“I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall always be on my lips! (Psalm 34:1) As Catholic Christians who pray this psalm frequently, it is especially wonderful during November.
What events pop into your mind during November? Three themes immediately come to me: our liturgical year celebrates its ending, our Church celebrates special feasts remembering the saints, including our deceased loved ones, and our nation celebrates a time of thanksgiving.
As you read this Conference Connection, I invite you to take the following suggestions to your conference as part of your prayer and spiritual reflection. Each of our meetings includes Vincentian prayer and also scripture reflection and sharing that help us recognize how we assist one another in growing spiritually as we express our active faith.
Early in the month we celebrate All Saint Day and then All Souls Day and many churches have special prayer services or a Mass of Remembrance to celebrate and pray to and pray for our loved ones who have passed from this life to their new life in God.
Take time to recall a fellow Vincentian, deceased or living who had or has a quality that inspires you? Give Conference members the opportunity to share their thoughts about that person. Try to be comfortable with the silence that recalling and pondering needs. Give those who are more introverted the time they need before they can speak. If some of those mentioned are deceased, conclude with the familiar prayer: Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.”
Recall together the benefactors, the names of those who gave time, talents and their “treasure” to assist the work that your Conference stands on. Name them, give a few moments of silence and then invite the members to repeat the prayer that you or your Spiritual Facilitator or President offers first: “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall always be on my lips!”
Closer to our national time of Thanksgiving, how about taking some prayerful time in your Conference to ask of one another: What stirs up thankfulness in your heart because you have been blessed by an experience with someone you assisted or encountered as a “neighbor-in-need?” Give some silent reflection time so that each Vincentian can ponder a time when they were changed or blessed by someone they thought they were helping. Then, invite sharing. A suggested concluding prayer could be: In humility and with thanksgiving we pray, Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
In prayer with you,
Sister Noreen Ellison, SC
Associate Spiritual Advisor
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