Vincent understood that when he ministered to the needs of the poor he was both ministering to Christ and being Christ in the world. He also understood that prayer was essential to our ability to effectively be Christ in the world. Last night I attended a talk by retired Archbishop Harry Flynn on the meaning of the Eucharist and the relation of the Eucharist to social justice.
Among the thoughts Archbishop Flynn, retired Archbishop of the St. Paul and Minneapolis diocese, shared was precisely what Vincent understood so well – that we must combine prayer and action. If we merely do social work and do not keep up a regular relationship with God in prayer, we risk both burning out and ultimately proclaiming something other than God. If we merely pray and ignore social justice (which, in words reminiscent of our our focus here on systemic change, he made clear includes both acts of charity and activities aimed at reforming those structures that keep some people oppressed), we are not being true Christians. We are not fulfilling our role to be Christ in the world.
There was much in Archbishop Flynn’s talk that I found inspriring and that I want to spend time reflecting on. I’ve separately this morning posted some thoughts regarding his comments on how we are transformed by the Eucharist on Creo en Dios! and some other thoughts on the Eucharist and social justice on Mirror of Justice.