What’s in a Name?

In a reflection that first appeared on FamVin, Fr. Pat Griffin of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, reflects on the importance of our names. He takes it a bit further in asking a question about our respect for the names of those we serve.

Recently, I participated in a day of reflection. The speaker spoke about the meaning and expressions of love.  She told about a class of children who were asked to describe how they knew that they were loved.  One of the children said that she could tell that she was loved by the way that the other said her name.  If I remember nothing else from the day, I will remember that story.  I know its truth.  I feel the way in which it pulls me deeper into myself even as it demands that I look outwards towards others.

There were seven children in my family—five boys and two girls.  Growing up, those not familiar with my family would frequently confuse our names.  I could be Michael, Johnny, Timmy or Danny as well as Patrick—thankfully, I was rarely Eileen or Kathleen.  I confess to some annoyance when someone got my name wrong. I liked it when people remembered me as me.  I recall how my name was spoken in many different tones and in various circumstances, but I remember best of all the way in which someone who truly knew me uttered it with love.  This other wanted my attention and urged me to draw closer.

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” has a number of memorable lines.  One that stays with me flows from the lips of Juliet as she describes her love, Romeo. Though they are from warring families, Juliet proclaims: “What’s in a name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Though I understand the meaning of the statement in context, I also want to argue with it. A name is a precious and personal possession.  It describes the other as a unique being and invites a reflection on all that makes the other an individual.

In the Old Testament, God reveals the Holy Name YHWH to the people Israel.  This title describes and calls upon the Almighty.  Out of reverence, the Jewish people did not say this name aloud.  In the New Testament, the community comes to recognize the name of Jesus as sacred.  Remember Paul’s Phillipian Hymn:

Because of this, God greatly exalted him

and bestowed on him the name

that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bend,

of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.  (Phil 2:9-11)

Clearly a name is important as we address our God as well as our brothers and sisters.  When we speak the name of another, we can express our love, respect and reverence for that child of God or we can have a host of less worthy intent.  That realization draws me to be more attentive to the way in which I use people’s names—how I address them and how I speak about them.  I would like people to know my love for them by the care with which I use their name.

When I bring these thoughts into our Vincentian world, one idea stands out:  we need to know the poor by name.  The marginalized among us cannot simply be the featureless other, but a human being whom God created in the divine image and likeness.  Our Maker has associated the divine self with them in a particular way. When I name the poor, I reflect that awareness and love.

Follow the Leader

Fr. Pat Griffin CM of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission leads us from the memory of a childhood game of follow the leader to a reflection on what kind of a leader we follow as Christians.

 

All of us remember the children’s game, “follow the leader.”  The object of the game centers on following one child designated as “the leader” who would guide a group through a series of actions and adventures that each other would faithfully imitate.  The originality and creativity of the leader adds to the enjoyment of the game as each follower completes the course.  I have come to wonder what kinds of lessons that this game intended to teach.

On Presidents’ Day weekend, our country particularly holds up two men who held the highest office in the land—the Presidency of the United States.  One, of course, is George Washington.  The stories which I learned as a boy remain with me:  his leadership in the Revolutionary War; his willingness to serve as the first President of our country coupled to his willingness to step down when his terms were concluded; but especially (for my young mind) his desire to tell the truth in the cherry tree incident (though its historicity is questioned). Abraham Lincoln captures the pages of history for such acts as his leadership in the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and his eloquent though short Gettysburg Address. Yet what also sticks prominently in my mind is his characterization as “Honest Abe.”  As a boy, I remembered how both leaders were celebrated for the value that they placed upon telling the truth.  For the youngest among us, perhaps that was the virtue most highly emphasized.  This enabled them to be people to be trusted and worthy to be followed.  That remains true.

In the coming week, February 21-24, Pope Francis will hold a summit with the presidents of all Catholic bishops’ conferences to discuss the prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. The question of honesty and trustworthiness should hold center stage in this gathering as well. Those who wear the mantle of leadership must do so with an unambiguous fidelity to the following of Christ.

