Vincentian Reflections

Vincentian Reflections2019-02-19T18:29:31+00:00
312, 2019

December 8-Second Sunday of Advent-December 9 – Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

December 8 – Second Sunday of Advent

December 9 – Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each of us please our neighbor for the good, for building up.”  These words from St. Paul to the Romans are the lead in to our second reading today.  St. Paul is speaking to the Gentile and Jewish Christians, but he is also speaking to us.  We who are blest (the strong) are called not just to help those who are vulnerable (the weak) but to put up with or tolerate their failings.  Just as Jesus did, and does, tolerate our failings again and again, we must do the same for others.  We need to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ by opening our hearts to let love, mercy and compassion overwhelm it and flow through all our actions.  It is in this way that we build up the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ.

As Vincentians, our vocation calls us in a particular way to participate in this building up.  Our ministry calls us to move beyond simply helping for our convenience. In the face of failure, we are called to return again and again with patience, tolerance and mercy.  Through our endurance and encouragement, we help to bring hope to others as well as ourselves.  This is where sympathy moves to compassion, moves to mercy moves to holiness.   Do I minister with patience and tolerance?  Do I stand in judgement of others, or do I offer mercy as Jesus offers mercy to me?  Do I reflect the love of Christ, a love laced with compassion, which He has given to me?

Lord Jesus, grant me patience, tolerance, forgiveness and mercy that I might reflect your love out to those I minister to.  Allow their presence, their humanness and frailties, their vulnerabilities and their failures to help me to see in them the very same in myself.  Allow them to see in me your face, your love, your sacrifice and your hope for the future.  Allow this Advent season to be transformational for me as a Vincentian and for those whom you bring before me as children of God.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

 

Deacon Mike

2511, 2019

November 28-December 1 – Thanksgiving Day-Thirty-Fifth-Sunday-Advent

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

December 1 – First Sunday of Advent

November 28 – Thanksgiving Day

We begin again!  It is the cycle of the church.  Every year we get a fresh start.  In Advent, we look forward with great hope and anticipation for what is to come – the promises of the future.  No matter what we have done – how well or how bad – we have an opportunity to start again – fresh – and through no merit of our own.  We enter Advent with Thanksgiving on our hearts and minds – thanksgiving for all that God has blessed us with and the hope that He gives us.  Our readings this week remind us to take hold of this hope  by being earnest in our preparations for the ‘coming of the Son of Man.’  We are to put on our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through the Coming of God Incarnate in Jesus His Son, we are giving the model to follow for our lives.  Through His mercy He is ever present and available to us.  Through the Liturgy of the Eucharist, God invites us into the greatest Thanksgiving of all, giving us the nourishment of Christ himself to prepare us for eternal salvation.

As Vincentians, we are confronted with the neighbors who struggle to succeed.  Some we see with frequency and we wonder if they are really trying.  In Advent, we are reminded of the importance of mercy and continually offering our help and support to those in need.  We are called to provide them with the support and guidance to prepare for their future and to make them future a future of hope.  We must set our judgements to the side and continually make available the opportunity to start anew for those who desire it.  Do I set my judgments aside, acting always with mercy and compassion?  Do I embrace in humility the opportunities God gives to me to be merciful to others?

What I am forever grateful for this Thanksgiving, is that our Lord’s grace and mercy toward me is infinitely greater than mine is toward others at times, and that His mercy even makes up for the shortcomings of my own.  I pray each day that He may instill in me a greater sense of that mercy through our Vincentian work.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the grace of new opportunities.   ‘Remember me when you come into your kingdom.’  Shower your mercy upon me that I might grow in humility, recognizing your presence and goodness in every person you bring into my life.  Give me the strength to extend forgiveness, mercy and love to all others.  Allow me the grace to extend to others love and mercy in the fashion you shower it upon me.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

 

Deacon Mike

1911, 2019

November 24 – Thirty-Fourth-Sunday Ordinary Time

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

November 24 – Our Lord, Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

This Sunday brings an end to our liturgical year.  We will begin anew in preparation for the coming of salvation to the world through the birth of our Lord Jesus.  Before we do though, we are reminded that our King is a different kind of king.  Jesus has been a model, a teacher, a brother and a friend.  But He is most importantly our King, our Lord and our Savior.  St. Paul’s letter calls us to give thanks because God has made us inheritors of the kingdom of heaven through His mercy and sacrifice.  Jesus is a king who dies for his servants rather than one who has his servants die for him. He does not display his power but rather his mercy.  He does not ask to be served but rather offers himself in service.  He has no expectation of repayment, although he pays the ultimate price.  His interest is not in saving himself but rather saving each of us!  We join with the good thief in praying “Jesus remember me, when you come into your kingdom.”

As Vincentians, we seek a unity with Jesus through our ministry to the poor and vulnerable, recognizing that it is in relationship forged through humility, faith and compassion that Jesus is most readily found.  Like Jesus, we need to display mercy and not power.  We need to offer ourselves in service.  We need to have no expectation of thanks or repayment for that which we do.  For our service is offered in thanksgiving for what Jesus has done for us.  Do I seek to bring the mercy and compassion of Jesus to all I encounter?  Am I willing to sacrifice for others?  Do I seek God’s will in all decisions, and offer my service in humility and gratitude?

Lord Jesus, you are the King of kings!  You gave yourself that I might have salvation.  Give me the grace to offer mercy as you did.  Instill in me the charity of heart and action that others might see your presence in all I do.  Allow my service to be an offering of gratitude and praise for your great glory.  “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.”  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

 

Deacon Mike

1211, 2019

November 17 – Thirty-Third-Sunday Ordinary Time

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

 

November 17 – Thirty-third Sunday Ordinary Time

 

Our readings look to the end times but address our behaviors in the here and now.  We are to be faithful, diligent and persistent.  It is important that we engage fully in society today, being productive and engaging in work that we not be burdens to others.  We should act with the confidence of what is to come, but the wisdom and persistence to recognize and follow truth even in the face of persecution.  Our confidence comes from trust in God and a willingness to accept and embrace our crosses of those challenges which come into our lives. The readings bring out the importance of the dignity of work, both for ourselves and for others.  It is through work and perseverance that we connect to both our crosses and the hope of the future.

As Vincentians, it reminds us of an important aspect of discernment.  We need to help our neighbors in need but not to the point of enabling.  Our objective should always be to restore dignity and hope by giving a hand up and not simply a handout.  Our objective is not to create or enable continued dependence on us.  Sometimes the answer needs to be no to continued assistance but yes to encouragement and support.  It takes discernment, patience and honesty (simplicity) in some instances to help our neighbors (and ourselves) to understand what is truly needed.  Do I properly discern what is most needed for those whom God brings before me?  Do I approach them in humility, but with honesty and patience when what they are asking for is not what they most need?  Do I provide true help, or do I simply enable?

Lord Jesus, help give me the grace to enter into discernment of your will for those who come to me for assistance.  Give me the wisdom to see what their true needs are that I might help them properly.  Help me to always seek to restore dignity and hope to those in need that they might find their way back to productivity and faithfulness.  Help me to grow in the virtue of simplicity and patience.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

 

Deacon Mike