From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

Easter is a season of faith and faith is all about belief.  Belief in something greater than us.  Belief especially in the face of adversity and fear.  Belief when all is darkness and there is no reason to believe!  Belief that leads us out of darkness to hope and joy!  We are challenged in our society today to remain steadfast in our beliefs.  Darkness can descend around us even on our most sacred days as we watch protesters disrupt services at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at the Easter Vigil.  Our society attacks our basic social sensibilities and norms.  We are challenged to know who to help, when to help and how to help.  Violence by some can cause fear in many.  Truth becomes hard to find and confusion can reign supreme.  But Easter calls us to a renewed faith even as we struggle to find our footing.  Jesus tells Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  It is a clarion call to have faith, to believe, even in the face of serious doubts.

As we enter into the season of Easter we are reminded of the mercy of God on this, Divine Mercy Sunday.  We are called – particularly in times of struggle – to see beyond our fears and recognize the hope of our Lord Jesus.  Jesus is patient with us as he was with Thomas. He understands our doubts and calms us with His words “Peace be with you!”   He is well pleased with those who have total faith with no doubts, but is merciful to those who have doubts and continues to call us to Him in merciful love.  In our gospel for Holy Thursday, an often overlooked statement is “He loved his own in the world, and he loved them to the end.”  God’s mercy is so extensive that we can never be out of reach for his mercy.  His love, His mercy, His hope never ends!

As Vincentians, we minister to those who are hurting and suffering in life. Especially now, we encounter neighbors who have not faced such concerns in the past. As we minister to them and help them to see the hope of tomorrow, we look to grow in holiness by overcoming our own woundedness, fears and prejudices.  We are the wounds of Christ that they may see His love and goodness through us and rejoice in the hope he brings them.  In the strength of their faith, we are reminded of Christ’s call to us to live in faith even when it is difficult.  Together, we say to one another, “Peace be with you!” and we offer the assurance of Christ’s abiding and enduring love and mercy.   God never quits on us – do we have the same passion for our neighbors in need?  Am I patient with those I minister to, as Christ is patient with me?  Am I merciful to others as He is to me?  Does their faith and woundedness help me to be strengthened in my faith and trust in God?

Lord Jesus, help me to overcome my doubts and fears, trusting always in your goodness, mercy and love.  Allow me to be the wounds of your cross, which help strengthen the faith and hope of others.  Help me to minister with patience and humility, always helping others to see you in all things.   We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike