FEAST OF ALL SAINTS

Posted November 1, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Matthew 5:1-9)

Jesus went up the mountain, and he began to teach them saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Reflection:

This solemnity of All Saints is a reminder and promise that through our baptism we already share in the glory of the saints whom we honor. The saints stand out as models who have been faithful to their baptismal commitment and give us courage and strength that we, too, can be faithful. We know some of the saints who have been canonized by name. And there are also countless other saints, our deceased relatives and friends among them, whom we also know by name. This multitude of faithful followers of Christ beckons us to hear what Jesus teaches in the gospel: “Blessed are you…” (Living Liturgy, p.240)

Vincentian Meditation:

The Beatitudes are a new scale of values. We might say that the Beatitudes are an invasion of God’s madness into the world of what humanity considers to be good sense. Have you ever tried to make a list of what you would consider your eight beatitudes? This could be very revealing and might show a very deep chasm between the values of our Lord and those by which we daily live. Do you feel comfortable with our Lord’s Beatitudes? Or has it been your experience, as it has been mine, that when you start to think or talk about one beatitude, you prefer to drop it because of its difficulty, and move on to another which you would consider more simple and easy? The beatitude that makes you feel most uncomfortable is probably the one that is most relevant to you personally. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.739)

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)

Who is your favorite “Saint” canonized formally or informally?

Closing Prayer:
May we work together to build up the kingdom of God, -Saints of God, intercede for us.
May our desire for God draw us more deeply into prayer, -Saints of God, intercede for us.
May we comfort the broken hearted in their sorrow, -Saints of God, intercede for us.
May we feed the hungry and bring mercy to the poor, -Saints of God, intercede for us.
May we be peacemakers, -Saints of God, intercede for us. Amen

 
 

THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Posted October 30, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Mark 12: 28-34)

One of the scribes came up to Jesus, and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied: “This is the first: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And this is the second, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Reflection:

In this gospel a scribe approaches Jesus with the question, one about which of the 613 Jewish precepts is greatest. Jesus gets to the heart of things, and does more that just answer the scribe’s question; he brings to explicit statement the whole underlying meaning of his ministry and what discipleship and inaugurating the kingdom of God is all about. Knowing the law and even keeping the law are not enough—what is required is whole-hearted love of God and neighbor. Jesus in addition to the commandment to love God above all else, tells his listeners to “love your neighbor as yourself.” What links our relationship to God, neighbor, and self is love. Law is not kept for its own sake; ideally, law sustains and protects relationships in a loving way. (Living Liturgy, p.242)

Vincentian Meditation:

The spiritual genius of St. Vincent, lies in the success he had in marrying the two great commandments of the law. The historian, Bremond, tells us: “It is not his love of mankind which led Vincent de Paul to sanctity, but it is rather that sanctity made him truly and efficaciously charitable. It is not the poor who gave him to God, but God who gave him to the poor.” The dynamism, the energy, the love which St. Vincent manifested to the poor did not come from any doctrinaire views on politics or sociology. The source of his energy and the clarity of his spiritual vision came from his contemplation of the words and actions of Jesus Christ in the pages of the Gospel and from his daily contact with Jesus Christ in the quietness of prayer. He became convinced that, once men and women are made new through their personal dedication to Jesus Christ, a new world will follow. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 4688)

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)

How have you found the truth that “It is not the poor who give us to God, but God who gives us to the poor.”

Closing Prayer: O Lord, teach us how to love God with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, -and our neighbor as ourselves. Amen

 
 

THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Posted October 29, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Mark 10:46-52)
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples, Bartimaeus, a blind man, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Reflection:

The dynamic between Bartimaeus and Jesus is a perfect description of what faith is: Bartimaeus heard Jesus, cried out to him, persisted in his prayer, came to Jesus when he called, and spoke boldly of his need. All these actions: hearing, crying out, coming, speaking describe our Christian discipleship. We must let our faith lead us to Jesus and then we must follow him. Without persistence in prayer it will be impossible for us to follow Jesus faithfully on the road of self–giving. The encounter with Jesus in prayer keeps our relationship with God healthy and strong. The prayer of petition reminds us that disciples can do nothing on their own without Jesus’ help. At times we are doing our faith by reaching out to those around us in need; at other times we are being our faith by taking time to let our God be present to us in prayer. (Living Liturgy, p.232)

Vincentian Meditation:

Our Lord wants us to persevere in prayer and not be discouraged because God seems slow in answering our prayers. Perhaps the reason we become discouraged in prayer is that we feel in a vague way that God is not taking us seriously. The truth is that it is not God who fails to take us seriously when we pray to Him, but rather we fail to take God seriously. Sometimes in our heart of hearts we pray without full confidence that He is going to give us what we ask. I wonder if God is slow in answering our prayers at times in order to perfect the confidence which He wishes us to have in Him who is our Father. Sometimes the reason of God’s delay in answering our prayers is that He wants to make us ready to accept what He desires to give us. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 142-3)

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)

When have you found that sometimes God seems slow in answering your prayers?

Closing Prayer: For the sick and the poor who wait for healing, -Lord, hear our prayer. For the grace to persevere in prayer and trust in God, -Lord, hear our prayer. Amen

 
 

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Posted October 19, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Mark 10:35-45) Jesus said to the disciples, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you.  Rather, whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.  For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Reflection:   Jesus responded to his disciples by saying that leadership isn’t about power—“lording it over them” or making their authority felt.  Leadership is about servanthood, even when it entails suffering and giving one’s life.  The only way to glory is by self-emptying, serving, giving one’s life.  Much of our doing for others is simply part of our everyday life, for example, parents taking care of children, spouses doing thoughtful things for each other, a co-worker cooperating with others in the office.  Being a “slave” of all, as Jesus says, isn’t always something extra or big; most of the time it is simply doing our everyday tasks and keeping in mind that others are the body of Christ. It is doing our everyday tasks with loving care. (Living Liturgy, p. 228)

 Vincentian Meditation:  People are not looking for leaders who can solve all their problems or answer all their questions. Often they know the answers already or they know their problem has no immediate solution. More than anything else people look to us who minister to them for our presence of loving, caring and forgiving others.  They want our help in their efforts to handle pain and frustration.  They look to us for understanding; they seek a sensitive and consoling response to their hurt feelings; they need the spiritual comfort we can bring through our ministry.  They want someone who will pray with them, whose presence will remind them that no matter what their difficulties might be, God really loves and cares for them.  They want assurance that God will never abandon them. This is the leadership that we are called to live. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 310, quoting Cardinal Bernadin)

 

How do we in our “servanthood” manifest the presence of a loving, caring and forgiving people? Or how do we not?

 
 

Many Ways to Give Hope

Posted October 18, 2018 by in All Posts, Stories, Volunteering

Demand for shelter in the Miami Valley is on the rise. Today, we have over 500 people in our Dayton shelters, including 100 children. The people we serve rely on the generous support of our community to provide food, shelter, clothing, and life-changing hope. Thanks to our partners and volunteers, our low-cost structure means that your financial gifts have tremendous impact. Just about $144 enables us to provide a full day of food for all shelter guests. Although not everyone is blessed with the capacity to support their neighbors financially, there are many ways to give hope through in-kind donation items, collection drives, volunteer opportunities, and more.

We are thankful for our friends at Lexis Nexis, who continue to serve our mission through their volunteer work, in-kind gifts, financial support… and beautiful paintings! Lexis Nexis employees came together to create encouraging paintings to decorate our shelter and supportive housing spaces. 

Carolyn Hayes, a member of the Lexis Nexis Dayton Cares Committee, explains why Lexis Nexis started their painting project.

Carolyn: St. Vincent de Paul has always been an organization that Lexis Nexis highly supports. St. Vincent de Paul is just the perfect way for us to make a difference here in Dayton. Since we have a lot of people who like to paint and are very talented in that way, but might not be able to get out of the office to volunteer, we created this painting project.

The paintings focus on uplifting themes, bright colors, and messages of encouragement.

Carolyn: We’re trying to brighten up people’s days, and we know that St. Vincent de Paul also serves a lot of children, so we went with a theme that was very fun and uplifting and child-friendly.