Servant leadership stands at the center of any real claim to authority.  Perhaps the clearest example of this for the Christian heart rests in the example of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.  I keep coming back to it:

So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.  I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messengergreater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.

It seems easy to speak about washing feet and even to do so symbolically, but the truth lies in a different place.  One must be empowered by those who are led and be proved willing to guide with virtue and humility.  I pray for the leadership of good women and men for my country and my Church.

Pope Francis, an octogenarian, addresses the weariness of hope

In his weekly reflection on FamVin, Father Pat Griffin, of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, draws strength from Pope Francis, an octogenarian, addressing the weariness of hope.

On January 26th, at the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria La Antigua in Panama, Pope Francis celebrated the Eucharist with priests, consecrated men and women, and members of lay movements. The Gospel of the day was that of Jesus and the Woman at the Well. The Pope sets a context:

The Gospel we have heard does not shrink from showing us Jesus, wearied from his journey. At midday, when the sun makes all its strength and power felt, we encounter him beside the well. He needed to relieve and quench his thirst, to refresh his steps, to recover his strength in order to continue his mission.

The words which the Holy Father spoke to those gathered on this day dealt with the weariness which can accompany the attempt and desire to be faithful to one’s vocation in a “changing and challenging world.”  Many of us know that feeling.

 

I find it amazing that Pope Francis can so often find words to describe our world so astutely.  I rejoice in his ability to open God’s word and to recognize the way in which it speaks to our time and experience.  The “weariness of the journey” can capture the sense of so many of us who take up the responsibilities for our Church, communities, and families.  Long hours, daily commitments, little problems, and stressful pressures challenge the resolve of hearts and bodies which strive to dedicate themselves faithfully to the Gospel.  Yet, the Holy Father points beyond these drains on our energies to a “weariness of hope.”

This weariness is felt when – as in the Gospel – the sun beats down mercilessly and with such intensity that it becomes impossible to keep walking or even to look ahead. . . It is a weariness that paralyzes. It comes from looking ahead and not knowing how to react to the intense and confusing changes that we as a society are experiencing. . . . (these changes) call into doubt the very viability of religious life in today’s world. . . . What was meaningful and important in the past can now no longer seem valid.

This weariness of hope can lead to a certain pragmatism, to a sense that the Gospel has nothing to say to the world of our time.

In his weariness from the journey, the Lord says to the Samaritan woman, “Give me a drink.” He invites us to say these same words with which he invites her to seek the living water.  Francis encourages us to allow our wearied hope “to return without fear to the deep well of our first love,” “to be purified and to recapture the most authentic part of our founding charisms,” to recognize that “we need the Spirit to make us men and women mindful of a passage, the salvific passage of God.”

I read with gratitude the words of our Pope who has his fingers on the pulse of our Church and who hears in the Gospel the continued summons to hope and ministry.  As Vincentians, that summons takes on a particular form and focus.  As we drink profoundly at the well of the Lord, we hope to slake our thirst during our daily and lifelong journey.

Fr. Pat Griffin Invited to Present to Workshop in Kenya

Father Patrick J. Griffin, CM, of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission and frequent contributor to these pages, traveled to Kenya to present several talks on the Vincentian Charism in a Parish, St. Vincent de Paul and the mission and lay spirituality.

Two-hundred ten (210) leaders from Vincentian parishes attended the Vincentian Family Day, that was held in Thigio, Archdiocese of Nairobi, Kenya. January 12, 2019. Thigio is a small town located approximately 45 minutes from Nairobi.

He was part of a team drawn from personnel closely associated with St. John’s University. Mary Ann Dantuono recently completed her term as National President of the Ladies of Charity USA and was instrumental in founding the Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University. Larry Boone served as Professor of Business at St. John’s and Director of its acclaimed Executive-in-Residence Program (EIRP).

By all accounts, it was an intense day full of joy and spirituality, where all the participants could share the joy and commitment to follow Jesus Christ by serving the poorest of his people.

Story and photos courtesy of FamVin.org.

A Call To Conversion – A Point of No Return

Fr. Patrick Griffin of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission freely admits that he is attracted to both Vincent and Paul. At some point in their lives, they realized there was no turning back. At what point in our lives did we realize there was no turning bacK?

