Landing the Kingdom

“Landing the Kingdom” (Mk 4:26-34) us the title of Fr. Tom McKenna’s bi-weekly reflection on FamVin. He offers a challenge to name and recognize the imprint of grace in the reality of our lives.

Jesus’ words and parables show a deep love for reality all around him. A careful observer, he puts much of this world into his proclamation, painting his Good News with colors from the daily lives of his hearers. To convey the irresistibility of his Father’s Kingdom, he images the hidden seed sprouting under the ground. To highlight its tiny beginnings, he draws on the minuscule mustard kernel which grows into the largest plant in the garden. With imagination and creativity, he opens his listener’s eyes to the New Era already breaking into their old one.

 

Vincent de Paul shows much the same instinct. More than one person has commented on the broad range of metaphors from everyday life salted through his writings. In an article on freedom, Fr. Robert Maloney details Vincent’s image-conscious approach, delivering his message through familiar objects such as silk thread, trees and carriage horses. In another place, Fr. John Rybolt catalogs the menagerie of animals Vincent drew upon to illustrate his points — all the way from barnyard cows, sheep, dogs and cats over to the more exotic whales and lions. Like his master, Vincent wanted people to find the divine presence inside the boundaries of everyday experience.

 

A recent book about preaching was titled Naming Grace. It depicts the homilist’s primary task as sifting through the events of modern-day life and then picking out places in it where grace has made its imprint. In line with Jesus’ and Vincent’s approach, this counteracts a tendency to distance the Holy Spirit from life as we know it.  The Kingdom of God is in our midst, all three insist, and naming its movements as they circle through present-day experience furthers this claim. The homilist with eyes to see spots that presence stirring in the world and sets it inside topography hearers can recognize.

Immersed in life on the margins and expecting to find the face of The Lord in it, members of Vincent’s family resonate with this real-world approach. Not bound by the written page, the gospel they enact takes on flesh in the ordinary round. Messengers who tie links between it and everyday living bring color and impact to its power. With such imagination, we follow behind The Lord and indeed behind Vincent — whose creativity “extends to infinity.”

Along His Way

In his bi-weekly reflection, Fr. Tom McKenna of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission invites us to reflect on the difference between telling people about Jesus and walking with Jesus along his way. [His post first appeared on FamVin.]

Along The Way (Acts: 22)

When St. Paul looks back to the days before his ground-shaking conversion, he remembers hounding not a doctrine or set of teachings or even a religion. Rather, he persecuted a “Way,” a road to walk along that heads in a definite direction and sets the pace and style for the traveler.

He proclaims he came upon this “Way” through personal encounter with the light and the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then came the healing from Ananias and the three years in the Arabian desert, further steps in taking in Who it was he met on this road before he can begin to give first-hand testimony that this way is “The Way.” Note that he doesn’t merely tell of Jesus, but invites people into Jesus, calling them into relationship with him. Not just instructing, Paul puts them in his presence.

I pick up on this expression “Way” because one of the premier commentators on St. Vincent, Andre Dodin, cites how pivotal this image is for appreciating who Vincent is and how he acted. Dodin lists the many efforts made to categorize our Saint, putting him into this school or that, making him a disciple of a master like Francis de Sales or Vincent Ferrer, all in the attempt to systematize him. But none of them come off. Vincent never fits snugly inside any abstraction because rather than exemplifying a theory, he lives a “Way.” His originality flows from his life and experience, from his walking along that Way. And so for instance, it’s not the case that he first thinks about what love is and then takes a resolution to love others.  Rather walking with the living God, he first loves and brings that loving into all his words and activities. He acts out the love he’s already begun to live.

What he’s moving from is the love the Lord Jesus has poured out on him and the return love Vincent gives. Filled with the person of Jesus Christ, Vincent like Paul walks the Way, strides along this road which follows behind Jesus’ intentions and instincts. Vincent doesn’t just talk about Jesus but introduces him, invites people into his presence. “Come onto this road and meet the Lord as I’m meeting him,” is his message.

Every day can be a setting out on this Way, an intentional stepping onto the path lit by Lord’s light shining in and around us. Each day is another opportunity to move past our book knowledge of the Lord and into the fuller encounter that arises from walking along with Him.  This is both Paul and Vincent steadily learning “The Way.” This is Vincent’s family today giving themselves to God’s purposes, and then inviting those around to step also onto that Spirit-led path.

