Vincentians know well the teaching given by Jesus in the gospel proclaimed in our liturgy this coming Sunday, September 6. It is part of the Opening Prayer in our Vincentian meetings: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
This point of Jesus’ message is crucial for Vincentians, and hopefully, for Staff and Volunteers of the Society, as well. If we actually saw the face of Jesus in each person at a meeting, including a Zoom meeting, might any one of us change what we said, how we listened, or how we responded?
Words we hear or gestures we see have the power to change us. Listening is the the most fundamental principle of effective communication. In our meetings and encounters let us strive to:
- Listen to understand.
- Get comfortable with a moment of silence after someone has spoken.
- Practice holy curiosity and ask questions to understand before offering an opinion or idea.
- Invite response from those who need more time to process.
And, let us always gather in the name of Jesus. He promises to be there where we are!
Our prayer together, our spiritual reflection, sharing our lives and our experiences provide a hope-filled context for our work and assist us in our spiritual journey. We have the power to help one another grow in our abilities to communicate effectively with the “fire of love.”
It is good to remember, the first meetings of the founders of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul were not to establish a “Charitable organization” but the works of charity became a holy response to sharing, debating and discerning the meaning of the gospels together.
In prayer with you,
Sister Noreen Ellison, SC