Do we Betray Others? – Do People Care? – Vincentians, Friends of Jesus – Vincentian Spirituality
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast – Tuesday, March 22
Do we Betray Others? – This has been on my mind since Palm Sunday when I watched The Passion, a musical performed live from New Orleans. It was amazing and beautifully done as if in modern times. It really made me think about being a Vincentian and doing the best I can. I really felt like I could put myself in Peter’s place and even in the place of the crowd turning on Jesus. I certainly went into prayer and I even called one of the immigrants I serve just to tell her she is loved and I haven’t forgotten her. I took the time to look into the mirror and tell Jesus how sorry I was for not always doing His will. I kept saying I love you and I then saw the face of Jesus in mine and I knew Jesus never stops loving. Sometimes our examination of conscience has to be a call to Jesus in the mirror. I guess it is not for everyone, but it does work. I know Jesus is with me always, but I do question myself. Jesus is always there and the message I got was to love and serve His poor, forgive others and do not judge. Sometimes the load is a burden, but when we think of Christ’s Passion we know our journey cannot ever compare to His. He literally gave His life for the world. I am humbled and whisper, “Did I betray you Jesus?” Forgive me. Look into your heart before your next visit and see the Risen Christ. Happy Easter and joy to you and your service to others!
Do People Care? – I know we as Vincentians care, but others seem to want to put the poor on an island or somewhere they don’t have to see them. There are many prejudices against people who have struggled beyond our imagination. What happened to the issue of poverty? I can remember going to many workshops with others around the city trying to house the homeless and end poverty. In Canada all parties of the government voted unanimously to end child poverty in 10 years. I sat on one of their committees and nothing happened. “Poverty “summits” and simulations were all the rage in Washington D.C. and locally, with government, non-profits, faith-based organizations and activists gathering to explore how we can end poverty once and for all in America. Now though, we look around and everyone has left the party. Pundits moved on to new sound bites. Candidates chased doors and votes in other higher-scoring conversation poll areas. Activists went to other causes of the day. Even other Catholic groups seem a bit less interested, moving to other important topics such as immigration, climate change and religious freedom. Yet the Poor, as we learned in the Bible, are always with us.” (Taken from article in Famvin http://famvin.org/en/2016/03/22/what-happened-to-the-issue-of-poverty/). We need to rally and do more for those in poverty.
Vincentians, Friends of Jesus – Jesus is our true friend. We need to reflect on our calling to discipleship and service to those in poverty. It is a good idea to regularly reflect in silence to embrace the wonderful qualities of Jesus. His power is great and He never stops loving us. He is easy to reach and talk to. He loves us so much; He gave His life for us. We have to remember although He is always with us; we cannot take Him or the saints for granted. We need them in our work and talking to them through prayer can only be good. Call on Saint Vincent, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, Blessed Rosalie Rendu, and St. Louise de Marillac daily and share the needs of those you are serving. Our work requires constant prayer and advice from above. In our relationship with the Lord, we sometimes think it’s not necessary to express our love for Him. After all, He knows everything, so why bother? Even though He is all-knowing, He enjoys hearing the words “I love you.” I know we also like to hear those 3 precious words. Getting into the habit of saying those words will draw us closer to Him. Do not forget the sacredness of silence. This is a time to listen to our friend. Listening is an important part of being a friend. We always need to listen.
Vincentian Spirituality – We hear this said and taught in workshops. It has always been a commitment with our Vincentian Family and those we serve. The problems of the world are our problems. All the sufferings and weaknesses of our brothers and sisters are not foreign to us. Vincentian Spirituality is seeing Christ in each one. Perhaps we do not have all the answers to their problems. Nevertheless, we stand together with them, shoulder to shoulder, and with all those who journey through this world we question the present reality of the world. Here, the task is to be more human. Christ enables us to be charitable. It’s a good idea to reflect regularly on the wonderful qualities of Our Lord—His great power, unconditional love, approachability, and so on. Let’s not take the Lord of the universe, our Redeemer and Savior, for granted! The goal of Christian spirituality is love. When speaking about Vincentian spirituality, love is more specific, since it refers to the communication of mercy and solidarity to those persons who are excluded from society. We are in the world as people who are bearers of the gospel message. To evangelize is not only to catechize and celebrate the sacraments. Rather evangelization is liberation from every evil that oppresses humankind … it is to create a new relationship with God the Father and with our brothers and sisters. The Good News of the gospel is not good news because I say so, but rather because men and women experience a transformation in their evil situation. Evangelization does not begin with pious words or the recitation of verses from the Bible, but rather evangelization begins with a response to the bad news that people endure in their flesh and bone: hunger, unemployment, conflict, violence, lack of meaning in their life, poverty. Be the Gospel in your service, you won’t need words. Show them your love.