Vincentian Reflections

Vincentian Reflections2019-02-19T18:29:31+00:00
3103, 2020

April 5- Palm Sunday

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

April 5 – Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday has arrived.  Things are moving and changing so quickly and yet time seems to be moving so slowly.  We go from our Lord’s jubilant entry into Jerusalem to less than a week later hearing the cries of “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  Our second reading from Philippians is iconic.  In short order it recounts that Jesus went from being God to being slave; from being put to death on a cross to be exalted by God the Father and recognized by all as Lord and God.  Indeed, it portrays the greatest humility and the greatest glory both displayed as one.  The events, the meaning and the necessary response can overwhelm us.  The followers of Jesus at that time, including the apostles were filled with fear, lost their way for a time, and only found their way back by turning to God in patience, in trust and in prayer.  For it did not make sense and they had no answers.  Their salvation was in loving one another for they had not yet seen God’s answer – the Resurrection!  What a long week it must have been for them, feeling like an eternity with no good outcome.  We too have faced a long and confusing time with the pandemic which has struck the world.  As their Lord was taken from them, our churches and the Eucharist himself has been taken from us.  Fear can embrace us if we let it.  We can feel powerless in the face of all of this.  I wish I could provide answers to you.  But the only answers are in patience and trust and prayer.  We need to care for one another now more than ever, holding each other in love and trusting in God’s love for us.  We do not know the outcome individually or collectively, but we know that God has our backs!

As Vincentians, we encounter others through our ministry who face fear, uncertainty and upheaval in their lives in ways we often can only imagine. Now more than ever we need to be a beacon of hope, reminding them that they matter, that we love them and so does God.  We need to help them to find patience, trust in God and prayer.  And so often in our attempts to do so, they actually help us to the very same.  When we turn our fears over to Him, He walks with us enlightening us and embracing us in the warmth of His love.  Am I able to trust in both my ministry and in my life in God’s will?  Do I lose sight of being truly faithful in ministry and life, to God and trusting that IN HIS TIME He will respond to our needs and the needs of our neighbors?  Do I turn to God in prayer, joining my suffering to that of the suffering servant Jesus, accepting all that he gives me and awaiting the glory of His mercy?

Lord Jesus, guide me in right paths.  Give me the patience to listen for your will for myself and for our ministry.  Equip me with the right words and actions guided by your Spirit in all that I do.  Give me humility that I might never lose sight of your will in all things.  Help my unbelief that I may believe and trust that you will not fail me if I keep my eyes and ears and heart totally focused on you.  In the absence of your presence in the Eucharist, let me join you in Spiritual Communion that I might never be separated from you.  I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.  Come at least spiritually into my heart and let me embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Help my suffering and the suffering of others, that we might accept these crosses and embrace them as you embraced yours.  Let our suffering connect ever more fully to that which you endured for us. We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

2403, 2020

March 29- Fifth Sunday in Lent

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

March 29 – Fifth Sunday in Lent

Our gospel this weekend is the story of Jesus bringing back to life Lazarus from Bethany.  Of particular note is the end of the passage when Jesus cries out in a loud voice “Lazarus, come out.”  And when Lazarus came out, he instructed them to “untie him and let him go.” There was no need for Jesus to call to Lazarus to come out, nor to have other unbind him.  These actions were not for Jesus’s benefit, but rather for ours.   While he calls each of us from the death and darkness of sin (particularly through our baptism), we each also have a responsibility to help one another overcome the sins and challenges that bind us up each day.  We are to free others from their difficulties in life.  In so doing, we come to believe because we see the power of God manifested through those actions.  During these difficult times, when we are separated from one another, we need to reach out in friendship and love to support one another.  We must listen in prayer for the voice of our Lord over the noise of the COVID-19.  He tells us, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you always!”  He calls for us to embrace one another during the difficulties of our lives.

