“We are the boat”

“We are the boat” welcomes our newest members

I had heard it sung before. “We are the boat!” But I heard it as if for the first time when it was sung at the beginning of the Eucharist welcoming four new members into the Congregation of the Mission. From now on the names Noe Garcia, Milton Lara, Wilber Mejia, and Jose Alexander Palacios will appear in the official international catalog of members of the Congregation of the Mission. [See photo gallery of the event]

What touched me so deeply listening in this context was that it spoke of everyone in attendance – the 4 newest members and their friends, all the members of the Eastern Province, and people from other branches of the Vincentian Family.

Words spoken to all our hearts

Here are some of the words that spoke to my heart …

  • We are the boat, we are the sea, I sail in you, you sail in me.
  • And the boat that we are sailing in was built by many hands
  • And the sea that we are sailing on, it touches every sand.
  • The voyage has been long and hard, yet we are sailing still

What a metaphor for the Church today and all of us who follow the Vincentian Charism in whatever state or stage of life.

“We are the boat!” made the words of Fr. Jack Timlin’s homily all the more meaningful. He took us beyond this day just being about these four men embarking on a life journey and a new stage in formation. As important as it was to these men he reminded us that they and each of us face the task of recognizing the presence of God in our midst and God’s people.

Asking the question… answering

Recently Sr. Carol Zinn, the incoming leader of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said…”We’re trying to be faithful to the question of what does God need from religious life at this moment in time. This is one conversation that’s being entered through different doorways.”  How true! Just substitute the word “me” and it fits all of us. We are all learning to follow Christ the Evangelizer.

Learning to follow Christ the Evangelizer

Vincent invited the members of his “little company” or “boat” to learn five virtues of Simplicity, Meekness, Mortification, Humility, and Zeal for Souls. Today his invitation might be translated as calling for all to be

  • Honest (Simplicity)
  • Approachable (Meekness)
  • Self-disciplined (Mortification)
  • Realistic (Humility)
  • Hard-working (Zeal for souls)

Fr. Timlin asked our newest members to learn from their formators, and each other. If we are all the boat of Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor let us learn from those who have gone before us in the Vincentian way and each other the meaning of these five virtues.

Our newest members begin a new phase in their lifelong task. No matter what our age and circumstances in life let us accept the challenge to follow Christ the Evangelizer of the poor as Vincent showed us.

The Vincentian Model

  • Am I conscious of “being the boat” following Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor?
  • What do the Vincentian values or virtues characterize my life?

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