From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

“Keep my commandment!” Jesus instructs us.  But he is not talking about the Ten Commandments or any kind of check list.  His command is of a higher order. “This I command you, love one another.”  We are all familiar with this command – and we know that Jesus said that this is the greatest commandment – to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.  But what is God’s idea of love versus ours, and how do we fulfill it?

As we come to the end of the Easter season, fear and uncertainty are replaced by hope and confident love – a hope and confident love that is needed more this year than ever!   The significance of Easter is that we have reason for hope.  Hope that is born out of the love of God.  Hope that is born out of the sacrifice of Jesus.  Hope that is made possible through the grace of God and hope that is reachable by loving God and following his commandments.  Our joy is found in the hope given us through the Easter event, a hope that radiates in ordinary day to day living that prompts us and others to conversion, to interest in faith in God, to the possibilities of a new start – a new beginning.  It is from the agape – or sacrificial love of God – that all of this is made possible.  Even in the face of all the challenges the world presents to us.  The wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.  The turmoil on our college campuses.  The secular values, political discord and acrimony in the country.  Indeed, especially in the face of all of this, Easter brings us the HOPE and the JOY of new beginnings!

This is the love each of us is called to – the theological virtue of Love!  The love Jesus had for us and the love our Blessed Mother Mary has for us – a love that has no quit and no end.  May is the month of our Blessed Mother Mary, the Patron Saint of our Country and our Vincentian Society.  We turn to her in a special way for her guidance and counsel.  Her’s is one of unconditional love of Jesus.  Through every aspect of her life she leads us into the heart of Jesus.  We are called in our readings this week to trust in the saving power of Jesus, and to trust in His love and care for us to carry us to new joys, new ways and new hope.

As Vincentians, we lead those we encounter through our love, our trust, and hope to the Lord.  We love God by serving the poor and vulnerable because this is where we most readily find and see Jesus.  We need to embrace one another in the agape love of our Lord.  Confident in God’s love for us, it is important that we begin to re-engage with one another and with our neighbors in need through person to person encounters.  How do I bring the love of Christ to others I engage with?  How do I allow God to light me on fire with His love, mercy and compassion?  How do I keep His commandment with my fellow Vincentians and my neighbors?  How do I move beyond fear and into the light of new hope?

Lord Jesus, we turn to you in confidence, in praise and in thanksgiving!  Draw us from the darkness of fear, uncertainty, and confusion.  Allow us to emerge in confidence embracing the new day you place before us.  Instill in us the confidence and passion of the apostles at Pentecost.  You are my love and my love is totally for you.  Give me the humility to recognize that you are the source of all I have and all I am.  Give me the grace of your gentleness, your patience, and your kindness.  Help me to set my needs and my concerns to the side, trusting that you always care for me, so that I might give myself totally to others in your name.  Let me go with passion, ablaze with your fire, making your love present and visible for all to see.    We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike