From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
February 7 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I think we can all relate to “the months of misery and troubled nights which have been allotted to me” that Job speaks to in our first reading. We are reminded this week not so much about suffering (although we have had our fair share), but rather how God uses our suffering and where it leads to. Suffering causes chaos and stress, it challenges us with pain to which we have no answers. We have a choice – we can allow it to consume us like fire, destroying our very souls; or we can fix our eyes on Jesus letting him lift us out of our despair into the light of hope! For it is Jesus alone who “heals the brokenhearted!” Jesus calls us from our suffering that we might go out and heal the world. Each of us is called – and many of us are called through our suffering – to the mission of Jesus Christ – the salvation of the world through the healing of one another. It is our mission – or as St. Paul says – “our obligation” to respond to our call with no expectation of something in return. For the work we do is God’s work and not our own. We respond, not for ourselves but ‘for the sake of the gospel, that we too may have a share in it.” This is our mission – our purpose. We are to join our suffering to that of Christ, and with eyes firmly fixed on Him, lift one another out of the pain and into the hope and the glory. Jesus carries out this mission, in union with the Father, going first and always to Him in prayer. If Jesus does this, how much more important for us? For through prayer, we connect ourselves firmly to God’s mission for us, making sure it is His will and not ours we satisfy.
As Vincentians, our mission is to first grow in holiness. We do this by going as Jesus did in the gospel to minister to the sick and suffering in person to person service. More and more we can get overwhelmed by the numbers and the need. But we have an obligation to suffer through in persistence remember always that our purpose is to bring glory to God responding to His call in our lives with no expectation of repayment. Our repayment is a share in the gospel and the joy of others! In prayer we turn to God with our suffering letting Him lift us as we lift others into the one Body of Christ. Do I always remember that I am totally dependent on God as I minister to His people? Do I turn to him in continual prayer? Do I join my suffering to that of Christ? Am I the face of hope, reaching out always to “touch and heal” those whom I am called to minister to?
Lord Jesus, help me embrace my suffering, linking it to yours, and accepting the growth it calls me to. Lift me from despair that I might do likewise for others. Give me the courage to accept your call. Lead me always to prayer to discern your call. Give me the humility to accept and understand your will for myself and others. Grace me that I may be a servant of love and hope. We pray all of this in your name. Amen