If you or your organization would like to help support the people served by St. Vincent de Paul, contact us through 937-222-5555 or check out the links below.

Donate Funds
Donate Goods
Host a Collection Drive
Volunteer

 
 

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Posted October 12, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Mark 10:17-30) As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Reflection: In reply to the man’s profession that he has kept the commandments, Jesus lovingly says to him, “You are lacking in one thing.” This suggests that, flowing from an undivided heart, dispossessing oneself and following Jesus are one and the same thing. To turn this around: if one is to follow Jesus, one must come empty-handed. This doesn’t mean that we literally sell everything; we all have family and social obligations that make having things a necessity. Jesus is saying that we can’t let possessions (or anything else, for that matter) divide our hearts. Too often possessions possess us; we must let go so only God can possess us. It is hard to enter the kingdom of God because too often our hearts are divided–we want to let go and follow Jesus at the same time we want to hang onto our possessions and, indeed, our very lives! Divided hearts just won’t do. God wants our all so God can give all in return. (Living Liturgy, p. 224)

Vincentian Meditation: Did the young man tend to rely too much on negative goodness? He had not broken the commandments, but how much good had he done for others? Was Our Lord saying to him: “With all your possessions, with all your wealth, with all that you could give away, what positive good have you done to others? Have you gone out of your way to help and comfort and strengthen others as you might have done?” Perhaps Our Lord was saying to him: “Stop looking at goodness as consisting in not doing things. Take yourself: take all that you have and spend yourself and your possessions on others. Then you will find true happiness in time and in eternity.” (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 715)

What “possessions”–time, money, talent–are you called to give to the poor?

 
 

TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Posted October 5, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Mark 10:2-16) People were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hand on them.

Reflection: The disciples had been with Jesus and heard his teaching for quite some time but they developed a hardness of heart, and so Jesus became indignant. This gospel is about human hardness of hearts and about to whom the kingdom of God belongs; not to those with hard hearts, but to the innocent ones who keep themselves turned toward God. Jesus illustrates this by saying—“accept the kingdom of God like a child.” Anything else he might have said to his disciples was not recorded; but we might surmise that he was saying we must lose our hardness of hearts by being open and accepting like little children, by being innocent like children, by being trusting like children, by not picking up the sinful baggage that develops as we grow into and live adulthood. We must lose our schema of things so we can find God’s intention. Lose the hardness of heart. Find the kingdom. Our embracing the kingdom embodies our being embraced by Jesus. (Living Liturgy, p.220)

Vincentian Meditation: Simplicity is “the virtue I love most.” In St. Vincent’s eyes, Jesus is utterly simple—like a child. He speaks the truth. He says things as they are. His intentions are pure, referring all things in life to God. To St. Vincent, simplicity meant genuineness and transparency. Vincent always knew that all good comes from God and he acknowledged his own limitedness and sinfulness. Vincent lived with an exuberant confidence in God’s forgiveness and love.” (Maloney, Go! On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent, pp. 131-132)

Has a “hardness of heart” crept into our lives of service?

 
 

TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Posted September 24, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Mark 9: 38-48)

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we tried to stop him because he is not of our company.” Jesus said in reply: “Do not try to stop him. No man who performs a miracle using my name can at once speak ill of me. Anyone who is not against us is with us. Anyone who gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ will not, I assure you, go without his reward. But it would be better if anyone who leads astray one of these simple believers were to be plunged in the sea with a great millstone fastened around his neck.”

Reflection:

We often have strict, legitimate criteria for who can belong or not. In this gospel the apostle John is bringing to Jesus’ attention that someone who “doesn’t belong” was doing what Jesus did. Jesus lays down a simple, clear rule: anyone who is doing good in Jesus’ name cannot also speak ill of Jesus. Jesus has a simple rule for who belongs in his company— “whoever is not against us is for us.” This is a contrast between generous leadership and petty discipleship. Jealousy and pettiness thwart the advancement of God’s kingdom and they must be cut out. Jesus keeps us focused on what is essential: God’s kingdom. (Living Liturgy, p.218)

Vincentian Meditation:

It is difficult to see Christ in the poor. Sometimes, it is even more difficult to see him in someone in our own Conference. Our Lord keeps saying to us: If you find it difficult to see Christ in the poor or in the person who annoys you in your own Conference, begin by trying to be Christ to such people: to say nothing, to do nothing which Christ would not say or do. That calls for faith. Let us not be discouraged at our failures in our service of the poor or by our failures in fraternal charity. With the grace of Jesus Christ we must keep trying. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 444)

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)

Does “jealousy and pettiness” exist in our Conference…how can we change?

