From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
May 22 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come and make our dwelling in him.” This week continues the message of last week. Jesus is with the apostles at the Last Supper and is preparing them for what is to come. For three years he has been preparing the apostles and now the time has come that they will soon be put to the test. He has taught them many lessons, but it all comes down to this one simple lesson of the last two weeks – love – love one another – love as I have loved you! So simple – and yet so hard! Not only are we to love, but even more, God is coming to make his dwelling within us. He will not simply be our companion moving forward, he will become a part of us. Wherever we go, we bring God with us. Whatever we do, we do together with him. His is a love so deep that it connects us to him and to one another. Through the Eucharist, he now enters into us and becomes a part of us. Through the Holy Spirit he provides us our guide, our teacher and our conscience. Through his Word, he provides us truth, that we may know his presence in our lives and our hearts. Through the Sacraments he gives us his grace that we may be strengthened in our love and resolve.
We hear the familiar words that we say at the sign of peace at every Mass. “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you.” They call us into the depths of his merciful love – a depth of love that comes not from the world but only from God. “Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” It is a love that calls on us individually and as a faith community to love as God loves – without condition, reaching out to ALL our neighbors seeking communion and care for one another. It is a love that calls us to obedience to the Father’s will as we traverse the sufferings and hardships we will face in life always with an eye toward unity with the body of Christ. In humility, we focus not on the sins of our neighbors, but on the presence of God within them and within us. We offer forgiveness for trespasses against us as we have been forgiven. This is the love and the life we choose when we choose to be disciples of Christ.
As Vincentians, we are called deeply into this love of God with a particular focus on those who are most vulnerable in society. Our ministry calls us beyond volunteerism into a lifestyle and vocation informed by the love of God for the care of others. Every neighbor who comes to us in need is God himself seeking our help. 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 Divine Providence, trusting that God is in control. It calls us to give of ourselves for the benefit of others. When we do, we allow God’s love to flow forth from us. How do I place myself humbly before God, seeking His guidance and strength in caring for others? How do I embrace SVdP as a vocation – a way of life – and not just as a volunteer opportunity? How do I embrace the indwelling of God within me?
Lord Jesus Christ, let me embrace your presence within me. 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. Grace me with your peace that I may seek peace and unity with all whom I encounter. I pray all of this in your name. Amen