Graphic courtesy of Pixabay

We spend our lifetime waking up!

 I kept thinking I knew

I kept thinking I knew what being a Vincentian meant but then I learned more.

  • In 1959 when I made my first vows
  • In 1965 when I was ordained
  • In 1990 when I celebrated 25th anniversary

Then in 1993 I had a severe automobile accident and I discovered even more. I reached a much deeper level of vows while laying in intensive care for 10 days. For more on that story

Each year I appreciate more the words of an 81-year-old Benedictine monk, Bede Griffith. “ I learned more in the last year and in my previous 80.” He kept waking up to more of reality.

They thought they knew

Vincent de Paul thought he knew what he wanted from life. Events of Chatillon and Follevile woke him up to the reality of spiritual abandonment and physical misery of those on the margins. But the insights of Chatillon and Folleville took him a lifetime to unpack. In his later years, he spoke often of his constant amazement as he unpacked the connection with subsequent events.

Louise de Marillac had hoped to spend her life in a convent but was refused. Then she thought she might find what she was looking for in her marriage and her children. Finally, she woke up to the needs of the world around her and became the principle formator of the generous young peasant women who wanted to serve their less fortunate sisters and brothers.

Frederic Ozanam began using his intellect as a staunch defender of the faith until he was challenged by an atheist. As a result of his exposure to those on the margins as he accompanied Sr. Rosalie on her rounds, he became the champion of the marginalized of his day.

Elizabeth Ann Seton had it all – privilege, security and a loving marriage. She then lost it all but went on to discover the Eucharist. She found so much more and on the way to sanctity, laid the foundations for the Catholic school system and the Daughters of Charity in the United States.

By paying attention they all woke up to so much more than the initially dreamed.

 Lent as a time for waking up.

Too often we think of Lent as a time for giving things up. But it is so much more. Lent is a time for waking up. The root meaning of repent is to change your way of thinking. Put another way… Waking up to the meaning of Mathew 25 “whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters you do unto me”.

I have been giving a lot of thought to waking up as a Vincentian and the meaning of “He has sent me to bring good news to the poor.” I am beginning to realize that St. Vincent left us his own “spiritual exercises”… the five Vincentian virtues. So this Lent I am focusing on waking up with the exercise of Vincent’s way of bringing “good news”.

  • Honest (Simplicity)
  • Approachable (Meekness)
  • Self-disciplined (Mortification)
  • Realistic (Humility)
  • Hard working (Zeal for souls)

The Eastern Province is offering a series of one-minute videos each day of Lent.  In these videos, a wide cross-section of people share their experiences of waking up.

Aids to waking up

  • Sharing the one-minute video of waking up experiences of others.
  • Asking myself what did I learn today.

This post first appeared on Famvin