Vincentian Freedom to Serve – Vincentians Seek Our Lord – The Power of Touch – Lasting Joy
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast – Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Vincentian Freedom to Serve – Total Freedom lies in the ability to align one’s actions freely with the truth, so as to achieve authentic human happiness both now and in the life to come. Jesus promised, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31–32). “Blessed Guardians – be watchful. Help us to use well the grace of the moment in the care and instruction of the little ones under our charge. Watch over them with us.” – St. Vincent de Paul – Heavenly guardian angels, keep watch over our families and especially the children. Let no harm come to them or those committed to our care. We are aware we are called to serve. Jesus tells us to tend His sheep and we do. The Holy Spirit within us is giving us good discernment and has taught us how to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd. Our call is clear and our service is total freedom. We have the freedom to serve and lift those we serve to a better life. This is God’s gift to us. Use the freedom with care and love. You are a Vincentian and have the freedom to serve.
Vincentians Seek Our Lord – When we seek our Lord, we find He has always been with us. Reflect on this and you will see clearly the many times He has been with you and you haven’t even asked or prayed. God is always with us. Trust in Him, always. We must learn to see Him in ourselves, even on a bad day and in those we serve. When we visit in the prison, see Him struggling to come forward, but He has sent you and you have come to serve Him as you are led by our Lord. Vincentians care and seek God, in those with addictions, drugs, alcohol and others, in the lonely, the homeless, all in poverty and the sick. We seek Him in everyone in need who is placed before us and He is always with us. See the face of change in others during our visit. Remember the words of St. Vincent: “You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting masters you will see. And the uglier and the dirtier they will be the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.” I had a hard time with this, until I saw the results in my change of actions. We are servants and we serve and seek our Lord in all of His people in need.
The Power of Touch – We are more often than not to stay arm’s length and do not touch those we serve. I know we have to be cautions, but if you really care about someone and want them to help themselves a little, you need the power of touch. A hand on the shoulder or arm as they tell their story lets them know we are with them. The touch of someone who really cares is more profound than many words can say. We call those we serve “friends” in many areas and “neighbours” in others. We do touch our friends in time of need. I have given many hugs on occasion (only with permission). More often than not they hug me after a visit. I am okay with this. The best service we can give is to listen with total presence. They have a story and we have to let them know it is okay. Guide them in sharing and do not be afraid to touch as Jesus did. We must let them know we truly care. Everyone who ever touched Jesus or ever allowed Him to touch them has been both forgiven and healed. That is the reason for the Cross. Go before the cross as you pray before the home visit. The power of touch is Christ in us. Take the Trinity with you to every visit and let His power guide and lead you. The good news is: Jesus has overcome the darkness! We are an Easter people! Keep it always in your heart and use the power to serve in the best way you can for the good of Our Lord and the ability to lift Him out of poverty.
Lasting Joy – We can remain joyful if when recognize we are loved passionately by the Lord. We pray for our home visits to be filled with a joy that lasts and it comes from the love of God. We carry it with us on each visit. The Lord is our refuge. Joy that lasts comes from being able to snuggle in the love of the Lord. God leads us to prayer. Prayer is not something we do for God but rather is something that God does for us. In the dialogue with God, God makes us more sensitive to His presence and His movement in history. God questions us, strengthens us and points out the path of love and justice and freedom. God is always with us as we serve. Before our visit we must put Christ at the center of our vision. There are many ways to accomplish this. You choose the best way. It could be music that gives you joy and Spiritual video, reading Scripture or just sitting to have a heart to heart conversation. Put yourself in the zone. You will be glad you did. This is also why I call Tuesday a day of prayer and fast. Sometimes fasting is removing you from business and sitting with Christ in silence seeking joy a lasting joy. Tell our Lord you want Him to give you joy – a joy so complete you can share it with those you serve. Share with Him your concerns and do not be afraid to ask for lasting joy to spread to others.