Listen to an audio version of this post below.
Jesus’ Mission Statement
Jesus Mission statement is short. “Bring Good News to the poor”. Six words! They were the most powerful words in his life.
And because they were the most powerful words for Jesus they became the most powerful words for Saint Vincent and St. Louise. They should be the most powerful words for us.
Keep in mind that Vincent wrestled with this his whole life long.
Rereading Eastern Province confrere Fr. John Prager’s Vincentian Spirituality and Way of Life helped me think about the meaning of theses words anew.
Here I present a few “teasers” that caught my attention.
Five characteristics of Vincentian spirituality
- God leads us into the midst of the world – In the person of Jesus God becomes inserted into our world as brother and savior. God does not save us from above nor from outside but rather as a part of humankind.
- God waits for us among the poor – Saint Vincent speaks about “encountering” Christ in the poor and rarely does he speak about “seeing” Christ in the poor.
- Christ invites us to participate in the mission – To be a missionary is to leave one’s proper world and one’s secure place in the world in order to enter the place of the poor and to accompany the poor with the gospel.
- Christ sits with us in prayer – We are invited to engage in a personal dialogue with Christ about our experience among the poor
- Christ enables us to be charitable – You say you love the poor… what are their names? Ultimately, Vincentian spirituality means we insert ourselves among the poor in order to love them as brothers and sisters.
The characteristics of Vincentian spirituality are incarnated in a lifestyle. Some thought starters…
- Formation: Does our formation create a missionary attitude of listening and adaptation?
- Dialogue with the poor: Do we approach the poor as brothers and sisters who listen to them? We have to create structures and opportunities so that the poor can speak and offer an opinion with regard to our service.
- Team work: One of the signs of the Kingdom is the building up of a community. One of the signs opposed to the Kingdom is the inability to work as a team. We need to create bonds among the branches of the Vincentian Family, other groups and with the poor themselves.
- Reflection: We have to ask what are we doing? Why do we do this in the way that we do? What are the needs of the poor? What is the origin of those needs? Who are the people that we are serving? What does the gospel tell us about our service?
The website Vincentian Mindwalk is both a process and a place.
A Vincentian Mindwalk is a process of exploring things that matter to followers of Vincent and Louise.
Vincentian Mindwalk is a place to enter into a dialog with others who seek a deeper understanding of “bringing Good News to the Poor”
Pick one of the questions that may have triggered further thought. Of course, the one you choose is a private matter. But I hope we can share using “Vincentian Mindwalk”.
PS Father Prager has been Provincial of our Province in Ecuador and now serves as Director of the Daughters of Charity in that country.
Click below to listen to an audio version of this reflection.