“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like it:  you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  I suspect we are all intimately familiar with this lesson from Christ.  After all, isn’t this really part of the core of who we are as Vincentians?  To love our neighbor?  Two things stand out in this that we should take note of though.  First, there are two parts to the commandment and they are instructive.  The first is to love God.  Love of God comes before all else and it is from that love that all else flows.  Second, we are to love first and foremost with and from our heart, then our soul, and lastly our mind.  Knowledge, thinking, knowing is not nearly as important as desire, compassion and mercy.

As Vincentians, do we place our growth in holiness, our love of God and our attention to our spiritual lives above our service to others?  Do we allow our love of God to inspire our ministry to the poor, or do we try to form our holiness out of ‘busyness’?  Said another way, is our ministerial work formed by our love of God, or do we try to form our love of God out of our ministry?  We would be wise to pay attention to the Lord’s instruction – God first – all else second.

Father, never let me take my eyes off of you!  You are my all – everything that I am and everything that I will ever be!  Strip me of my pride that I may be ever focused on your will only.  Through you and for you let me minister to those you bring before me.  Help me to always remember to serve in humility with gentleness and kindness.  Let me always be a true reflection of your mercy and compassion made evident and available to others.   I pray all of this in your Son’s name.  Amen

Deacon Mike