By Vicki Eichmiller
The home visit is a great way for Catholic Vincentians to share their faith with others in the community. The real value that comes from home visits are the volunteers who bring hope to people in need. The nonjudgmental concern and compassion, along with offerings of prayers and support, are the hallmarks of the home visit.
In addition to providing resources to meet the basic needs of those suffering, Vincentians strive for their own spiritual growth, drawing inspiration from St. Vincent de Paul, a Franciscan priest who devoted much of his life to serving the poor. St. Vincent de Paul said, “It is not sufficient for me to love God if I do not love my neighbor. I belong to God and to the poor.”
As the living Body of Christ, we are called to live a “countercultural” life. We are called to serve one another, just as Jesus served us. We stand up for our faith and beliefs, even when this means suffering in the world that we witness each day.
Catholic social teaching calls us to care especially for the dignity of the human person, from the moment of conception to natural death. Vincentians are afforded the opportunity to do just that as we tend to the poor, care for the underserved, work towards just working conditions for all, and pray for an economic system that allows for equal treatment of all our neighbors we serve.
We believe that we are united with the angels and saints; we model their lives and rely on the holy example Jesus left for us in the words of the Bible. Personal and communal prayer is encouraged while we serve as Vincentians. We pray to strengthen our relations with God and to grow in faith and love so that we may share our love of Christ with others.
We are called to see the face of Christ in the people we serve. Sometimes this is difficult when people are living in crisis and are expecting nothing less than a miracle from a home visit by requesting payment of several months past due rent, enormous past due utilities, care repairs, medication, food and clothing. Sometimes those are angry, sad, disappointed, and hopeless faces; and it is difficult to see the loving face of our Savior.
That is why we pray before our home visits and request to pray with our friends and neighbors once the home visit has begun. We are united in prayer with all believers throughout the world, the universal Church. Each week as we gather for communal prayer in Mass – and even when we gather at a home visit and pray for God’s intervention, wisdom and mercy – we are sharing our faith.
We are all called to share our faith. Some share with neighbors, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. As Vincentians, we have the opportunity to share our faith walk with each and every person we meet.
Last year we were invited into over 12,000 homes to meet with people in need and learn how we could help them through crisis. Imagine what the world could be like if we shared our love of Christ during every opportunity that was presented to us. It is an honor to share my faith, and I encourage each of you to look for ways to share your faith and faith journey every day.