From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

Most of us have been confronted by struggles and challenges in our lives that have been overwhelming.  Often our faith – our trust in God – is tested by those events which make no sense to us.  The pandemic with its rules of isolation, masking and social distancing was a test of our collective patience.  Nearly every person was affected in some way.  Freedoms were taken away, many lost jobs and financial security and worst of all – many lost loved ones.  Even today, we continue to be haunted by the scourge of COVID.  The sharp divisions on so many issues threaten the very fabric of our society.  Secularism and moral relativism threaten the Truth of Jesus Christ.  WE HAVE BEEN TESTED!  We have had to sacrifice!  And in many ways it has made no sense.  

“God put Abraham to the test.”  Our first reading recalls the instruction of God to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Abraham knew what God had promised him and the importance of Isaac to the fulfillment of that promise.  Even so, Abraham, without hesitation or question, followed God’s will obediently because he had total trust in God’s promise, even as it appeared God was breaking the covenant.  Abraham did not think about the sacrifice or question God, but rather against every human sentiment and a seemingly irrational demand on God’s part, Abraham trusted and believed that God knew what he was doing.  Abraham’s response leads him to a deeper relationship with God.  God rewarded him and spared Isaac.  

Our second reading reminds us that God did not spare his own son, so that we might be spared the loss of eternal salvation.  It is the fulfillment of God’s promise to us from the beginning of all time.  How can we possibly doubt a God who goes to such lengths for us?  There is no obstacle too great for him to overcome in delivering his hope and salvation to us if we will but believe and trust in him.  

The hope which the Transfiguration offers to us is the encouragement we need to weather the storms of our lives. In the Transfiguration, in our graced moments with God, we are reminded to see beyond the suffering and recognize the final prize.  It is our heart and our soul that lead the way.  Through these times we give our full attention to God, just as the disciples did on Mt Tabor.  In these graced moments we become fully engaged with God.  We are given a peek past the passion, the pain, to the glory of Easter.  As we journey it is important for us to have those moments to remind us that while we do not know where our journey is taking us, we know who is along for the ride. God is in control!

As Vincentians, we need to sometimes help those to whom we minister to understand that there is hope for the future.  This is the greatest gift we give to them – not food, or rent or utilities or gas – but hope and presence.  The sacrifices they are confronted with often make no sense to them.  They are tested and see no way forward.  We are called to give them belief and trust that God has a plan for each of us, and he will deliver us from harm.  We must seek God’s will through prayer and discernment, that we might patiently help to open their eyes to God’s will, His plan and His hope for them.  Do I trust completely in God?  Do I submit in total obedience, even when I do not understand?  Do I believe even “when I am greatly afflicted” and respond “Here I am!” when He calls us?  Am I ready, open and willing to allow God to use my presence to help others to see His hope?  Do I make myself available to the Spirit – or do I simply take him along for the ride?

Lord Jesus, allow me to work humbly as your servant, being open to whatever you ask of me.  Give me the courage, the trust, and the strength of Abraham in accepting and following your will.  Enable me to show your love through my words and actions.  Give me patience to listen for your direction – and then to act upon it.  Shine your light through me that others might see.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike