Vincentian Reflections

Vincentian Reflections2019-02-19T18:29:31+00:00
405, 2021

May 9- Sixth Sunday of Easter and May 9- Mother’s Day

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

 

May 9 – Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 9 – Mother’s Day

 

“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 – especially this year!   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.

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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.  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 need to lead the way out of this pandemic through our love, our trust, and hope in 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 as we emerge from this pandemic 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 the fears of this past year 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

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2704, 2021

May 2- Fifth Sunday in Easter

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

May 2 – Fifth Sunday of Easter

This is the season of renewed life coming back into the Church.  This year, that has particular meaning.  We have come from the darkness of despair and suffering.  As we emerge from the pandemic; the Easter Vigil, First Communions and Confirmations have reminded us of the hope and promise of Jesus.  Our Psalm this week is the second half of Psalm 22 – we heard the first part at the beginning of Holy Week.  It was the chilling words of abandonment.  As we know though, those words are not the end of the story.  For the Psalm is truly a message of Thanksgiving born out of complete confidence and trust that God does not abandon us!  The words of the Psalm just before today’s section transition us from the Passion to the promise.  “For God…did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out!”  He answers us and He rescues us from all that afflicts us.  As St. John tells us, “We should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.”  We are called to be his love and his healing, nourished by the author of love himself – Jesus Christ.

“I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me, you can do nothing.”  Jesus tells us.  He is the source of everything that we have and are.  If we stray and lose sight of the vine we will wither and die.  But when we connect ourselves fully to him in trust and humility, we can do anything!  This is the core of humility – a recognition that all we have and are comes from God.  But with the nourishment He gives us, we are able to bear much fruit.  And connected to Him, we receive His love that we might share it out to others as we are called to by St. John.

For us as Vincentians, these readings remind us of what Vincent and Frèdèric continually told us – we trust in God’s Divine Providence seeking and following His will, we take the love He gives to us and we go out in humility but with great passion to service those most in need.  Through our prayer life, meditation on scripture, and in particular, participation in the Eucharist, we are nourished that we might bear much fruit ministering to those most in need.  Now more than ever, we need to make ourselves present to those who are hurting.  We need to re-ignite the flame of hope, confident in God’s love for us and our neighbors, and trusting in His will. How do I stay connected to the vine through my prayer life, meditation on scripture and the Eucharist?  How do I help others to find renewed optimism and hope?  How do I overcome the fears of this past year for myself and those around me?

Lord Jesus, you are the vine and we are the branches.  Help me to stay connected for on my own I am weak and nothing.  Grace me with the courage to trust in your protection of me.  Give me confidence to glorify you offering thanksgiving for your great goodness.  Allow me to become your presence and your love in action, being a beacon of light leading the faithful forward.  Permit me to overcome my fears, instilling in those around me a renewed joy in life.   We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

2004, 2021

April 24-St. Vincent de Paul Birthday and April 25- Fourth Sunday of Easter

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

 

April 25 – Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 24 –  St. Vincent de Paul Birthday

 

This week we hear about a voice that is truer and sweeter, more powerful and strong, steadier than any other voice – the voice of the Good Shepherd – the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the Good Shepherd.  Our shepherd into eternity!  From our very birth He begins to call to us.  He is the cornerstone, the stone rejected by the builders.  This past year has tested our faith, our courage, and our patience in every way possible.  The one constant for me has been God’s presence – the Good Shepard – evident in so many different ways.  He calls to us if we but listen.  He guides us and encourages us.  Most importantly, he walks beside us, leading by his humility and example, and as we are reminded every Easter season, he sacrificed his life that we might live.  There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are saved!”  “This is the love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.”

This past year has reminded us of our total reliance on God.  It has humbled us as we have recognized that we are nothing without Him and everything with Him.  We are each called to care for one another, but all we do is because of, and through Jesus the one true shepherd.  While in the Holy Land a few years back, I visited with the monks at the Church of the Good Shepherd.  They talked about the life of a shepherd.  They are willing to risk their lives for their sheep.  The sheep come to know and trust the sound of their voice.  They do not lead the sheep, but follow from behind gently guiding and directing them, making sure they do not stray too far off course, and yet also, letting the sheep find their way.  The shepherd has ‘their back’ and is always there for each of them.  This is how Jesus leads us as well.  We are the ministers working for the true Shepard.  We need to let His voice ring out through the work we do in His name!

