Friendship – The Gift of Love – We are One – Mary for Us Today
Vincentian Day of Prayer and Fast: Re-post from July 29, 2014
Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one has found a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth.” (Sirach 6:14-16) Aelred of Rievaulx in his famous work, “Spiritual Friendship” says, “The best medicine for life is a friend.” The above is taken from Fr. Ronald Ramson’s book, “Hosanna.” The friendship chapter particularly intrigued me. Blessed Frederic Ozanam’s love and friendship for the poor is the foundation of SSVP. Frederic always saw the poor as our friends. In my first days as a Vincentian almost 30 years ago, I was challenged by a priest friend to not just serve, but learn something about the friend I visited and learn something from them. This is still my goal on every visit. Give them your undivided attention, by not looking in a hurry, turn off your cell phone and visit your special friend. Being a friend to the poor includes loving them, calming their fears, taking an interest in their story and being there for them. In true friendship of the poor we follow in Frederic’s footprints, loving and serving Christ.
The Gift of Love
God is the gift of love. He joins us to Him and never lets us go. His love is constant and intimate, so intimate; He gave us the gift of His Son in ultimate love. Another book by Jean Vanier titled, “Jesus the gift of Love,” says, “I write this book as a follower of Jesus.” In his book, he carries one through the four Gospels in a human way. Each page helps the reader to know Jesus better. Jean Vanier helps us to open our eyes to the love of Jesus and encourages us to know Him better. Getting to know Jesus better and following His lead helps us to get closer to holiness. Love totally changes us. There are many ways to spread love around. Everyone hungers for love. God is love in all three persons. We are loved so much and never abandoned. This happens so we may become love for others. Spread the love around. It hurts no one.
We are One
In the Gospel, the wheat was planted and soiled by weeds which threatened to take over. The weeds and wheat grew as one. This is a lesson for all of us. We are all created by the same God for the same purpose and we are one in the family of God. We are equal; black & white, man & woman, scholar & not so smart, big & small, orator or mute. We are all one; beggar, thief, rich, poor, homeless, farmer, business man, we are all loved by God equally. We carry out our tasks each day, not thinking too much about others. Sometimes we close or eyes or look away from the homeless and those in poverty or addiction. God does not tell us to love the ones who please us. We have to see Christ in all as we are equal in God’s eyes. We have to be Christ to all. The love of Christ must always be in our action and service to others. Such a wonderful thought to have each day is the best days of our lives are not as great as those yet to come. We can look forward each day to another best day and even more.
Mary for Us Today
In Fr. Stephen Jayard’s book, “Mary for Modern Times,” he says one needs to be a disciple of Jesus to meaningfully accept and celebrate Mary as Mother. We venerate Mary the mother of Jesus. We adore Jesus, Son of God. In praying the Rosary and Novenas help us to focus on the needs as we call on Mary and the saints to intervene for our concerns to those around the world. Meditation and quiet time in our lives for prayer is good for us, those we are praying for and giving witness to God. Our veneration to Mary and the saints is our recognition of their great love of service to God. We look to them to be like them. We strive each day to be a better person to serve those in need in the way they deserve. Mary is a role model as are all the saints we honor and venerate. Each one is relevant in today’s world as they lead us to love like Christ and serve like Christ and follow their example.