United States Conference of Secular institutes

2018 Fall Mountaineer

Secular Institutes

Dear Friends,
The calendar tells us that the holidays are approaching fast. Ready or not, here they come. Black Friday
sales have been around since the beginning of November this year, which means we can still enjoy our
Thanksgiving Day without having to run off to find good deals. “Black” Friday is so named because the
stores can earn enough to finish off the year in the black without debt or deficit.
We can take a cue from these economics to make sure our spiritual life is also running in the black. Are we
giving Our Lord his due? Of course, we cannot match his gifts, but we can do the next best thing which is
graciously receive his gifts and express our gratitude. Humans are a bit notorious for being able to give generously but it is much more difficult to accept gifts or favors. Why? Because then I have to admit that I am
incomplete and need something from another. Even if that gift is not needed materially but just expresses
love or friendship, or is a gift of gratitude for something we have given or done. I believe that is called humility.
Thanksgiving Day and its surroundings give us a wonderful opportunity to be honest with our Father in
heaven and say, “Thanks! I needed that!” I needed the beauty of nature, I needed the joy of music, I
needed a challenge to reach my potential, I needed a chiding to say “I’m
sorry” or to forgive, I needed to experience your love and grace and mercy
and wisdom…. I needed you to send your Son as my Savior.
At our national meeting in September we spoke about fostering vocations.
We also need to thank for our own. We know that one call is not enough to
sustain us for the rest of our life. We need to hear that call from Jesus over
and over again, and we need to say “thank you.” Gratitude is the best petition, so thanking for our own vocation is, at the same time, a plea for the
grace of perseverance and faithfulness. We cannot take that for granted. And
our faithfulness to our own vocation is our best advertisement for the consecrated life.
Wishing you a grateful holiday season,
Marcia Vinje

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