Vincentians and the Serenity Prayer

by | Apr 20, 2018 | Formation, Reflections

The Serenity Prayer

I doubt there are very visitors to this site who have not heard of the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Vincent lived the Serenity Prayer

I think we can be relatively certain Vincent never heard of the Serenity Prayer. But he must have been a pretty good practitioner.

There is no doubt that he changed what he could. Just review quickly all that he changed in his lifetime.

He also came to the realization that there were things that he could not change. He studiously avoided entering into some of the theological conflicts of his time.

We also know that he was pretty good at being at peace. He knew the serenity of trusting Providence. He prayed for the grace to recognize God’s will.

I am certain we can say this of all our founders and heroines in the Vincentian Family.

Pope Francis writes on discernment

In his recent Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness, he writes…

166. How can we know if something comes from the Holy Spirit or if it stems from the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil? The only way is through discernment, which calls for something more than intelligence or common sense. It is a gift which we must implore. If we ask with confidence that the Holy Spirit grant us this gift, and then seek to develop it through prayer, reflection, reading and good counsel, then surely we will grow in this spiritual endowment.

167. The gift of discernment has become all the more necessary today, since contemporary life offers immense possibilities for action and distraction, and the world presents all of them as valid and good.

Earlier, he offered what he calls the “Great Criterion” for discernment.

95. In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (vv. 31-46), Jesus expands on the Beatitude that calls the merciful blessed. If we seek the holiness pleasing to God’s eyes, this text offers us one clear criterion on which we will be judged. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv. 35-36).

A Serenity Prayer Examination of Conscience

  • What are the things that we as a Vincentian Family must try to change?
  • What are the things we personally change in our own lives?
  • What are the things we cannot change?
  • What is our practical and personal “great criterion”?

Tags: holiness