God Speaks to Us Through Our Senses – Peace is Possible – Drink Up – A Cultivated Heart
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast
God Speaks to Us Through Our Senses
Sometimes you hear a voice. No! You are not crazy. If we can see God in all things around us, then if we become silent we should hear Him, too. Finding God in all things—is a conviction that lies at the core of Ignatian spirituality. Does God really speak to us through a blue sky, through the sound of laughter, through the taste of dinner? I think we can all answer “Yes.” I love Ignatian Spirituality. We have an Ignatian Spiritual Director and you never tire of his reflections. It just seems to make you want more. You don’t turn your back on the created world to find meaning and purpose; rather, God reveals Himself to us through the very concrete stuff of our lives, through our bodies, through the things we experience with our senses. Faith is about living life, in its entire messy, topsy turvy splendor, and doing so with the awareness that God is present throughout it all. It’s about recognizing that God speaks to us through our senses and we can live a richer, more joyful faith if we train ourselves to listen. ”Some days you will be the light for others, and some days you will need some light from them. As long as there is light, there is hope and there is a way.” Look for the light, and listen quietly for the message. To you it will seem like a loud gong, but in reality the sound is for you alone. However, you cannot keep it to yourself; you must share both the light and the sound with others. Sometimes you share it by your service. When you reach out your hand to help others in God’s mercy, this is a resounding gift to the one you are serving. Make no mistake they hear it. We share our faith by living the Gospel, words are not needed.
Peace is Possible
As an expression of his support for the campaign, Pope Francis issued a video message in which he states: “While the people suffer, incredible quantities of money are being spent to supply weapons to fighters. And some of the countries supplying these arms are also among those that talk of peace. How can you believe in someone who caresses you with the right hand and strikes you with the left hand?” We really have to always believe and pray often. We often think knowing about Jesus is all we need, but do we really know Him. Perhaps what we know is not enough. It is not enough to believe if we do not do anything. Our call as Vincentians is to follow Jesus. When we do we are true disciples and following Jesus is the essence of our work in the Society. We walk, we pray and we talk with Jesus, but more important we LISTEN. We are disciples; we cannot do our work without Jesus. Everything is possible in God’s time. Peace is often our number one concern and it really needs to be in us and with our families. But we do not stop there. It really is not enough we come to Church and we know Jesus. It is not enough we believe in Jesus and praise Him. It is not enough we pray for peace, we must show our love for the entire human race and yes we must pray for those we call our enemies. When we follow Jesus and we are called, we must leave behind all our prejudices and hates. Get rid of our lack of peace and follow Him. He is calling us. Peace is possible.
When someone else comes to us and points out our own faults, we might not be very happy about it. But, when you think of it, that person often carries the same message Jesus carried to the Samaritan woman: take the living water, freely, and be renewed. “The trick is to enjoy your life. Don’t waste away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.” The Sacrament of the Eucharist, the greatest gift and mystery given to us throughout the ages, was instituted in a quiet moment between Jesus and those dearest to Him and that history continues in our day. It is as if each one of us were sitting with the twelve apostles every time we celebrate the Eucharist. “When we meet with things very pleasing, before yielding to the joy they elicit, let us raise our hearts to God and thank His loving mercy which sends us the consolation.” – St. Louise de Marillac – So often, Lord, I turn to you with my needs and don’t remember to thank you for the many joys and successes of my life. Today, I offer you praise and thanksgiving for the blessings you continually shower upon me as well as the countless little joys I experience every day. “Shut out all of your past except that which will help you weather your tomorrows.”
A Cultivated Heart
You must compare your heart to a garden. If we cultivate it well, it will yield good fruit. If we don’t keep an eye on it and tend it a little every day, our garden will be overrun with weeds, true? Therefore, take courage. Reflect on God’s Mercy. If we don’t take time to reflect on the ways we have been forgiven, it will be hard to be merciful to others. And yet we set this as our goal each time we pray the Our Father: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” We must put ourselves literally in the picture when we prayer. Prayer should never be rushed. It takes time to grow a cultivated heart and you as Vincentians know this. We are not only called by God to be His disciples, but we have the entire Vincentian Family helping us live the dream of a cultivated heart. So we do not have to fear. He is with us always. We need to hear this from others. We should raise this up at meetings and remind people we are visiting and serving Jesus in our work. Sometimes we forget who we serve. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson