree or cut it down for a mulch to fertilize for a new beginning. We never abandon, because not only do we want those we serve to bear fruit, God does as well and will help us. He does not want to lose anyone and He has called us to serve and planted us to help others bear fruit. What steps can be taken to fertilize the lives of the problematic people we serve while continuing to help? How do you know when it’s time to continue trying and when it’s time to quit and chop a tree down? While still staying to nurture the new growth. We do not quit, this is where Collaboration and Systemic Change comes into play. Learn about these though Famvin.org in more than one language.
Vincentian Journey of Holiness – God has made his commands known to us. He speaks to us in the scriptures and, in the Catholic tradition of Christianity, through the teachings of the Church Magisterium, which are carefully based on the scriptures to explain how to apply the scriptures to modern situations. We have much help on our journey to holiness. We must pray always and live the Gospels. Scripture teaches how to love others and how to forgive others. We also have this year of Mercy. I encourage you to not only memorize the works of mercy, but live them. Everybody can read the words in the Bible, but only some discover the Word of God and the meaning of that Word. And only the Spirit enables us to discover that in the Scriptures, God is speaking to us, and to discover what it is that God is saying to us in Scripture. This is our journey to holiness. God’s mercy flows into us so we can allow it to flow to others. We cannot ignore the calling to be a disciple and servant to the poor. This is our call to holiness. Holiness does not mean we are better than others as in “Holier than thou!” True holiness is not putting us first. God is always first and the Trinity is our guide to Holiness when we read Scripture and Pray. Just as giving, forgiveness is necessary for receiving forgiveness. Journeying in Holiness is a journey to forgiving others. We are still sinners, but in our call to holiness and sainthood, we are the sinners who keep on trying to God’s will in our journey to Holiness.