All of us have heard this statement of St. Vincent:

“In the month of January 1617, on the twenty-fifth, the feast of the Conversion of Paul,that lady [Madame de Gondi] asked me to preach a sermon in the church of Folleville to urge the people to make a general confession, which I did, pointing out to them its importance and usefulness.  Then I taught them how to make it properly; and God…blessed what I said… .  That was the first sermon of the Mission and the success that God gave it on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.”  (CCD 11 #2, pp. 3-4)

At this time of the year, I sometimes wonder at the content which accompanied these words of our Founder on this significant occasion.  I am struck by the way in which “the feast of the Conversion of Paul” creates a context at beginning and end with which Vincent’s bounds his remembrance.  What further role might that occasion have played in the preaching of this day?

 

Paul stands as one of the central figures in the New Testament.  The Acts of the Apostles records his conversion story three times to emphasize its importance.  It holds pride of place as the key experiences in the life of the great apostle as it brings his whole being into focus.  Paul had been a zealous Jew, persecuting the Jewish-Christians because of their compromise of the ancestral faith.  This “way” had proclaimed some prophet as the long-awaited Messiah, and Paul could not bear that kind of sacrilege.  He sought to destroy this affront to his faith by any means necessary. This purpose puts him on the road to Damascus and into the path of the resurrected Lord.

Paul’s question as he lies on the road receives the answer which turns his whole world around, words which will make him the man who will proclaim the Christian faith without compromise:

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.  (Acts 9:3-5)

These last words change everything for Paul.  He had heard the belief that the Christians placed in Jesus and all the stories told about him, but now he receives the one piece which had eluded him: “Jesus is Lord.”  Everything which he had learned about Jesus now became the highest truth.  His faith becomes more than a measure of doctrine and well-articulated belief, it becomes personal.  Paul becomes the unstoppable force which will proclaim Jesus in every city and to every ear that he encounters.  His conversion is to a person and the direction of his life will only find meaning in that person.

As Vincent preaches in Folleville, I wonder about how much of the story of Paul he recounts, and about the way in which he invites his hearers to follow the lead of the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Vincent recounts how he instructs the people to make a general confession and how to make one properly. How much did he speak about the nature of sin as a personal rejection of the Lord and about repentance as a turning back to him with a changed life?  These dynamics rest at the heart of Paul’s conversion.

I am attracted to both Vincent and Paul. The opportunity to reflect on them together in this foundational Vincentian story attracts me.

Words Whispered in Our Ears at Baptism

Sometimes somebody important to us says something to us that we never forget: a parent or family member, a friend, a teacher. At various times and places, the words play back for us and give us insight, confidence, or pause when we are in a particular situation. Perhaps, especially, words that we have from our parents carry this special weight.

I was thinking of this in terms of Jesus and the experience of his Baptism. This is the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. He is just about to embark on the apostolate that will characterize his life. He has taken his place on line with all the others who seek John’s baptism. John does not want to baptize him because he feels unworthy.

After the Baptism, Jesus hears these words:
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

What wonderful words—words which any child would be thrilled to hear from a parent.

Now, this occurs before Jesus has done anything. He is about to start his life’s work, and he is affirmed in this powerful way. “You are my beloved Son; I am well pleased with you.”Perhaps, this is the point: the Father’s love for Jesus is not something that is earned, something that is won or lost, but something that is given freely and permanently and without qualification. Jesus knew that he was loved by the Father, but having it said so clearly and so boldly deepens its truth on a human level. Jesus knew that he was loved. Nevertheless, it needed to be said aloud and heard distinctly.

When Jesus spoke of the Father, he spoke about him in that deep way which reflected the Father’s love for all his children. He is the welcoming parent who wants all his children to come home and be with him forever.

What a wonderful and powerful gift it is that the Father gives Jesus on the day of his Baptism: the assurance that the Father loved him and stood by him.
At our Baptism, God speaks those same words to each of us: “You are my beloved child. I am pleased with you.” We need to hear those words and allow them to guide our lives, just as Jesus did. It makes an enormous amount of difference to know that the Father loves us unconditionally and forever. No matter what we do, God loves us. No matter how far we stray, God stays with us. We do not earn God’s love and we can never lose it. It seems so simple to say, but it is the truth. We need to say it and hear it and believe it. It makes all the difference in the world for how we live.

When we get up in the morning and know that we are loved, the day starts out on the right foot; when we go to bed at night and realize that it was not a great day, we can tell ourselves that we are still loved by God, so how bad could it be.

The story of the Baptism of Jesus reminds us of that truth in his life and what a difference it made. Let us grasp that truth for ourselves. Remember how God whispered to us on the day of our Baptism: you are my beloved child, I am pleased with you. We may have forgotten that. Let us pray that our memory be jogged so that we live as and treat one another as God’s beloved children. People on whom God’s favor rests.

A Vincentian View: Maranatha

Fr. Pat Griffin of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission reminds us that Maranatha speaks of the hope that the Lord will come again soon.  But we also hear the reminder of our need to come to the Lord who has taken flesh among us.

An Aramaic word associated with the Christmas as well as the Advent Season is “maranatha.”  When one divides this word in one way, “marana tha,” it means “O Lord, come” and proclaims the wish for arrival or early return of the Lord.  When one divides the word another way, “maran atha,” it means “The Lord has come” and is a creedal affirmation.  (You have probably heard the word pronounced both ways.) Both senses of the word have importance and emphasize the Seasons. At Christmas, we celebrate, in particular, his presence.  Perhaps, we also hear the reminder of our need to come to the Lord who has taken flesh among us.

In these Christmas days, the Scripture and our liturgy present us with a variety of people who come to see the Christ child. Various factors draw them to him. The magi will come due to the movement of a star; they follow it to where the Holy Family gathers. The shepherds will come because of a vision of angels who tell them where to find “a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”  In days to come, we can hear of the aged Anna, a representative of Israel’s prophetic tradition, who makes her way to Jesus because she never left the Temple but could always be found there worshipping with fasting and prayer. Simeon, another representative of faithful Israel, will make an appearance in the Temple because of an assurance that he will behold the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to his people.  When he sees Jesus, he proclaims what we have come to call the “Nunc dimittis,” a prayer that indicates his readiness to die because he has witnessed that the light of salvation has come to Israel.

Different reasons draw each of these people to the newborn Jesus.  All of them find in him something for which they had waited and searched.  In these Christmas days, the bidding to come to the Lord extends to us.  We can find in him the focus of our hope and possibilities, but we must take the call seriously.  We must find our way to the one who has come by opening our eyes and ears, but especially our hearts.  We may not be guided by the direction of angels or the movement of a star—though who knows what form these guides may take in the lives of each of us.  Perhaps our path will be more like that of Anna and Simeon who encounter the Lord through their fidelity to their place of worship and trust in promises heard there.

Or, perhaps, we can draw closer to the Lord through the recognition of the blessing of a family and the life which comes to birth in that holy place.  Or, perhaps, we can recognize him in the hovels of the poor who can find no shelter in a better place, or in the sufferings of the innocents whose lives are taken without concern, or in the immigrants and refugees who must flee their homelands.  All of these form part of our Scripture and liturgical stories as well.  One can also discern the presence of the Lord in these places, but we must be ready to seek and find.  It is a natural invitation for a Vincentian.  Maranatha.

Jesus Focus on the Truth

In his weekly reflection for famvin.org, Fr. Pat Griffin of the Eastern Province raises an excellent question. How prepared are we to follow Jesus’ focus on the truth in our lives?

Last Sunday, we celebrated the solemnity of Christ the King, a day in which we acknowledge that Jesus rules over everyone and everything.

The Gospel for the day, however, places the Lord far from his royal throne. As a prisoner, he comes before the unbelieving Pilate who questions him about his kingship. Jesus answers in a way that Pilate could never comprehend. He says:

“For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Jesus describes his kingship in terms of the truth.  It is a wonderful connection, and one which becomes evident.  The whole reason for the Incarnation, the entire public ministry of Jesus, centers upon revealing the heart of God to the human family.

