By Brian Igel, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers
In the last 8 months of my experience of Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, my heart and spirit have often been left restless and waiting for hope of God’s love and healing in our world. During these short months we have seen firsthand the effects of injustice, whether it be as a group in masse or within the communities where we work. I have experienced new questions with the new administration that seems to foster a culture that devalues those who are marginalized. Here in Denver I have experienced firsthand the marginalization of those experiencing homelessness, as I work at a resource center, Denver Urban Matters. And on our border trip I was able to witness the inequality and fear surrounding immigration at the El Paso – Juarez border. It left me wondering and searching within my own heart for God’s love and salvation. Where is God in a world full of such pain and suffering? I also experienced that same search in my community members as we often come home burnt out or despairing that our work seems like an uphill battle where suffering often triumphs over love and hope.
But I am realizing that in the midst of uncertainty and anxiety that come from being Christian companions with those we serve, we can be transformative prophets of hope in our work through prayer and community. In community houses we share meals throughout the week – meals that are a source of spiritual healing and physical nourishment. We come to the table where we are and bring with us what we carry. Sometimes it is fun and lighthearted, but many times we bring with us the weight of a hard day or a difficult current event. But we come to be nourished and to share in the healing power of a meal. We leave our worries and anxieties where they are and then simply just be with one another. This is a source of strength and hope for our community but also for the future of the kingdom of God. Within this prayerful and intentional time of a dinner, the burdens and anxieties of work seem easier to bear and can even be transformed into acts of hope and salvation. Through the spiritual support of my community I become less focused on waiting for an impossible achievement of justice and begin to be a prophet of God’s love and healing. Community and human connection sustain me to trust in God; the support of the CVV community urges me to be an active agent of salvation that breaks the bonds of anxiety and fear dominating much of our world. The love and prayers of community make the present moment a continual process of renewal and active grace to heal hearts and minds towards an unconditional love of God and one another.
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