From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
November 29 – First Sunday of Advent
The pandemic, economic upheaval, social unrest, political discord and hatred, and the seemingly downward spiral of the moral fabric of our country! I for one am glad to see 2020 coming to an end! As we approach this Thanksgiving, it can be hard to see what we have to be thankful for – and yet when we look closer, we realize God has blessed us abundantly in so many ways – and we have EVERYTHING to be thankful for! We cry out “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.” God is fully aware of our challenges, obstacles and missteps. And so we begin a new liturgical year with anticipation of the birth of a newborn. He comes as a little baby, innocent and without judgement. He comes to meet us, not so much so that he can get to know us, but so that we might come to know Him. He came, not for his convenience, but for ours. He spends his first thirty years learning about us, listening to us and walking among us. The next three he uses to invite us to ‘come and see’, teach us, to guide us and to challenge us – but never to force us. He offers us mercy, compassion, friendship and hope. In the end, he sacrifices and suffers for us, giving everything he has, not dependent on our response in the moment, but in anticipation of the hope which tomorrow offers.
As a Vincentian, it strikes me that this is perhaps the most impressive home visit of all time. Home visits are at the core of being a Vincentian AND a Christian. This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges we have faced this year – the loss of the true home visit. We have had to find new ways to connect with those we minister to. It is in the home visit that we become known to our neighbor, begin to build trust and relationship, and that the doors of hope are swung wide. It is also in the home visit that we most readily come to see the presence of Christ – see His face – in our neighbor. God goes to any length to invite us into relationship and we must likewise find new ways to connect with our neighbors in friendship and trust – in new style home visits! We should not fear this challenge, but embrace it and our neighbors as God embraces us – in love, mercy and compassion bringing the gift of new opportunities for today and hope for tomorrow. How do I approach the new ‘home visit’? Do I come first to hear their story and to know them? Do I work to establish relationship or simply ‘gather the facts?’ Do I find new ways to offer opportunity, friendship, compassion and hope?
Father, give me the courage to embrace the new realities of building relationship and trust. Do not let me wander from your ways or allow my heart to become hardened! Rather, let me be your presence that I might make a difference. Let me come humbly before those in need, offering myself in friendship and as a companion on the journey. Let me bring the truth of simplicity laced with gentleness, patience and selflessness. Let me offer a passionate love for those we encounter that they may feel your embrace. Father, I give myself humbly and completely to you in Thanksgiving for all that you have given to me! During these turbulent times I pray “show us Lord your love; and grant us your salvation!” I pray all of this in your Son’s name. Amen