Stretching Toward the Kingdom

Stretching Toward The Kingdom (Mark 2:20-22)

In his reflection this week Fr. Thomas Mckenna of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission reminds us that “Jesus is bringing us a new world, the world of his Father’s Kingdom. It won’t fit snugly over the previous forms of serving God and neighbor – and as a matter of fact, will crack them open if they don’t loosen and allow in the freshness.”

A key theme in a recent workshop on intercultural living was stretching – the oftentimes painful effort needed to expand our perspectives and widen our view of what true and valuable. Coming to understand and then appreciate how others view their world requires a lot more than gaining a concept. It asks us to work through the fears of stepping into unknown spaces and to push out against the boundaries of present experience.

When a person doesn’t stretch a worldview but hunkers down inside it, nothing ever changes, nothing novel enters. Keeping tight and secure boundaries is a formula not just for isolation but also for resisting anything that’s different.  No stretching, no ability to take in the newly given riches.

And isn’t that what Jesus touches on in Mark’s second chapter? If the cloth is old and rigid, any newer more pliable fabric will pull away from it. If the wineskin is brittle and doesn’t bend, it won’t withstand the expansion any new wine brings.

What Jesus is bringing is a new world, the world of his Father’s Kingdom. It won’t fit snugly over the previous forms of serving God and neighbor – and as a matter of fact will crack them open if they don’t loosen and allow in the freshness.

The jostling that happened in the early Church is a good instance of this. Jesus proclaims that God’s plan is for everyone, Jew and Gentile, man and woman, slave and free.  But for some, the boundary of God’s reign was drawn primarily around Israel and couldn’t be expanded to take in its vastly wider scope. So buckling under the strain, the Jerusalem church eventually shrivels while the Gentile one prospers.

We see Vincent de Paul tugging at the old cloth of a tradition that all religious women should remain behind the walls of a cloister. Stirred by new needs of a new time, Vincent pushed against these structures and with his Confraternities and Daughters of Charity injected some of Jesus’ suppleness into the fixed forms of the day.

In these weeks of remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., similar lessons arise for race relations. The unbending wineskins of white privilege hold any number of assumptions about whom should be given first place. Dr. King’s challenge to insert more elasticity into the skin of that calcified view echoes Jesus’ overall call to keep extending the boundaries of the Kingdom’s justice.

The warmth of Jesus Spirit forever blows over frozen forms and practices of the status quo, softening them to take in the newness coming from The Father’s Hand. Though this stretching exacts its cost, is this not the price of “Thy Kingdom Come.”

Landing and Soaking In

Landing and Soaking In (Mt. 4: 12-25)

A Christmas card I received has God speaking these words: “My light hovers over you searching for a place to land. I want you to let my light soak into your mind and heart.”

These phrases came to mind when reading in St. Matthew (4:12-25) about the day Jesus left his home town and “came into the land of Zebulon and Naphtali.” These were the dark regions which Isaiah prophesied would see a great light, the somber places overshadowed by death out of which that great brilliance would arise. And it’s in the glow of that promised light that Jesus’ preaching and curing begins.

[This post first appeared on FamVin]

What Jesus does is look for places for that light to land — and then have it penetrate. In some situations the light is blocked and so bounces off. In other places it not only sets itself down but begins to soak into peoples’ minds and hearts.

That double action of the light, landing and then sinking in, provides an underlying clue to the whole direction of Jesus’ ministry. He searches for receptive places in which to drop the light-filled seeds of his Kingdom — and then he nurtures them so that their light can begin to penetrate.

Isn’t this what followers like St. Vincent were always trying to do: find some landing place for God’s Word and then do what’s possible to let it take root. For him, the drop zone was the world of the poor, both the poor ones themselves and those who had eyes to notice and value them. And doesn’t all the creativity, energy and labors of his many projects describe this Divine Light as it’s soaking in to his time and place?

Isn’t that what any proclaimer of the Gospel sets out to do, find the receptive place and then nourish what gets planted there.
Think of believers today who search their world for areas of openness to Jesus’ message — the evangelizers on college campuses, the spiritual writers whose words strike chords in hearts, the preachers who weave believable connections between the gospel and the rest of life. Think of Pope Francis who is always looking for gospel openings in today’s world — the environment, economic systems, the thirst for joy. Think even of the current scandals in the Church which in a reverse and even painful way are opening up new paths of reform and hopefully also ways to grow that reform.

So God says, “My light hovers over you searching for a place to land. I want my light to soak into your mind and heart.” Isn’t this Jesus setting out from Nazareth on his mission? Isn’t this each of us trying to follow behind, going forth and doing likewise?

“Honor” The Hidden Life 

In a reflection entitled “Honor the Hidden Life”, Fr. Tom McKenna of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission reminds us that “The Kingdom advances both in the limelight and off in the shadows.” [The reflection first appeared on FamVin.]

“Honor” The Hidden Life (Luke 2: 50-52)

Among the early church writings that didn’t make it onto the official list (canon) was The Infancy Gospel of Thomas. It relates the boyhood of Jesus and casts him as a kind of First Century Superchild. Precociously aware of his unique relationship with God, he sets out to demonstrate this status by any number of spectacular deeds which foreshadow his adult miracles. Conscious of his oneness with The Father, this young Jesus uses it to highlight his identity.

The contrast between this boyhood scenario and the one St. Luke gives at the end of his second chapter is striking and instructive. Luke records that day in the Temple day when the twelve-year-old comes to realize his unique calling from God. But rather than following up with a show of marvels, Jesus simply goes along with his parents’ wishes to return home. And in those years between adolescence and public ministry there’s only silence, only the anonymity of what writers have termed The Hidden Life.

Over the decades Vincent de Paul’s attention turned again and again to these obscure years. He thought them a paradigm for steady service given over the long haul, service unrecognized and even taken for granted. Hearing the discouragement of a Daughter of Charity, he counseled her to “honor the Hidden Life in Nazareth, “honor” here meaning to take this Lukan incident to heart and mull over its lessons both in prayer and in ministry. More than once in responding to complaints from his priests that they weren’t getting enough credit, Vincent would prescribe meditation on these verses as a salve for their bruised feelings.

That preference to remain unnoticed Vincent injected into the genes of his followers – and for a very practical reason. Helping those living beyond society’s purview can often hide those who help them. Much ministry carried out by Vincent’s disciples today is “off to the side,” beyond the public view. If recognition were a condition for service, many of The Family’s projects and concerns would go untended. Vincent’s advice to meditate on Jesus’ Temple incident is as current as ever. The Lord’s waking to his life’s call didn’t bring with it the need to stand out in his world. He followed his Father’s will not only on the stage of history but also in the very ordinary life of a backwater country village. The Kingdom advances both in the limelight and off in the shadows.

Light Through the Darkness

Fr. Tom McKenna of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission,  reminds us that there are moments of pain and suffering sprinkled through narratives of the birth of Christ, He asks why? What might this mean for Vincentians?

Light Through Darkness (Lk. 1-2)

In this season of the light of Jesus’ birth overcoming the darkness and the cold, it seems to go against the grain to pick out notes of death and suffering. They come through in scarcely noticed sidebars such as Mary’s unease at the Angel’s announcement, Herod’s treacherous request to the three Kings, the innkeeper’s refusal to take in the expectant couple, and Simeon’s warning about swords in the future. How does this dying strain fit into such a life-giving happening? It’s a question that extends well beyond the infancy narrative, all the way to the child’s eventual demise on a cross.

One frame to interpret this juxtaposition of dark and light was the 4th Century approach of St. Anselm known as substitutionary atonement. In it, the honor of God the Father was so tarnished by humanity’s sins that it could be refurbished only by the selfless act of a sin-free person — by the death of God’s own Son. In recent years many have come to recast Jesus’ suffering in a very different light. Rather than the payment due an insulted and angry God, it’s interpreted as part of an unbreakable assurance of God’s nearness, a pledge that even (and especially) in the dreadful dying of Jesus, God hovers close. This freely accepted death communicates solidarity, not anger. It reveals the Spirit’s abiding throughout life and particularly in those fear-filled moments leading up to life’s final hour.

Given this context, the darker notes in the Christmas story can better harmonize with its overriding message: Emmanuel, God is with us. Though threat lurks in the shadows, underlying it is the divine assurance that we don’t face these menaces alone. The darker current running against the Holy Family is not a piece of some price paid out to an offended Father but is the reverse side of the more luminous undercurrent: God is always drawing near. It conveys accompaniment rather than repayment.

The Vincentian call to walk with those who live in darkness resonates here. Service to people who are poor often brings us into contact with somber and even death-dealing situations. But the Christmas truth is that God’s light suffuses the dimness of those times and in the end beats back the encroaching darkness. Though perhaps poetic-sounding in the face of discouragement, these light-filled stories bring substance to the claim that we’re not alone in that dark, that God encircles us with what mystics have called a dazzling darkness, that in the depths of the night God’s arrival coming dawn breaks through.

Though there’s a dark thread spooling through all the light, even that bit gives off a hopeful message if we interpret it rightly. The all loving God is accompanying us just there. In Jesus, the divine compassion draws near both in the bright events of life and just as much in the cloud-covered ones.

The Kingdom Interpretation

In The Kingdom Interpretation (Mk 12:44-48) Fr. Tom McKenna, CM of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission offers a challenging insight for all who claim to be followers of Christ the King. Think about ” stepping into his shoes” such that I start to look at the world the way Jesus does”

The Kingdom Interpretation (Mk 12:44-48)

To profess myself a Christian is to profess a desire – and that desire is to follow behind the Lord, Jesus Christ. Perhaps “follow behind” doesn’t quite get to the heart of it. It’s more accurately a “stepping into his shoes” such that I start to look at the world the way Jesus does, start to catch the meanings he reads as he looks out at life.

One clear instance of Jesus catching a certain meaning is what occurs in the Gospel story of the poverty-stricken widow slipping up to the collection box in the Temple and dropping in her last penny. Many things are going on there, the disciples and many others standing around, conversing, contributing money and jewels, passing the time of day – a whole raft of activities. How do the different people there “read” what’s happening there? How do they interpret the scene?

Interpretation, as you’d know, is a lined-up perception of what it is that stands out to the perceiver. So a woman with an eye for dress is taken with the fashionable clothes of the donors. A man who is jealous of anyone who has more sees rich people showing off. Individuals take in the scene according to what’s uppermost in their minds, as if each has a different lens through which they’re watching. In other words, it’s not only what they see, but it’s what is inside them that lets them see what they see. What someone notices is very revealing of what is going on inside that person.

What does Jesus see there in the crowded Temple? Of all the possibilities, he spies this elderly widow off to the side shuffling up to the basket and dropping in her two pennies. And he tunes into not only what she’s doing but how and why she’s doing it. Mostly invisible to everyone there, she lights up on Jesus’ screen.

And that is because of what is going on inside him, this immense backdrop against which he sees everything – the wrap-around compassion of his beloved Father, this expanse of goodness and love Jesus calls the Kingdom of God. Looking through this lens, he notices the behaviors and attitudes that sync with what existence is like inside that Kingdom, that world of abundant mercy and concern for the other. Unlike everyone else in the room, his inner stance lets him spot the selfless, generous thing she’s doing. He’s moving from a “Kingdom perspective,” the one that privileges the pure of heart, and the peacemakers, and those who thirst after justice, and all those other beatitude traits. What comes off the page for Jesus are just these qualities as he interprets the scene through the lens of what counts in his Father’s world.

We come to a place (a church) and an activity (the Lord’s Last Supper) which are designed to open up that Kingdom lens. These and our whole Vincentian tradition are vivid backdrops against which we would look out at our world. They call us to relook at life and once again size up counts and what doesn’t. They summon us to recalibrate what’s important and what’s less so. They challenge us to reassess what attitudes and actions come first to our attention.

All our worship and prayer and our Vincentian practices are meant to take us inside and behind Jesus’ eyes, to lead us into his way of perceiving. They would have us “step into his shoes” and view the world from just that stance.  Following the Lord Jesus means more than doing what he does. It means coming to see as He sees, developing our ability to react with his reactions, and catching those meanings of his dear Father which he picks out in all the corners of life.

Just because of who He is, Jesus zeroes in on the poor but very generous widow. Because of whom we’re called to follow in our faith, because of examples like Vincent and Louise and Frederick, and especially because we are continually invited to share in the Lord’s Eucharistic supper, we become more and more able to spot and do the Father’s will not just as it is in heaven but, in the words of the Our Father, as it is here on this earth.

Sacred Speech – Good Deeds

In his usual “on the mark” manner, Fr. Tom McKenna of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, hits the target directly about not only preaching the Good News but also being Good News.

Testifying (Luke 9:1-2) (This reflection first appeared on FamVin.org)

Reading Luke’s account of the disciples being sent out, I put myself in the shoes of one of those 70 individuals directed to go forth and proclaim the Good News that in Jesus, God’s forgiving compassion is drawing near. How would I feel were I told to get up from my 21st Century recliner to go out on the street and announce this message? I’d have to say a bit awkward, a little too “evangelical,” like that person next to you on the plane who flat out asks, “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” It seems too straightforward, too fundamentalist.

Recently I had some of that reticence ruffled when attending a talk by some groups who have come onto college campuses using this more direct approach. Not as bold-faced as the abrupt “Do you accept Jesus?,” their strategy was first to get to know the students by inviting them into a circle of friends. Then in the context of conversation about what really matters in life, they bring up what Jesus has meant to them personally in this search for meaning.  Their approach made me question my own leaning toward the more indirect tactic, testifying more by the way I try to live than by direct talk about my religious convictions.
In that frame of mind, I came across two writings that pressed further against my hesitancies.

The first was from St. Vincent, “Let us give ourselves to God, Messieurs, to go throughout the world to carry his holy Gospel, and wherever He may lead us let us stand by our post and observe our practices until it is His good pleasure to withdraw us from it. (CCD:XI, 365).

The second was a recent article in the New York Times(10/14), “We Need to Talk about God.” The author cited a finding that the overwhelming majority Americans say they don’t feel comfortable talking about faith, and a mere seven percent report having regular conversations about things religious. A corroborating survey revealed that the use of spiritual words (like patience, gentleness, faithfulness, compassion) is noticeably on the wane, showing that more and more individuals have grown inarticulate about God’s presence in life.

Could thoughts like these be prompts to become less guarded and more upfront about who The Lord is in my life and how much His presence matters? Could the Spirit be asking me to power down on some of my reticence to speak about faith? Granted one would have to steer clear of the quick-fix tone of some TV preachers, but couldn’t religious witnessing be a little louder, a little more “out there” in an ordinary day. Granting also such talk would have to avoid the holier-than-thou vibe that believers can sometime give off, might I still take a small step across the embarrassment line to more explicit faith testimony?

The author of the Times article observes how starkly this reticence to speak stands against the history of Christianity which has always spread its message through sacred speech — and good deeds. With his repeated insistence, St. Vincent doubles down on this charge to proclaim the good news in both word and action. Done too glibly or mechanically, such proclaiming can come across as “cheap grace.” But when hardly announced at all, the Good News will continue to have its volume lowered and power lessened.

Why Does the Word of God Bounce Off Us?

Fr. Tom Mckenna of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, in a post that originally appeared on FamVin, reflects on our obstacles to listening.

“On Listening” (Luke 11: 16, 29-31)

One of the most gratifying compliments is to hear that you listen well. It conveys another’s feeling that something of his or her inner self has gotten through, that not just the words but the deeper resonances of those words have registered. Shallow listening habits are many and include such things as claiming the other’s experience (“That happened to me too and I know all about it”), not tuning into the feeling under the person’s voice, concluding that you’ve heard it all before, being mentally elsewhere, and so on. Fuller listening takes practice, discipline, openness, and a willingness to drop preconceptions.

In Luke’s gospel especially, Jesus praises listening and is critical of its opposite. The Pharisees have been after him for a “sign,” some clear-as-day revelation of God’s power. And Jesus goes back at them for their tone-deafness to the sounds of God ringing through their ears right then and there. He cites Jonah whose preaching in the streets of Nineveh caught the hearts of the hard-hearted citizens of that town. He brings up this foreigner Queen who when she walked into Solomon’s court dropped her certainties and let herself be moved by the graciousness of his wisdom.  But now this God-filled person in their midst, Jesus himself, speaks God’s Word directly to them — and it bounces off. How is it that people so close up to the human presence of God can miss the force of his words and actions?

It’s a question for anyone who would follow close behind the Lord Jesus. What preoccupations deaden our hearing to the words he speaks — and The Word he is?

There’s what we might call over-familiarity. Because we’ve heard these gospel stories countless times over, it’s a temptation to think there’s little newness left in them. But as carriers of God’s limitless word, they have a depth and scope that always reaches out beyond our full comprehension. New situations in person’s life can shake new meanings out of these texts. New conditions in society can unlock significance previously missed. Plain old growing older causes a listener to hear these proclamations from this different ledge in life. Listened to with care, Gospel words can peel back the filters familiarity pastes on them.

Another is insufficient preparation, not getting ready. It’s been age old Christian practice to do things like: slow down one’s breathing, put oneself in the presence of God, express thanksgiving, ask the Spirit for openness, visualize the gospel scene, etc. Heartfelt listening requires a shift of consciousness, a move away from what’s taking my immediate attention to attune to what is being said. The hectic, hyper-connected pace of modern living raises the ante here. Not to slow down before approaching the Word of God most often blunts its impact and deadens its saving sound.

A third is having too narrow an expectation of where the Word is being spoken. For sure that saving message comes in the Scriptures and through the sacraments and religious reading. But as the Creator’s very presence, it shows itself in many more places. Vincent for one could read God’s writing on the hearts of the neglected of his time. Thomas Aquinas could decipher it in the writings of people outside the pale of Christianity. Theresa of Avila caught its demands in her work of organizing and stabilizing. Pope Francis detects it not only in the riches of nature but also in the emergency rooms of this world. God’s Word plays in ten thousand places, says the poet, and the effort to listen with a wider hearing is the call Jesus issues all through his ministry.

It’s those two distraught people walking the Emmaus road who put a face on Luke’s lesson. Tempted to “know it all” even before the Stranger begins to explain, they hold back and strain to keep their ears open to what he says. Doing that, they are soon enough opening their hearts to Who He is.

The Ministry of Encouragement

In his usual engaging style, Fr. Tom McKenna, CM of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission,  reminds us the importance of the ministry of encouragement and its deep roots in the Vincentian Family. [His reflection first appeared on FamVin.]

There’s a wonderfully comforting image in the Letter to the Hebrews which has special application to us in Vincent’s Family. The author sets out to build up his struggling fellow believers and does this through a memorable image. He asks them to imagine themselves surrounded by a friendly and glowing cloud — a cloud of witnesses. These are the faithful people who from their own striking stories give personal testimony to the constant flow of God’s presence running through life. Such active encouragement given in difficult times can make all the difference, especially at pressured moments.

Stepping out of that cloud bank in this happy season of his Feast Day is our own Vincent de Paul, a beacon for so much good done on behalf of people on the margins. Alive in God’s Spirit in this moment, he gives that encouragement right now from that cloud. But it is also confirming to know how, during his lifetime, he spent countless hours and reams of paper in this very pursuit of building up and pumping energy into people’s service and belief. Skimming over his thousands of letters, you constantly discover entries whose sole aim is to build up the courage and determination of his co-workers. The orphanages, houses for street people and relief campaigns for the starving were anything but easy to maintain for the long haul. Knowing from his own experience the heavy toll these ministries exacted, Vincent was especially conscious of the need for steady support.

Particularly in his early years does he steadily hold out this firm hand of encouragement to his celebrated collaborator, Louise de Marillac — when her spirits lagged, he was right there with his calm assurance. Over time, these roles reversed or at least equalized, with Louise streaming notes of support and inspiration to Vincent to hold him on course through his heavy winds.

This continual reassurance is a simple but underrated action – or better, service. It’s even referred to as a ministry, the ministry of encouragement which would have one person standing shoulder to shoulder with others who strain to spread the compassion and justice of the Gospel.
The New Testament features a disciple whose very name evokes this service. It’s Barnabas, literally the son (“Bar”) of encouragement (“Nabbas”). Paul missions him to go about in just that capacity — to stabilize those early struggling communities.

Barnabas could be a second name for Vincent, Louise, Frederick, and all those who would bend their arms and energies to help the neglected among God’s people. The kind of taxing services today’s Vincentian Family would provide call for a resilience and hardiness that needs the constant propping up of mutual support. Encouraging one another is a ministry that Vincent and Louise continue to shower down from that all sustaining cloud. It’s an emboldening one to which their followers are asked to continue.
For more of his reflections visit the archives of FamVin or CMEAST.