This month we celebrate a wonderful set of solemn feast days, and they have lots to teach us about living our vocations as Vincentians. On June 9 we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That Spirit of Love between God the Father and the Beloved Son came down and literally shook the bewildered apostles and disciples and set them on fire with the energy of love that they lacked to teach and live the good news. And then, we have the feast of Corpus Christi celebrating the gift that Jesus is always with us as the Bread of Life, giving us strength and hope and love!
After the crucifixion and even after having experienced the risen Jesus, the apostles went back to their familiar ways, to life as they knew. They returned to what was familiar, even fishing. It wasn’t until the Apostles and other disciples of Jesus, along with Mary, gathered to celebrate the traditional Jewish Feast of Weeks, in English and as Pentecost in Greek that the wind and fire of God’s love transformed and sent them!
So, what about us? Even in the ways we meet together in our Conference, or the works that we do, don’t we, too, go back to the way we’ve always done it? Where’s the growth in that? Let’s plan to have Pentecost among us. What needs to be renewed? Is it time to renew and refresh our Conferences, Committees, or just the special role we have as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society? Some Conferences will elect new leadership and commission new members. Others may be appointed to new roles of support, even as Spiritual Advisors. Make this a time of renewal and growth in holiness, friendship and service!
Whatever we need to unleash the gospel in word and deed as Vincentians, let’s take time to pray that a new Pentecost may happen within us. The gifts, fruits and virtues that will make us better servants of the gospel are many. Some of the ones identified in our Vincentian documents are humility, simplicity, charity, zeal, self-sacrifice, gentleness. Others you know from John’s gospel 20:19-23 and in the Acts of the Apostles 2: 3 ff … gifts such as faithfulness, generosity, joy, patience, and more.
I challenge myself and each of you to reflect and pray with an open, honest heart for the gift that you most need right now. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to help you accept that gift and give that gift to others.
A good Conference reflection could include the same material and after some reflection time, it will be worthwhile to name the gift you most want to develop to help your Conference be better at loving and serving. How will that gift be evident? Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful Vincentians!
With you in prayer,
Sister Noreen Ellison, SC
Associate Spiritual Advisor