 As Vincentians, our call to holiness comes through the unbinding of the poor and less fortunate.  As we unbind them from their challenges in life, they unbind us from our prejudices, from our pride, and from our self-centeredness.  We grow in our humility and patience and the Spirit of God comes to dwell fully in us and we come to know the Lord that we may believe.  We become as the woman at the well, the man blind from birth and, Mary from the gospel this week, saying, “Yes Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  We must tap into our charism of friendship to both our neighbors and to one another.  As Jesus reaches back to each of us through the Eucharist (the Thanksgiving of love eternal), we must become like Eucharist to one another.  We may be separated in distance but we must be one in thought and caring.  Do I make extra efforts to call others, be sensitive to others, and address the needs of my neighbors, brothers and sisters?  Do I embrace others from afar with zeal, love and concern?

Lord Jesus, grace me with your presence even absent the sacrament.  Help me with my fears.  Let me help others with theirs.  Allow me to find new ways to be your presence to others.    Let me be your instrument that others may come to know you through me.  Reveal to me your spirit of faith and hope through those whom you bring to me.  Allow me to join the woman at the well, the blind man and Mary of Bethany proclaiming your goodness and testifying to your Word though my words and actions. Now more than ever, let your love for us and our love for others overcome our physical distancing.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

1603, 2020

March 22- Fourth Sunday in Lent

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

March 22 – Fourth Sunday in Lent

We are in the midst of our Lenten journey.  Our readings this week take on a tone of calling us out of the darkness into the light.  “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”  This passage in the second reading is a reminder that it is Christ who is our hope and our light.  In the gospel he heals a blind man giving him sight.  During this moment in history, a moment of darkness as we grapple with COVID-19, it is through prayer, through Christ and in Christ that we find hope and light.  He calls each of us as well to be His light, lifting one another out of the darkness.

As Vincentians, now more than ever, our neighbors in need find comfort in our presence in their lives.  We offer the hope of Christ.  Many who have not faced challenges before may now find themselves confronted with new circumstances.  Our prayers, our presence and the light of Christ which we make apparent through our ministry.  We may be the only light present in their lives at this point.  We must trust in the guidance and protection of Christ to inform our ministry during this time.  Do I make myself available to others to be the presence of Christ in their time of need?  Am I willing overcome my fears, and find ways to meet the needs of those who are most vulnerable?

Lord Jesus, help me to see your light and goodness through the darkness.  Give me the courage find ways to minister to others, overcoming all obstacles.  Allow me to place my trust in your guidance for my ministry.  Help me to be the light and presence that others might find your hope in their lives as well.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

1003, 2020

March 15- Third Sunday in Lent

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

March 15 – Third Sunday in Lent

Our readings this week speak to a constant tension that exists in our relationship with God as we journey from sinfulness through conversion toward complete humility, trust and obedience to His will and plan for us.  The first reading talks about Massah and Meribah, which mean to test and quarrel.  They are a reminder of this tension where the people would put God to the test and quarrel at times with how he cared for them.  We are thankful for the blessings he bestows upon us and readily trust Him when things are good.  But we struggle when things don’t go according to our plan for life, and begin to question anew His care for us.  We need to listen for his voice and guidance in all things, and soften our hearts to accept His will for us.  We need to maintain hope through the difficult times, realizing that He will lift us from our sufferings to ultimate joy.

As Vincentians, with every neighbor in need, we enter into situations where people are challenged to see God’s plan for them.  We become present to them in their time of need just as God is always present to us.  We ask them to trust us and allow us to help them just as God asks us so often to trust him.  Through prayer we discern what God’s will for their situation is.  It can be challenging for them to understand and for us as well.  Do I seek God’s will in difficult situations for neighbors in need AND for myself?  Do I trust that God will be present in both easy and difficult times?  Do I listen for His voice, with an open and loving heart?

Lord Jesus, help my heart not to be hardened.  Give me patience with those I minister to when they struggle with trusting me.  Give me patience to trust in your will, not putting you to the test nor quarrelling with your ways.  Help me to make myself fully present to others that I may be more aware of your continual presence to me.  Grace me with humility to submit fully to your will trusting in your love for me always.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen