In our first reading from Acts we see the apostles finding the need to have structure and rules around who teaches and how for the church. Some have gone out ‘without a mandate’ upsetting people with their teachings. Through the history of the Church, we have seen the wisdom in having a teaching authority and rules to guide that teaching. Ultimately, the teaching authority always emanates from one place – the Word of Jesus. This can only be responsibly passed on by continually seeking to embrace the wisdom and teachings of both Jesus and those church authorities who have gone before us. We should seek not to change understandings to meet our needs, but rather we should humbly seek to share only the truth as given to us by Christ.
As Vincentians, we too have teachings and wisdom which are given to us by Frederic, Vincent, and the Society through the Rule. It is important that we come to know our charism and how it helps and guides us to grow in holiness. It calls us first and foremost to humility; a humility to submit to the one Rule and to Divine Providence, trusting that God is in control. It calls us to submit to instruction through Ozanam Orientation, other trainings and most especially prayer and meditation, where we are led to a spirit to care for those in need. Do I place myself humbly before God, seeking His guidance and strength in caring for others? Do I submit to the Rule and the charism of SVdP, seeking friendship with others, offering service to neighbors in need, and bearing witness to Christ and His Church, growing each day in the five virtues of SVdP? Do I understand SVdP to be a vocation and way of life – not simply a volunteer opportunity?
Lord Jesus Christ, let me hear your call to my Vincentian way of life. Grant me the humility to place myself before you in prayerful submission to your will for my life. Allow me to embrace ministry to those whom you bring before me with loving compassion, gentleness, patience, kindness and zeal; seeing them as my master and I as their servant. Help me to be a part of the Vincentian network of charity which offers your hope to the world I pray all of this in your name. Amen