Vincentian Reflections

Vincentian Reflections2019-02-19T18:29:31+00:00
2206, 2021

June 27- Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

June 27 – Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Do not be afraid; just have faith!”  Over the past few weeks we have heard a lot about faith, but this week we find Jesus calling Jairus – and us – to have faith even in the face of death.  How can you have faith when your worst fears are realized – when any possibility for hope appears to have vanished?  Fear!  Fear is real and it is debilitating.  Fear will destroy our capacity for faith – if we let it.

Over the past 16 months we have learned a great deal about fear.  I dare say each of us to one degree or another has had to deal with immense fear in our lives.  Fear of COVID 19.  Fear of the loss of a loved one.  Fear of loss of a job or income.  Fear of connecting with others.   Even fear of going to church.  Jesus tells us though that fear is useless.  The cure is to come in total humility, placing ourselves fully at the feet of Christ, with patience and great prayer, in total faith and total trust, praising God who rescues us. Hear the words of our Psalm, “I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me.”  God rescues us – brings hope to us when there appears to be none.  Our first reading reminds us “God did not make death.”  This was brought on by the actions of man.  Sin, pain, sickness and death are on us.  But God rescues us when we have faith.  When all else fails us, we must go to the Lord in faith as Jairus did and as the woman with hemorrhages did.

When we set aside the fear, and look for God – trusting that he is there – waiting in faith – our faith can generate new life and new joy.   Through our suffering God opens doorways to possibilities.  He is victorious over death, over pain, over evil.  Through our suffering, when we pick up our crosses laid before us – whatever they may be – we become connected to the Cross Christ bore for us all – and we too find victory – victory rooted in the hope of tomorrow – the hope of everlasting life – the hope of Jesus.  Part of the mystery of our suffering is that we need to be patient with the pain.  When fear is set aside – our faith can generate new life.  God can turn the night into day.  We may not understand the present, but we can take heart in the hope of the future.

As Vincentians, we need to continually remember that it is not our works, but the work of the Lord which brings healing and wholeness to those in need.  We need to recognize the fear which can paralyze our neighbors into inaction – the same fear which paralyzed many of us this past year at times. We need to help them past their fears and into the hope of our Lord.   We are called to come before the Lord in true humility, seeking His guidance and will in prayer and with patience that those in pain and fear may find comfort and hope.  We need to recognize that no situation is beyond God’s touch.  We need to be open to go where He leads us in all situations.  How do I go to the Lord in total and complete humility recognizing that all is from Him?  How do I seek His will in prayer and discernment to overcome my fears and the fears of my neighbors?  Do I have faith that He will provide what is needed when it is needed?

Lord Jesus, help my faith that I may trust and believe in you always!  Help me to humbly bring all situations before you, prayerfully seeking your will for me and for those I minister to in your name.  Let me be as Jairus and the woman – trusting fully and completely in your presence, your goodness, your mercy and your will.  Give me the grace to set my fears aside, and to help others to move beyond theirs trusting completely in you.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

1506, 2021

June 20- Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

June 20 – Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are reminded in our first reading of the trials of Job.  He endured more challenges and ‘storms’ in his life than anyone I can think of.  This reading comes near the end of all his trials as God answers him.  Job has argued with God.  He has questioned him.  He has been angry with him.  But he has never lost faith in him.  God is in control!  He reminds Job – and us – that he has total control, even when we don’t understand.  And he has our back because he is a God of love.  The only answer that can be provided to certain human situations is to acknowledge that sometimes God’s ways surpass even the deepest levels of human understanding.  God says to Job; Jesus says to the apostles; and each of us is reminded that we must trust in God even when we don’t understand.  We all have faced tremendous storms in our lives at one time or another.  It is natural for us to cry out as Job or the apostles did “do you not care that we are perishing!?”  It is in these times that we must turn to our faith, trust in God, and place ourselves completely in the arms of God knowing that he will calm the storms and carry us through even the roughest of waters.

As Vincentians, we are often challenged with neighbors who are facing major storms in their lives.  In the middle of the storm, they often cannot see the hand of God ready to lift them above the turbulence in their lives.  We need to help them to trust in God’s plan and the weather the storm.  God uses us to be the calming voice in their lives.  He challenges u to be strong in our faith that we might lead others to have faith.  He is in control!  And we must trust in Him!  How do I remain strong in my faith when I am challenged with my own storms AND the storms of others?  When have I questioned God, only to see later the wisdom of his plan?

