Today, 27 September 2021 is the Feast Day of St. Vincent de Paul.
St. Vincent has inspired Catholics all over the world to serve the poor and the marginalized by his life and to live the Word of God, "Go, and do likewise." (Luke 10:37)
Let us be the change that our world need especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
We can still reach out to others no matter what our circumstances in life. If our heart is open to God as St. Vincent de Paul was, there is always an abundance of graces to love and act to help the poor and marginalized.
Whenever I feel down during the big upheaval in my life in this pandemic, I reflect on the inspiring quotes of Catholic Saints. St. Vincent’s words and his life often gives me a correct perspective on what should matter in my life–even when I do not know what lies ahead.
What I know is I will not give up or settle for second-best as my heart burns with great fire to live for Jesus. Hence, whatever will be God’s Plan for me, it will be to aspire to live what St. Vincent has exemplified in his life.
It is difficult when life is in a flux, and I do not know what lies ahead. This pandemic and long period of isolation have showed that without Jesus, my life would be one of hopelessness and despair. When I ponder each day on the blessings in my life, I am so grateful for how Jesus is with me even when I go through bouts of uncertainty regarding God’s Plan for my life.
What I know is that I needed this time to recalibrate my life to live with joy and zeal for Jesus once again. To let go of all that had cluttered my life. It is only in August this year that I finally felt liberated to live as how I feel called by God. Not to what is being expected of me. What does God want of me? How do I do so with the Joy of our Lord? There are no immediate answers.
Life in Kuala Lumpur has blessed me. I have a great circle of loving Catholic friends whose faith are like bright burning lights of Christ in my life. So even if my light gets dimmed, their light will ensure mine brightens up again. This is the embodiment of our Catholic faith. We are a community of Christ and we are never alone. Ours is a living faith because Jesus is alive every single moment - in our past, our present and in our future!
The Word of God (Matthew 6:25-27) has always been one passage in the Bible that gives me great strength and hope:
“25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
Some little every day joys are that I have cooked more this year than I have my entire life! Cooking was never a priority for me. Yet now, I truly enjoy cooking. I am learning to cook dishes that reminds me of my childhood and all the special occasions – my Mum’s cooking. I have even learnt to cook Kerala dishes now that I am out of India. I have tried my hand in baking recently too. And yes, my siblings and close friends have to view the pictures of my culinary adventures.
It has been very uplifting to read and reflect–both on spiritual and inspirational readings. I love reading and to rediscover it again is a special joy.
There is such a wealth of online talks and prayers by so many priests worldwide. I do not view many daily, but I do so as I am inspired each day - usually not over two spiritual talks.
My greatest treasure is the Holy Bible during my personal prayer time. It is my time with Jesus. The peace I feel in my heart is hard to explain. Every day, Jesus shows His Spirit can convey His message to me through the Bible, Holy Mass homily, daily rosary with a prayer group, YouTube videos, WhatsApp messages, social media and calls from friends.
St. Vincent de Paul was renowned for his compassion, humility and generosity. These qualities come when we open our hearts for Jesus in total surrender. It is not when we have wealth. Even when we have little material wealth, if we have “agape love” as our life’s principle, there is always an act of love or mercy that you and I can do.
An enduring memory I will always carry in my heart is the pure joy and love I have experienced among the poor in India. Often it made me reflect on the fact that when we have comfortable lives, we take it for granted and we want more. God must hear endless petitions of our “wants”. But have we really petitioned to Jesus for our actual needs? To have the gift of faith, compassion, holiness, Christian service, humility, true repentance, to be faithful to God–the list is endless. Our goal is to be in Heaven. It is not our job titles, life-savings or material wealth that will get us there. It is about how we live our lives with whatever we have for Love and Glory of our Lord, Jesus.
So let us not despair when the going is tough. Jesus is always with us. He has promised us. “Do not be afraid. I am with you.” (Isaiah 43:5)
I will forever be grateful to God for the Vincentian spirituality transforming my life from 14 February 1998 through the Vincentian Fathers of the Divine-Potta ministry in India. I guess I am a Vincentian in spirit.
The video at the top of this post, St. Vincent de Paul’s Inspiring Quotes 2021, is the first music reflection video I have done this year. I wish each of you and your loved ones a Blessed Feast Day!