Saturday, 28 September 2013

Who do we say he is, and how do we experience him in our world? Readings for Friday September 27th

                    Our vocation is to go and enflame the heart of men, to do what 
                    the Son of God did, He who brought fire into the world to set it alight with His love.                            What else can we wish  for, than for it to burn and consume all things?” 
                         St Vincent De Paul

                         St Vincent De Paul, Priest
St. Vincent de Paul was born in France in the 16th century to peasant parents. He studied theology and became ordained around the age of 20. He tutored some noble French children, the de Gondi’s, and began leading missions on their estate. From these missions grew groups devoted to charity. As his ministry grew, St. Vincent was appointed royal almoner of the galleys by King Louis XIII. As such, he built hospitals in France for convicts and the poor. St. Vincent founded the Congregation of Priests of the Mission, a group of priests committed to evangelizing in the countryside. With the growing number of converts, St. Vincent recognized the need for more local priests. He re-energized the seminaries in France and around 1660, his congregation was overseeing one-third of France’s seminaries. Also, St. Vincent co-founded the Daughters of Charity with St. Louise de Marillac, a group of women committed to working amongst the poor. St. Vincent de Paul’s love for the poor has grown into an international ministry and The Society of St. Vincent de Paul looks to him as their patron. He is beloved as the “Apostle of Charity.”
Reflection:  Does God really care for the poor? Throughout the old Testament, we are told that God has a special space in His heart for the poor. Some will argue 'if the Lord cared so much for the poor, why doesn't He rescue them from their poverty?" A valid question I suppose, but not too dissimilar from 'why does God let bad things happen',  which is not a question I meant to tackle today. The short answer I see is that, if there were no poor,and no suffering,  then we'd all be Atheists. Sounds like a bold statement, but I'm slowly learning that it may be true. I feel that it's  through our interaction with the poor and the marginalized that we really encounter the living Christ who still carries his cross in our world. It's by sharing their suffering, and carrying it with us that we break away from our world of luxuries and comfort, and connect with Jesus. Can Jesus only be found in suffering and poverty? No, I don't think so. However, I do believe that those who are poor and suffer are the ones who are closest to Jesus. 

 So when I ask myself, 'who do I say Jesus is, and how do I live my experience of him today?' what do I hear as response?'  : He is the Lord and the  King of the universe, but he is also brother to the poor'. In that response, I hear a call to follow him... to be a brother to the poor. Not by sharing in their poverty. Not by giving money to every homeless person I encounter on the street -though that's not an option I shirk away from either-. Not by dreaming of a day when poverty will be eradicated, but by cultivating this desire I have to journey with them.To smile at them, speak with them, even spend time with them.  Working in a soup kitchen both as a Novice and a Scholastic has helped me enter their world a little more. I need to continue with that effort. I have no aspirations to become the next Vincent de Paul, but if God were to tell me that's where I'm being called, I would follow. I don't think it is though. There are enough people who do this kind of work today. I feel my call is to do something different...what that something is, I still don't know. However, I feel that part of my answer really lies in Jesus. I see him as Brother to all people, but especially to the poor. Perhaps that's a starting point for's in this role that I will personally encounter my God of salvation who labors among the ones who cry out to him daily.
Haggai 2:
 1 - 9

1in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet,
2"Speak now to Zerub'babel the son of She-al'ti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehoz'adak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say,
3`Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not in your sight as nothing?
4Yet now take courage, O Zerub'babel, says the LORD; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehoz'adak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts,
5according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit abides among you; fear not.
6For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land;
7and I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the LORD of hosts.
8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts.
9The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts.'"

Psalms 43: 1 - 4

1Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from deceitful and unjust men deliver me!
2For thou art the God in whom I take refuge; why hast thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
3Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill and to thy dwelling!
4Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise thee with the lyre, O God, my God.
Luke 9: 18 - 22

18Now it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, "Who do the people say that I am?"
19And they answered, "John the Baptist; but others say, Eli'jah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen."
20And he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
21But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one,
22saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."

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