When I ministered at St. Vincent de Paul parish in St. Louis we used to say that we served the Eucharist with a big ‘E’ in church and Eucharist with a little ‘e’ in the parish hall when we served food to neighbors in need, families, homeless, travelers.
We Vincentians are reminded frequently that our service to Neighbors in Need is becoming God’s instruments of love, the hands and feet, heart and mouth of Christ, the real presence of Christ (notice the little ‘r’ and ‘p’) as we offer what assistance we are able to bring, what solace and encouragement we bring, what compassionate and faithful love we show.
We are a sacramental Church, with the Eucharist being the central sacrament for us all. We are fed by God’s word, we join with Christ in his faithful and obedient love of the Father as he accepts the cross, we are fed by the Body and Blood of Christ. Joined with Christ, fed by Him we are sent forth to be disciples, we Vincentians, disciples of compassion and care.
And now we are asked to bear an unheard of fast. What a Lent this has become! But God’s love is no less present or real in our world, even with our enforced Eucharistic fast. Now more than ever we are ministers of His love, His grace. What an awesome opportunity, what an awesome task. May God fill our loving care with grace – which is to say God’s life – especially now we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen
Fr. Jim Cormack