Is it all too familiar language we hear from Jesus? “Love your neighbor as thyself.” It seems to take a long time to go from my mind so it can fully “convert” my heart! Sometimes my heart becomes hard, suspicious, or just plain tired. How about yours?
As Vincentians we care a lot about our neighbors. Folks come to us, or sometimes we even look for them, and they have great need. Sometimes the expressed need is just the “tip of the iceberg” of what we see to be the real needs. We may feel overwhelmed.
Sometimes a person in need sees SVDP as just another agency that may give help to “fix” the immediate problem. Are we just another agency? Do we sometimes see our help to a neighbor-in-need this way, albeit, a charitable agency? We have even grown, over the years, to call these neighbors, “clients,” truly an agency term. And, truthfully, sometimes we may even feel like over-worked social workers.
Who are we, really? What is this vocation that names each of us, Vincentian? If our SVDP Conference had no money, no food, no clothing nor furniture, no vouchers nor bus tickets, what is it that a neighbor-in-need would receive from you and me? What would it be? What could possibly happen?
I encourage us to take this challenge to prayer, reflect on it, and share your response with those in your Conference. I will pray with you during the coming weeks. May the Holy Spirit give us listening hearts open to change and renewal.
Peace be with you!
Sister Noreen Ellison, SC
Associate Spiritual Advisor
Eternal God, out of whose great mind
came this great cosmic universe, we bless thee.
Help us to seek that which is high, noble and good.
Help us in the moment of difficult decision.
Help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world,
a better distribution of wealth, and a brotherhood
that transcends race or color.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr