Bro. Mike Sheerin, FMS, Campus Minister, St. John’s University, writes:
“Allow yourself to be led by the Lord. He will direct all things through you. Trust him and following his example, always act humbly, gently, and in good faith.” St. Vincent DePaul.
St. Vincent was a man of action and a man of prayer. As Vincentians, these two themes are not mutually exclusive and in fact, go hand in hand. In order to have moved in the solid direction he did, from Vincent’s life, we understand that he found time and space to slow down, reflect and listen. Today, working in a Vincentian institution and encountering many “Vincentians,” these same energies are alive and well as prayer and action are central to the DNA of Vincentian institutions.
Universities are active places. Life here is filled, even overflowing with busyness. Vincent’s life was also a busy one as evidenced by the groups he influenced and the Vincentian movement he founded and fueled. In life today as in Vincent’s time, the need as well as the desire to reflect on one’s decisions and actions never disappears, although we might muffle their murmurings and not be able to respond in the moment. But, why would that murmuring ever disappear? It is ever present and waits for a response. As Vincentians, we are equally blessed in that we have other like-minded people to share time and space with here. It isn’t hard to find them either. This informal networking is a tremendous source of encouragement and support. A hallmark of Vincent De Paul was his ability to collaborate with others and in so doing creatively moved his projects forward.
In our time, I have found such support in a number of ways. Occasionally mentioning that I attend daily Mass on campus to another, or that I read an thought-provoking article on line, or planned on participating in a Midnight Run, or lunchtime lecture offered by the university, are sometimes the impetus another could use to help give ear to those spiritual murmurings inside. We never know how the Lord will use our experiences to move another who may not even realize it in the moment. The reverse is true as well. As we listen to others, we might sense the inspiration to take a little step in a needed direction.
Yes, Vincent was a man of action and his first action was to pray. He prayed and responded well. We sit here today reading this I AM VINCENT blog because of what he did and who he was almost 400 years ago. He can still teach us today. Are we listening? Are we really any different?
Bro. Mike Sheerin, FMS, Campus Minister, St. John’s University. For me, to be a Brother means being a mentor, counselor, friend, and guide to the people who seek my help. By doing so, I have come to know better the God who called my name early on. I feel quite privileged and believe I am in sacred territory whenever a young person chooses me to share his experiences, feelings or burdens. I try to bring this understanding to all of my work, and by doing so I realize more fully the significance of being teacher, counselor or mentor.