From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

We return to Ordinary time with a simple question in our first reading today as God called to the man “Where are you?”  An interesting question for all of us to consider as well.  Where are we in our relationship to God?  And where are we headed?  Adam had just chosen to go against God’s will and was ashamed.  He tried to hide – as though we can hide from God.  He had chosen to pursue ‘earthly choices’ rather than the divine choices of God.  Each of us has these same choices to make on a daily if not hourly basis.  The question over time becomes, do we hear the will of God, listen to the will of God and do the will of God!

St. Paul helps us to understand the importance of relationship to God on a spiritual level.  He tells us that “Although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”  In his letter St. Paul is telling the Corinthians directly about his physical challenges and sufferings.  But his point is that our outer selves, our physical bodies, and all those things that perish are not what are important, but our inner selves, our souls, and those things that are eternal are truly what are important.  We are like Adam, focused on our earthly needs – our weight, our appearance, our health, our clothes – all important needs to be sure, but all very temporary as well.  The past six months have provided me with a stark reminder of the temporary nature of our good health.  All of us at one time or another will face similar challenges.  The truth is, we are all getting older and our focus needs to be on our inner selves, our souls, our relationship with God, for that is what is eternal and truly important.

I think that it is very important for us spiritually to recognize that no matter what we do, the longer we live the more broken our bodies are going to become.  Our bodies do not stay perfect forever, no matter how hard we work out.  Yet our inner selves can improve continuously and indefinitely, and no matter how many days pass by our souls remain eternal.  St. Paul says “Look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.”  Our inner self is eternal.  No matter how long we live, our souls remain intact.  We need to keep that in mind when we think about what is important to us, and what is important to God.  God’s first concern is our inner selves and that is where our concern should be. Adam became more concerned with his appearance than his soul.   We should be careful not to make the same mistake.

In our responsorial psalm we are reminded though of God’s great mercy.  “With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.”  His plan of mercy and redemption was set in motion and became evident with the arrival and passion of our Lord Jesus.  In the gospel Jesus reminds us that following God’s will is what united us first and foremost – even more than family. “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

As Vincentians, we are called to trust in God’s plan, seek His will, and submit to His will in humility and self-sacrifice with passion and mercy.  In short, we are called to hear His will, listen to His will and do His will. Let us seek for all of us that which leads us toward Christ.  We accomplish this first and foremost through prayerful discernment of that will for us and those He brings before us in our ministry.  Do I faithfully enter into prayerful discernment every day and before all decisions I make?  Do I seek His will or do I seek to make my will acceptable to Him?  Do I embrace His will for me and those around me or do I try to hide from it?

Lord Jesus, help me to slow down and listen through prayerful discernment for your will in my life.  Give me the courage to accept that will and to embrace it as my own.  Allow me to walk humbly in your presence filled with mercy and compassion.  Take from me my prejudices, allow me to set aside my concerns and help me to passionately pursue your mercy for all others.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen