September Awareness 2011 - Parish Address on the Spirituality of the Vincentian Mission
September is the National Awareness month of the Society. During this month, we would like to encourage you to come and speak to us about the Society and how we serve the poor.
To understand what it means to a member, we would like to include you in some of the key aspects of the spirituality that defines the Vincentian Mission.
The Society was founded in revolutionary France by the Blessed Frederic Ozanam and was spiritually guided by Sr Rosalie Rendu of the Daughters of Charity. The Daughters of Charity were instituted by St Vincent de Paul himself.
St Vincent was a true Christian in that he failed and failed and kept trying. His mantra was to "love God, but let it be with the sweat of our brow and the strength of our arms". He was exceptional because he did ordinary things in an extraordinary way. In order to maintain the focus of the path he had laid out, he provided the Vincentian Mission with the following list of virtues to aspire to:
Simplicity: to just say it as it is, and be truthful
Humility: to raise your brother or sister up
Meekness: to be gentle and yet firm
Mortification: to be aware that God is more important in our lives than anything else
Zeal: to be passionate and enthusiastic.
Fundamental to living these virtues is the most vital concept of the "Imago Dei". This is the earliest description of humanity-created in the image of God. To see the person of Christ in every human being, regardless of means, creed, status, colour or circumstance, is to open up to the joy of true service.
Which brings us to ask, 'who are the poor?".
As Vincentains, we encounter Christ in every poor person we endeavour to help. He is present in every person in need. When you feed and clothe the poor, you feed and clothe Jesus himself as He said-
"what you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you do unto Me".
Our Mission to serve the poor, impoverished and desperate would be enormously challenging without the incredibly generous support of the Bryanston Parish. Your tireless contributions from money, to toothpaste to fabric off-cuts have helped us to reveal in the poor whom we encounter, the dignity they own as "Imago Dei". For this we ask God to bless you all.
The work we do would also be severely impeded without the constant support, guidance and encouragement of our treasured Father Michael. Thank you Father Michael!
We have an information table outside the Church and would like to encourage you to come and chat to us. There are also a few items on sale from the Art & Craft group that recently began in Diepsloot.
In closing, I would like to leave you with a sentiment that St Vincent de Paul frequently expressed in prayer-"I can't do this, I can't do this...but You can"" By the grace of God and with your ongoing help, we will continue to live our motto-serviens in spe-to serve in hope, the eternal hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.
by Lesley Hawkins