Closing Prayer:

For the grace to be true Vincentians, we pray: -Lord, help us to find you in the poor and in each other. For the grace to be open and honest with each other, -Lord, heal our jealousy and pettiness. For the grace to let go of our prejudice and judgmental attitudes, -Lord, teach us how to forgive each other. Amen

 
 

FEAST OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-9

When Jesus saw the crowds he went up on the mountainside…his disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them: “How blest are the poor in spirit: the reign of God is theirs. Blest too are the sorrowing; they shall be consoled. Blest are the lowly; they shall inherit the land. Blest are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill. Blest are they who show mercy; mercy shall be theirs. Blest are the single-hearted, for they shall see God. Blest too the peacemakers; they shall be called children of God…”

Reflection:

For Vincent, love is always very concrete, very practical. It is love in practice. “Let us love God, my brothers and sisters,” he urges, “let us love God, but let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brows.” We are called to follow Christ as servants of the poor. Servants get their hands dirty. They labor long and hard. They engage in difficult tasks, visiting the sick and elderly in their homes, feeding street-people, serving the hungry, helping the widow and orphan. They are on the front lines ministering to the poor. As St. Vincent says, we must first do and then teach.

Vincentian Meditation:

St. Vincent tells us that “Love is inventive to the point of infinity.” I encourage you today to be very inventive. Because you are on the front line in laboring for the poor, you will be among the first to know their real needs. It will not be psychologists or economists, who study the needs of the poor by examining the data they receive. You will know ahead of them because the poor will tell you directly. Be inventive in meeting those needs. (Maloney, Go! On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, p.133-4)

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)

In what ways can you become “inventive to infinity” in serving the needs of the poor that come to you?

Closing Prayer:

O God, your son Jesus preached the Good News to the poor, -may we continue to be effective instruments of Christ to those most in need. O God, give us the strength and creativity we need to stand in solidarity with those who suffer, -may our hearts be filled with compassion and love. O God, you call us to be followers of St. Vincent de Paul, -grant us the grace to be “inventive to infinity” in serving the poor and suffering! Amen

 
 

Matt Graybill elected as New President, Dayton District Council of St. Vincent de Paul

Posted by in All Posts, News

 

Matt GraybillMatt Graybill will become the President of the Dayton District Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on October 1.  He was unanimously elected by the Council members on August 12. An installation ceremony will be conducted at St. Anthony Church on September 27 at a special prayer service celebrating the feast day of the Society’s patron saint, St. Vincent de Paul.

A lifelong leader in the Dayton area, Graybill is currently Vice President of Employee Experience at Dayton Children’s Hospital, where he has been employed for over thirty years. Additionally, he has served as a board member and president for several organizations in the region.  “Matt is a talented executive with impressive accomplishments among constituencies whose support is vital to the future of St. Vincent de Paul,” said outgoing Dayton District Council President John Glaser. “We look forward to his leadership.”

Graybill is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Incarnation Conference in Centerville.  He served as the president of the Dayton District Council Community Board for three years and is currently its vice president.  He and his wife, Sharon, live in Waynesville, Ohio.

As president, Graybill will serve as a volunteer for a three-year term convening the Dayton District Council, which is comprised of the presidents of 32 St. Vincent de Paul Society Conferences in the Miami Valley. Led by Executive Director Michael Vanderburgh, the District includes a staff of 135 employees and 2,000 volunteers providing emergency shelter, housing, and person-to-person ministries that in 2018 will touch the lives of 100,000+ people in need in the Dayton area. Among St. Vincent’s most visible ministries are the operation and management of the community’s two emergency shelters for homeless men, women and children, an extensive network of transitional and permanent supportive housing serving individuals with special needs, and the Dayton community’s largest network of food pantries.