Lord Jesus, I stand in awe of your wisdom and power.  I do not always understand your ways, but give me the courage to trust completely in you.  Give me faith that I may walk in your way even when I am afraid.  Grace me with wisdom and patience to lead others to a stronger faith in your plan and a willingness to seek your will.  I trust in you in all things!  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

806, 2021

June 13- Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

June 13 – Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Lord, it is good to give thanks to you!”  These words of our Responsorial Psalm are recited by us several times.  We are reminded through the readings that we do not know all of God’s ways but we accept in great faith all that He wills for us.  He speaks to us in ways that we can understand and when we are ready to hear.  He invites us into His kingdom.  We are reminded to look past the challenges in our lives, to grow in faith and love, and to give thanks to him always.  As we emerge from the pandemic, there will continue to be those who are still hesitant, those who are unsure and those who are hurting from the pain of loss.  But St. Paul – in the reading today as well as what he says just before this reading – is talking about the eternal life God has prepared for us and the Spirit which constitutes the first installment on that eternal life.  We proceed with the confidence of the Spirit and the strength of our faith in thanksgiving to God for what he has given us.

As Vincentians, we should share this message of hope and thanksgiving with all those we encounter.  We need to help them to see that our struggles in life are temporary, our suffering will end, and God’s glory awaits all who are faithful to Him.  We should be present to those in need where they are at and be conduits of God’s love continually inviting them in faith to see beyond the challenges to the hope and love of Christ.  How do I give proper thanks to God for the many blessings in my life?  How do I help others to see beyond their challenges to the blessings they have?  How do I provide comfort and presence to others as the mustard seed plant does to all the creatures of heaven?

Lord Jesus, you continually bless me with many riches.  Let me always see past my challenges to that which you give to me and let me be ever grateful for all that I have.  Allow me to be your presence to others that they may sense the love and the hope that you offer to each of us.  Help us to walk in faith, ever confident in your Divine Plan and Divine goodness for each of us. We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

206, 2021

June 6- The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Sunday

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

June 6 – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Sunday

 

Do you believe in miracles?  This week we celebrate the greatest miracle of all time – when Jesus makes himself present to us through the transformation of bread and wine into his Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, to be with us in the most intimate way.  In Pentecost and Trinity we honor an untouchable and invisible God, but through the Eucharist God becomes present to our senses as we can see him, taste him and feel him to the very core of our being. This Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ takes us back to the Last Supper.  To the source and the summit.  This is a yearly reminder to us of the awesome gift we celebrate that is the Eucharist.  It reminds us to respect this gift, to reverence this gift.  When we come into Church, we genuflect to pay respect to the Divine Presence and to remind us that we are before the Lord.  Perhaps one of the greatest gifts of the pandemic has been to remind us of this great gift we so often take for granted.  We yearned to taste the Eucharist again.  God’s presence in our life brings us comfort and strength.  Without his presence through the Eucharist, many of us became unsettled, and searched for ways to bring him closer – whether through visits to the parish to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, or the recitation of our Spiritual Communion.  Nothing totally replaces the Eucharist for us though.

As Vincentians, we are the presence of Christ through our home visits to our neighbors in need – and that has been lacking for them.  We bring comfort and hope to them through our presence, through our listening, through our compassion.  We found ways to replace the home visits, but hopefully also look forward to the day we are able to return to them, for Christ also reveals to us His great love through the eyes of those we minister to.  Presence – physical presence – allows us to connect to one another and bring strength, comfort and hope.   During this time, we should continually pray for God’s mercy and intervention into the lives of those we minister to, those we serve with, and those who are in need (including ourselves).  We bring hope to those we serve precisely because of God’s mercy.  His presence and ours fosters friendship and mutual love connecting us to one another in Christ Jesus Himself.  Do I search for ways to make myself totally available even in this time of social distancing?  Do I seek to have greater patience and understanding?  Am I open to and actively pursuing a return to home visits at this time?

Father in heaven, we are so grateful for the gift of your presence through Jesus and the Eucharist.  I love You above all things, and I desire to never be separated from the intimacy of your Eucharist again.  I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You. Give me the courage, the confidence and the boldness of the apostles at Pentecost to go into the world and be your presence to others.  I pray that your mercy may be revealed and graced upon those who are in despair. Grace me, that I may show them your presence in their lives through my love and friendship of them.  Help me to be aware of your miraculous presence in the work we do.  Help me to find new ways to be present to all around me that I may make your love and friendship visible. I pray all of this in your Son’s name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

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