A homily of General Superior of the Congregation of the Mission Rev. Fr. Tomaž Mavrič CM during a Pilgrimage to Sniatyn 25 May 2019
It is a tremendous joy to participate in the Tenth Anniversary of the Vincentian Family’s yearly pilgrimage to Sniatyn, where Blessed Marta Wiecka served and died, and where now her tomb, relics, and spiritual presence remain. Thousands upon thousands ask for different graces and miracles through her powerful intercession before Jesus.
This year the Church in Ukraine has chosen the theme of “family.” It proposes that the faithful reflect on the meaning and role of the family in society, as a way to sanctity, a way to eternal life.
How wonderful it is to belong to somebody, to belong to a family. The followers of Saint Vincent de Paul’s spirituality and charism belong to a family, a family we call the Vincentian Family. We are individuals, but not isolated from one another. We are not islands. We may belong to a concrete branch of the Vincentian Family, a lay organization or association or a Congregation of consecrated life, or we may simply feel attracted by the spirituality and charism of Saint Vincent de Paul and follow his example. We all belong to the Vincentian Family.
What model can we take to be sure our Family will grow in greater depth, in closeness to Jesus, and even in numbers? The model I suggest to look to as an example and imitate is the Holy Trinity.
What is the message of the Holy Trinity for me personally, for the community where I live, the congregation or group to which I belong, for my family, for the people Jesus is sending me to serve?
Jesus helps us understand the Holy Trinity: the identity, mission, and purpose of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus helps us to understand the relationship among the three Persons, the inner connectivity among them, and the influence of the Trinity on each individual person as well as on society as a whole.
As we discover and develop, with God’s grace, an unbreakable bond between the Trinity and the individual person, between the Trinity and the community, between the Trinity and humanity, we will get ever closer to the ideal model of “relationships,” basic components of our lives. We were created not as islands, separated from one another, but as social beings and as a family, where, in the depth of our being, we are one with God, which means, with the Trinity and with each other.
The Trinity remains a mystery for us. Jesus communicated to us what we know about the Father, Son, and Spirit. Jesus presented the Trinity to us as the ideal model of “relationships.”
Our reflection on the Trinity needs to be accompanied by the wish and goal of incarnating that ideal model of “relationships” in the concrete life situation in which I find myself, in the community where I live and the congregation or group to which I belong, in my family, with the people to whom Jesus is sending me to serve.
The Holy Trinity is the ideal model of “relationships”! Jesus shows us the ideal.
The mutual relationship between the Father and the Son.
The mutual relationship between the Father and the Spirit.
The mutual relationship between the Son and the Spirit.
The relationship among the Father, Son, and Spirit.
What can we see in these “relationships”?
1) We can see that the attention is always directed to the other person and not to oneself.
2) We can see that the priority is always given to the other person and not to oneself.
3) We can see that praise, thankfulness, admiration are always given to the other person and not to oneself.
4) We can see that each one of the three Persons of the Trinity always expresses the need for collaboration with the other Person to fulfill the mission.
5) We can see that each of the three Persons of the Trinity always clearly expresses that it would be insufficient and ineffective for each of them to act alone.
What does the model of relationships in the Trinity say to me about my own life in:
a) my relationship with God,
b) my relationship to the community,
c) my relationship with my family,
d) my relationship with those to whom Jesus is sending me to serve?
Because we are not islands, but beings belonging to the human family, “relationships” are an inseparable part of our mission. The ideal model of the Trinity, that Jesus left us, is the model to follow.
Saint Vincent de Paul made the ideal model of the Holy Trinity one of the foundations of his spirituality. Today, we are invited to take new steps toward the ideal model of “relationships” given to us through Jesus.
If each of us would put the other person first, put him or her before oneself, before one’s own desires, before one’s own interests, before one’s own personal wishes then someone would do the same for each of us. If each one would give attention to the other person, share time, thoughts, experiences, hardships, doubts, sufferings, joys, etc. by following the ideal model of “the Trinity’s relationships,” then someone would do the same for each of us. In this way, a wonderful and miraculous set of relationships will take shape, where we together, in the best and most effective way possible, will accomplish the mission entrusted to us by Jesus. I must never put myself at the center, but the other. In that way, Love becomes fully alive. You can see it. You can touch it.
The worldwide Vincentian Family is developing through technology, communication tools, the extraordinary dedication of so many members, and our deep belief in the many blessings received by belonging to a spiritual family that is bigger than one is, that is bigger than any concrete branch, association, or Congregation. We are deepening ties among ourselves, collaborating, offering mutual support in countries where the Vincentian Family is present, and even discovering new associations and Congregations of consecrated life that follow Saint Vincent de Paul’s spirituality and charism and are officially joining the worldwide Vincentian Family.
Currently the Vincentian Family is present in 156 countries around the world, but we still have a long way to go if we would like to be present in every country in the world in which there are over 220 countries.
Next year, from 7-12 January 2020, all the international leaders of the 150 branches of the Vincentian Family around the world will meet in Rome for the first time. It will be an opportunity to dream together about the short and long-range future.
The model of the Holy Trinity moves as away from individualism, egoism, egocentrism, and self-sufficiency to be open to others. Our Family members too cannot remain closed in on themselves, their own interests and desires, but always open to others. In this sense, the Vincentian Family becomes a force, a movement, with a very concrete spirituality and charism, a movement within the Church and the world. It becomes an example for society and humanity.
I hope and pray that the model of the Holy Trinity will grow ever more in each one of us as individuals, as members of a concrete branch, association, or Congregation of consecrated life in the Vincentian Family on the local, national, and international level. May we move closer to becoming a movement, trusting unconditionally in Providence and Jesus’s plan for us, with total humility and simplicity, being part of the mission entrusted to Jesus on earth: making the Kingdom of God a reality for all humanity forever and ever.