As Vincentians, we are called to be the presence of Jesus to our neighbors AND ONE ANOTHER. The pandemic has turned lives upside down.  Patience, compassion and trust in God must be our steadying influences.  As Jesus walks with us, we are called to walk with others listening to their stories and offering them the calm and the hope of our Lord Jesus.  We listen for the guidance of our Shepherd that we might help others find their way in life. We help them to come to know the Good Shepherd and to trust in His will for them.  How do I truly look for His guidance in the decisions I make daily for myself and my neighbors?  How do I bring comfort to those I minister to?  How have I made my ministry even more grounded in prayer as I have been forced to find new pathways?  How do those around me come to see the Good Shepherd through my presence?

Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd in whom I trust.  Help me to overcome my fears during this time.  Let me draw ever closer to you in prayer.  Open my ears that I may hear your will for me in all decisions I make.  Give me the courage to hear and share the truth of your words.  Allow me to submit humbly to all you call me to, and all you ask of me.  Allow me to take the time to seek your wisdom, listening constantly that I may not go astray. Give me the grace to spread your calm and your hope to all I encounter. Give me the courage to now step out in renewed faith, engaging with others that we might bring glory and honor to your name. Make my heart burn with the desire to do your will always.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

 

Deacon Mike

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1304, 2021

April 18- Third Sunday of Easter

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

April 18 – Third Sunday of Easter

In our gospel this week, we find the apostles recounting the encounter of two disciples with him on the Road to Emmaus. “Why are you troubled?” Jesus asks them.  Recall his initial encounter on that road.    The disciples were distraught and beaten down when he first encountered them.  Tragedy had struck and all hope seemed lost.  Try as they might, they could not make sense of what had been happening.  Jesus engaged them by first listening to hear their story.  He builds relationship with them, and then he offers a different perspective to them, helping them to come to understand.  He broke open the scriptures for them and them shared a meal with them.  By bringing a different perspective through relationship and friendship, he helped them to find acceptance and understanding.  He brings perspective to the apostles this week as well.  Why do questions arise in your hearts?” he asks as he reminds them through his wounds of the new life he has gained for them.  He brings to them – as he did to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus – peace and new hope!

It is a reminder to us as well of the victory Jesus has won for each of us.  Despite all the challenges of the past year, Easter came and the hope and joy of the Risen Christ overshadowed our doubts and fears.  He reminds us once again of the saving grace of His great sacrifice for us.  He helps us to see our suffering with new perspective as his face shines upon us.  As Christians, we are called now by our Lord to help bring a new perspective of hope, acting with the confidence of the apostles to glorify the Lord through our care for one another, confident that Jesus walks with us!

As Vincentians, we have seen the suffering of our neighbors in the past year – in fact in many ways we have shared in it!  Jesus comes to us asking “Why are your hearts troubled?”  He invites us to follow his model on that Road to Emmaus.  Let us approach our neighbors by first listening, entering into relationship with them through friendship and compassion.  We can bring new perspectives to them as we offer new ways of looking at their challenges.  Through our care for them, we let the face of the Lord shine upon them.  Do I first walk with those I minister to, listening to their story with patience, compassion and mercy rather than judgement?  Do I offer different perspectives, bringing Christ’s loving care for each of us into the light, for those who are suffering – both my fellow Vincentians and my neighbors in need?

Lord Jesus, help me to see with the hope and joy of your Passion!  Give me the courage and wisdom to walk with my neighbors in need, as well as my fellow Vincentians, with confidence in your will for us.  Allow me to see past the fear this pandemic has cast over us.  In friendship, let me bring peace and calm to overshadow the fear of those whose hearts are troubled.  Let our perspective be shifted as we recognize your loving care for us.     We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

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