From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
December 8 – Second Sunday of Advent
December 9 – Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please our neighbor for the good, for building up.” These words from St. Paul to the Romans are the lead in to our second reading today. St. Paul is speaking to the Gentile and Jewish Christians, but he is also speaking to us. We who are blest (the strong) are called not just to help those who are vulnerable (the weak) but to put up with or tolerate their failings. Just as Jesus did, and does, tolerate our failings again and again, we must do the same for others. We need to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ by opening our hearts to let love, mercy and compassion overwhelm it and flow through all our actions. It is in this way that we build up the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ.
As Vincentians, our vocation calls us in a particular way to participate in this building up. Our ministry calls us to move beyond simply helping for our convenience. In the face of failure, we are called to return again and again with patience, tolerance and mercy. Through our endurance and encouragement, we help to bring hope to others as well as ourselves. This is where sympathy moves to compassion, moves to mercy moves to holiness. Do I minister with patience and tolerance? Do I stand in judgement of others, or do I offer mercy as Jesus offers mercy to me? Do I reflect the love of Christ, a love laced with compassion, which He has given to me?
Lord Jesus, grant me patience, tolerance, forgiveness and mercy that I might reflect your love out to those I minister to. Allow their presence, their humanness and frailties, their vulnerabilities and their failures to help me to see in them the very same in myself. Allow them to see in me your face, your love, your sacrifice and your hope for the future. Allow this Advent season to be transformational for me as a Vincentian and for those whom you bring before me as children of God. We pray all of this in your name. Amen