Jesus focuses upon the truth.  He has neither time nor patience for compromise or hidden elements. When Jesus speaks to people, he invites them to confront the reality about themselves. He does so with great compassion and understanding, but he wants always to reveal and deal with the genuine in a person’s life. If they need to repent, he speaks the words of forgiveness. If they want to reexamine the priorities in their lives, he readily offers recommendations and direction. If they seek answers, he often suggests better questions and issues. Jesus consistently directs himself towards uncovering and proclaiming the truth. The religious leaders of his time would have been a lot happier with him if he would have been less absolute, but that was not his way. Prepared to speak the truth, he would embrace whatever consequences arose from this decision. He speaks about himself as “the way, the truth, and the life,” as the “true bread which came down from heaven,” as the “true vine.”  Accepting Jesus always moves one towards seeking and living with the truth.

How challenging is that for us?  Are you prepared to look at the truth in your life? Can you recognize your own weakness of body and spirit, yet choose to act in the best way that you can? Are you ready to confront your own sinfulness and acknowledge your need for forgiveness and a change of life?  Can you hear the words of the Gospel and allow their challenge to address you personally? Jesus invites us each day to listen to his testimony to the truth. In doing so, we recognize him as our King and choose to follow his word and his example. We belong to the truth.

Vincent speaks of simplicity in relation to the truth, but also humility:

Humility has this peculiar property, that it hinders us from aiming at any esteem but yours, O my God, who give to things their proper value. Human beings do not know their true value. Is not the role of a fool to prefer the esteem of the world to yours, the shadow to the substance, a lie to the truth?

The Wisdom of Widows

Father Pat Griffin of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission writes on FamVin of the generosity of the poor in The Wisdom of Widows. His reflection serves as a backdrop to the challenge of St. John Paul II to Americans gathered in Yankee Stadium in 1979.

“The poor of the United States and of the world are your brothers and sisters in Christ. You must never be content to leave them just the crumbs from the feast. You must take of your substance, and not just of your abundance, in is order to help them. And you must treat them like guests at your family table.”

One can easily discern the thinking of the authors of the Lectionary in bringing together the two stories which were proclaimed on this past Sunday.  We heard two tales about widows and unmatched generosity.  I cannot help but to be drawn to Jesus’ telling of the actions of the widow and her mite in the Gospel.  It seems like such an important example for him in teaching his followers about the meaning of discipleship.  Yet the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath remains compelling.

One can imagine the situation of this woman and her son.  The drought which had afflicted the land had brought suffering into the lives of many people, and especially the poor.  She had made ends meet to the best of her ability for some time, but now she had only the remnant at the bottom of her jar of flour and jug of oil.  One can envision simply some dust of grain and a little moisture of olive remained between her family and starvation.  Into this situation arrives the prophet Elijah. He makes an extraordinary request of her, even knowing her desperate situation. “Before you make something for your family to eat, make something for me to eat.”  Difficult as it is to conceive of these words emerging from his mouth, they do. The judgment as well as the generosity of the woman comes into play. What will she do? Does the request of this hungry man carry weight at the expense of her son’s life (not to mention her own)?

The story suggests to us a meditation on the generosity of the poor, the kinds of demands that a “prophet” places on a people, and the cost of trust in God’s care.  In some ways, one might characterize it as a confrontation of the pragmatic vs. the providential.

Without fail, those who have had regular contact with the poor have experienced their generosity.  Even though a family may have little to eat, they “kill the fatted calf” to provide for an honored guest.  Sometimes, when one knows (or suspects) the whole story, embarrassment can fill the visitor because of this hidden extravagance.  Missionaries and ministers to those who are poor can tell these types of experiences with ease and energy.  The truth emphasizes the willingness of the poor to share what they have and unequally with those who come among them to speak of the Lord.  In Sunday’s Gospel, our Scriptures held out to us the examples of the widow and her mite; we can also look to the story of the boy with the barley loaves, and many others.  The poor can give of themselves and their resources with an open hand.

