Be a Sign – Everyday Formation – Vincentian Prayer – Vincentian’s Clean Heart
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast – Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Be a Sign – We, as Vincentians are a sign to others. We do not have to preach, but we must be the sign. Called as Vincentians we are the sign of God’s love for all people, regardless of color, creed or religion. We are led to serve the lost sheep of Jesus and we serve Him in them. We feel their pain and listen intently to their story. The Lord is always there for them and we are called to do so as well. We are to be a sign. Our sign shouts “Welcome,” “How can I serve you?” We need to take time in our life to see Jesus. Fear and doubt are energy erasers. We are called to be a sign and this means we are believers. We believe Jesus is service to the poor, we believe in the resurrection, and the precious Bread and Wine. We believe in God’s Word there is no pain and to accomplish this we are called to be a sign of Jesus, the giver of life. We know there is pain and suffering everywhere, even in our own homes. Bring Christ’s sign of hope, love, blessings, joy and mercy on every visit. We do believe because we are evangelized. This is sometimes a complicated term, but it is who we are: believers in the Gospel. The Gospel tells us all we know and how to live. We should read the bible daily and live the Gospels. Wear the sign of a believer without words, but by actions of serving the poor who are placed before us. We are the sign!
Everyday Formation – We need to be supportive in preparing new members for the calling of serving as a Vincentian. We need to teach and act as Vincentian Family. We must talk about how we serve and treat the poor as friends. When a friend is in trouble you truly care about what is happening. You definitely do not criticize and judge them. You really try to help. We have to make sure our Vincentian family is on the same page as Blessed Frederic Ozanam and the rest of the Family are. It is all about spirituality, Vincentian Spirituality. We must be prepared to not only dialogue but listen carefully to the poor. Just bringing them the food is not enough. We must sit and listen to their stories and help them look for solutions. Before each visit we call on Divine Intervention, so we pray. We always visit in pairs and before a visit we pray together. The most important thing is to listen. You can also explore the home you are in to receive visions of who they are, those we serve as Friends. It is not all serious. You could ask if they have a hobby or favorite book, or show. We then begin to set the opportunity for making a difference in their life and it is not our idea but theirs. We are now working as a team. On the way home we pray for our friends and will then follow up just to see how they are doing. This is how we treat friends. Teach each other this each day and never shy away from re- formation.
Vincentian 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. He is on our side. God leads us into the midst of the world in the person of Jesus; God becomes inserted into our world as brother and savior. God does not save us from above nor from outside but rather as a part of humankind. It should be stated, Vincentian spirituality is not a series of references to the writings of our Holy Founder nor is it some prayer formulary or virtues or works or acts of piety. Rather Vincentian spirituality is the following of Jesus present among those who are most poor and excluded from society. Certainly all of those other realities have their place, but only in as much as they help us to follow Jesus, evangelizer of the poor. To serve and to minister to all the poor, making no distinctions of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender or political opinion, Our role is to love and serve as Jesus to promote their dignity and advancement in accordance with Christian values and the philosophy of the Society as expressed in the Rule. After reading our mission, values and vision I believe what we do as Vincentians can be very simply explained in two words…Discipleship and Covenant.
Vincentian’s Clean Heart – Create in me a clean heart (Ps. 51:12) From the beginning of creation, God’s beautiful plan for human love was inscribed on the human heart and in the human body, “Male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27) We are called to “Welcome the Stranger” as we do with our clean Vincentian Heart. We are not called to mold the stranger, but to welcome them. Our gift from God of a clean heart allows us to do this. We know we are all created equal and God indeed loves us equally. He loves us all, sinner and saint and we are called to do the same. When visiting the prisoner, I learn much from them. They want to be free of sin and they often ask us to show the way to a clean heart for them. We look at them with love and see Jesus in them and know they truly seek a clean heart. Sometimes it takes time, just as it did for us. We must love everyone in need equally. We see them as pure as God created them and we help them over their uncertainties and mistakes. We have all made mistakes and even in our mistakes God loves us. He also loves those we serve even in their flaws. We lift them up to Him after each visit. We trust God to guide us to welcome the stranger and bring them His love. This is a powerful gift and it can only bring love. So we pray before each visit to have a clean heart. The poor are fragile but can also see through the pretense of a clean heart. They cannot be fooled. We must be honest and clearly show them the Gospel by our actions. They will react to your kindness and love but cower from a heart that is not clean or a love that is not real. You have the gift and the tools, use them wisely.
Pray for all of our Vincentian Family, our youth and all we serve. We need theses prayers every day. Our work is based on prayer; we need the Trinity with us at all times.