Is there one word you would use the describe yourself?
Happy, sad, discouraged, hopeful, frightened, secure? One or the other probably describes who you were at a given moment.
But is there a word that describes you and the whole of your life?
What one-word descriptions do you think Pope Francis and St.Vincent use to describe the whole of their lives? … sinner and wretch. Words that basically mean the same thing and certainly have negative connotations.
Pope Francis, without hesitation, when asked who he was said simply “I am a sinner”. His personal motto certainly reinforces that. “Miserando atque eligendo” In substance it means, God has mercy on me; God chose to love me. And then there is St. Vincent. Some 150 times he described himself as a “wretched sinner”. He often said he only had one sermon – the love of Goid!
I must admit that in both cases I thought differently. Either, “if they see themselves as sinners, I don’t stand a chance” or “they were just being humble, unaware of their goodness ” When compared with how they lived their lives these words just don’t seem to fit.
I have come to realize that for them these words were and are “badges of honor” telling of their awareness of being loved by God. They have transformed the meaning of these words just as we have transformed the meaning of the cross. The sign of the cross is no longer a sign ignominy but a sign we make every day to say who we are and remind ourselves we are truly loved by God!
We are God’s story…
Pope Francis recently captured this and more. I am beginning to see what they are really trying to say. We are God’s story… AND God’s storytellers
That God has first loved us before we were even born is the basic “Good News.” This is what Mary understood when she said “God who is mighty has done great things for me”. Certainly, in being chosen not only to be the Mother of God but first of all and before all else that God had loved her.
St. Vincent and Pope Francis were on to something. Simply put, unlike so many who think we have to earn God’s love, or worse, that we can make God love us…they were aware of being examples of embodiments of God’s story of love!
… AND … God’s storyteller
We are God’s story and God is sticking to that story. But there is more!
That experience of being loved turned their lives upside down. In their joy of the awareness of being loved they dedicated their lives to telling the story of God’s love helping others to see what they see.
They were and are God’s storytellers. They were filled with the urge to tell the story of a God who loves us… and all of creation from all eternity. God’s love compels us to tell God’s story in our words and deeds, even to the extent of laying down our lives, as Jesus did.
Vincentians are called to be God’s storytellers especially to the forgotten of the world. This is what it means to follow Christ, the bringer of good news!
Awareness of God’s love
- Are we awake to the Goods News that God loves us?
- Do we take time to grow in our awareness of ourselves being God’s story?
- In what ways do we tell God’s story… to whom?