Vincentian Day of Fast and Prayer – Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Vincentian Charism – Charism is a mystery. The meaning of the charism is revealed during the course of history and the Vincentian experience. No one — not even Saint Vincent — completely understands all the consequences that are involved in accepting the gift. Little by little the Holy Spirit guides us so that we might be able to live the charism in the midst of new situations. We are learning as we journey and we should never falter or judge. Vincentian Charism is not about judging. It is more about doing the will of God and listening to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit always allows new revelations, new ideas and new lifestyles that will ultimately enable people to live the charism. This is more than just saying, “I guess I should do something for the poor!” It is a true commitment to serve and part of the Charism is knowing we serve God in those who suffer in poverty. The charism that Jesus revealed to Vincent was that of service on behalf of the poor. That charism was and is a gift of the Holy Spirit … a gift to build up the Kingdom of God. Charisms are always related to the Kingdom. The evangelical element that the Vincentian charism highlights is that the Kingdom of God is for those who are poor. Charism is not an idea that was invented by Vincent de Paul but rather charism is a gift of God that Vincent discovered during his journey. Have you discovered yours? Live the Vincentian Charism to love and serve Christ in the poor.
Beatitude People – As Vincentians we do well to live the beatitudes. It truly helps in our service. I like to say, “Be Attitude” and you will serve well. When I say this, it is not, “I have attitude so what now?” It is be the attitude of Jesus. Love and serve with the sense of Beatitude. You will be blessed. Beatitude is the possession of all things held to be good. They are given to us by Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount. It is one of His most magnificent gifts and blessings. The opposite of Beatitude is misery. Misery is being afflicted with painful suffering. I think we would all prefer Beatitude to misery. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Poor in spirit means to be humble. Look at the Beatitudes, Matthew 5: 3-10. Examine each one and reflect to see how you can use them in our service. Each one has a message, reflect and ask Our Lord to show us the way. When I started with Be Attitude, I prayed on this a good deal. How will my attitude change so I can be a beatitude person? So we have to know how we really feel when we go to serve. I find it easy just to see Jesus and then there are no prejudices, just people in need and they need us. Our goal is to always be present. It is much better as well to have all things “good” rather than “misery.” Try it out on your family and then bring it to the people you serve. You will succeed with goodness of the Lord.
Vincentian Strength – First of all, know our strength comes from God. We must trust and believe. I spoke at a K of C group last night and their comments truly made me reflect on our work. Many of the comments were on our strength in service. I am pretty much full time in a wheel chair and I truly pondered on their statements. We do have strength and we all have a story of our strength and sometimes it is the same as everyone’s but more often than not it is a very personal and good story. We all seem to overcome our seemingly bad visits. I had one where a woman threw scissors at me at the door. It missed me, by the way. I would say my Vincentian strength was a little weakened, and I prayed to the Holy Spirit and tried again. She opened the door without scissors and I introduced myself and she said, “I’m sorry, I thought you were a bill collector.” I went into her home and listened to her story. We were able to lift her out of her situation by getting her counseling. She truly needed help. We also helped her with some bills and visited her more than once a week to let her know we truly cared for her and her family. I came to the conclusion our Vincentian strength is God’s gift. We are never alone and must persevere. I would love to hear your story. Many of you know I am writing the second book on stories of the heart. If you have a story, please email me and I would be happy to include it. We all have a story. Show your strength.
Helping Others to Overcome – We never have to feel defeated, we keep on trying. We are champions at what we do and champions do not quit. We are positive and pray for God to okay our plans and ask for His. Turn the negatives into positives. Sometimes we visit those who are truly at the end of their rope. They have truly been overwhelmed and do feel defeated. We then pray through God’s grace to make them feel positive again. This doesn’t happen in ten minutes, so we have to overcome some things as well to truly help. Remember Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens. Keep working with the friends we serve to help them overcome. Carry the Gospel with you for strength and be the best listener ever. They need us and we must be present. In many cases, we can’t always help, but we can always support. This is why we must collaborate with other agencies in the community who can give the support we cannot. We never drop them, but journey with them always and assuring they are receiving the help they need. The best part of our works is to see a smile on a broken heart and joy in their step. This is God’s reward to us. So persevere in helping the poor overcome their state and give them a happy look at their future. Pray always! And Believe God is with you.