The “prophet” places demands even on those who have little.  Jesus employs the action of the widow with her mite as the model for altruism.  The truth always recognizes the existence of someone who has less than a particular person. Charity, which places another in the place of special care, benefits the poor as well as the rich.  In proclaiming the Gospel, the missionary must speak this word with clarity and without embarrassment.  The smallness of the gift does not define the issue, but the largeness of the heart which provides.  Jesus tells those who would choose to be his disciples to “sell all and come follow me.” That holds true for every follower. The poor should not be denied the opportunity to be generous, even in their limited way.

The widow of Zarephath must place her trust in the words which the prophet Elijah speaks to her in order to act in this situation.  When she does, her faith is rewarded.  That benefit, however, does not describe the experience of everyone who trusts.  Sometimes the Lord has a different plan, and that too requires acceptance. Jesus’ surrender of himself to the will of the Father which leads to the cross provides a parade example of trust in the Divine care and the path which it may take.

The story of the Widow of Zarephath with the prophet Elijah makes us thoughtful and invites us to consider the cost and meaning of generosity.  The lesson stands comfortably beside that of the widow and her mite.  We are taught by their wisdom and trust.

 

Belonging to God

In “Belong to God’ Father Pat Griffin of the Eastern Province raises a very question we each need to ask of ourselves. “What do we do and say which gives evidence of this truth of “belonging to God” as described for us in the Beatitudes?”

A Vincentian View: “Belonging to God”

All of us know what a seal is.  In our day, it may take the form of a logo or insignia or symbol which is on a shirt or a scarf or a car or almost anything else.  When we see that emblem, we know who made that object and who claims the credit for the design.  A seal is like that; it marks something as belonging to a certain person or group. And so, for example, we have the seal of the Congregation or the Company which indicates who we are and to what we dedicate ourselves.

[This post originally appeared on FamVin.org.]

 

In the ancient world, a seal was often something which was burned or carved into an object to identify its owner.  Or it might be pressed into hot wax to close and authorize a letter or contract.  The seal would announce to whoever saw this object or letter that it belonged to somebody.

In the first reading from the Solemnity of All Saints, we have powerfully evocative imagery for the end time which is organized around a seal.  Listen:

I, John, saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

The image suggests God’s ownership and care for those who are his own.  These people are the ones who have been faithful and they are marked with this seal. We can imagine what it says: “Belonging to the Lord God.”  All those who had been faithful; all those who had lived their lives in keeping with the teachings of the beatitudes which we hear in the Gospel today are marked with this seal.  They belong to God and no one else.

On the Solemnity of All Saints, we remember all those who have gone before us and lived their lives faithfully—those who strove, not always perfectly but with desire—to be good men and women who lived that intent to the end. We know people like this.  We have had relatives and friends who made God the most important value in their lives and who wanted to advance God’s kingdom by their faithful living and actions.  We should think of them as Saints and envision them in the presence of God.  We can say that they lived their lives marked with the symbol of the one to whom they surrendered all:  “Belonging to the Lord God.”

What about us?  Are we sealed with the symbol of the Living God?  Are our foreheads marked with the words:  “Belonging to the Lord God.”  When people see us, what will be the ways in which they will discern this sign?  Perhaps, one of the ways is in our fidelity to living the Beatitudes as described by Jesus.

“Belonging to God” is the attitude captured in the Beatitudes which Jesus proclaims in the Gospel for All Saints.  These promises give evidence of our being servants of our God and sealed with his Spirit:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for they belong to God.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they belong to God.

Blessed are the meek,
for they belong to God. . . .

What do we do and say which gives evidence of this truth of “belonging to God” as described for us in the Beatitudes?  We can reflect upon this possibility as we think about those who have gone before us and are numbered among the saints of God.  We pray that we might be so faithful as to join in their number.  We ask for their intercession before our attentive God.  In truth, God wants each of us to bear his seal, to belong to him, to demonstrate that truth by faithful living.  We are all called to be holy, and the means is no secret.  The Lord tells us how and strengthens us in our resolve.