For the first time, on Saturday, February 11th, 2017, a coming together of the SSS scholastic brothers and servant sisters of the Eymardian Family was held at the House of Studies of the Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Province in Mong Trieu, HCM city, Vietnam. Together with Rev. Fr. Martin TINE, the Head of Formation Commission of the SSS, and Rev. Fr. Joseph Vu Quoc Binh, the member of the SSS General Council, all members of the two scholasticates – Formators, Fathers, Sisters and Brothers – took part in this significant exchange of Eucharistic faith and SSS vocation.
First of all, Rev. Fr. Joseph Pham Dinh Ai, the director of the scholastic brothers opened the meeting with the words of warm welcome and greetings to all the participants so as to make known its meaning.
And then two special speakers:Rev. Fr. Martin TINE, SSS, and Rev. Fr. Paul Vu Chi Hy, SSS, the Spiritual Direction of the scholastic brothers,were invited to share their thoughts and experiences of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and SSS vocation.
In his talk, Rev. Fr. Martin TINE touched on the close relationship between the fathers, brothers and the Servant Sisters in the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and his Eucharistic charism, St. Peter Julian Eymard founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, a religious Community of pontifical right composed of priests, deacons and brothers. And with the with the great spiritual support of Sister Marguerite Guillot, he also founded the Servant Sisters of Blessed Sacrament. The ideal of the SSS brothers and servant sisters is therefore to live the mystery of the Eucharist fully and to make known its meaning.
Moreover, from the beginning of their foundations, Father Eymard himself wished a common Chapel for both of the Congregations to adore and celebrate the Eucharist together. But his dream did not come true because of various factors and disadvantages at his times.
And yet, Father Eymard’s spirit and vision of the communion among the members of the SSS brothers and servant sisters as one family was strongly kept and nurtured in his heart and then somwhow transfered to all future religious generations of the Congregation.
Especially, according to Fr. Martin TINE, the two branches of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament had been founded by the same Founder, received the same Eucharistic charism, and inherited the same Eymardian spirituality…
For those reasons, the SSS brothers and servant sisters need to have a close cooperation in sharing Eucharistic faith and studying on the Founder’s life and sprituality…, as well as celebrating the Eucharist together and serving in Eucharistic mission…in order to realize St. Eymard’s dreams.
Besides, Rev. Fr. Martin TINE also mentioned other members of the Eymadian Family – The Servitium Christi and the Eucharistic Aggregation…
In his presentation after Rev. Fr Martin TINE , Rev. Fr. Paul Vu Chi Hy shared with the scholastic brothers and servant sisters his own experience of “Eucharistic Vocation” with the following points as a faith journey from “the vocation of being human to the vocation of being Christian, and then from the Vocation to the consecrated life to the Eucharistic Vocation”.
Fr. Paul also made questions for thinking and reflection, namely “Is the Eucharistic vocation the greatest blessing that holds, sums up and converges all vocations: being human, Christian and religious life?” He honestly believed that it is true because the Eucharist is “source and summit of the life and mission of the whole Church”.
“Eucharistic Vocation” - Response
As an introduction to the topic of “Eucharistic Vocation”, he presented shortly and concisely the essential meaning of the different Vocations in the Christian context. Starting from the universal meaning of the Vocation as God’s gift offered to everyone, each one is urged to receive it assetingly and then offer it to others unconditionally and freely. It is because all of these actions - receiving and sharing - are manifestations of one’s self-offering love; and because the meaning of a gift consists in offering. One’s Vocation, therefore, only has its true meanings when it is called a “grace”, i.e. when it is received gracefully as a seed, cultivated in hope, sprouted in good conditions, and then yields so much fruits that make the receiver become the giver who can offer others generously and continuously what he has been offered… This is really the essential meaning of “the Eucharistic Vocation” which leads us to a “Giftedness Culture”, i.e., the gift-offering one for the world. It is also a “respectly offering-receiving Culture” without throwing away.
According Rev. Fr. Paul, whoever always has, more or less, something to share/offer to others. One can share/offer concrete and visible things such as his/her food, clothe and water…, or/and invisible ones as his/her education, care, love, hope, joyful face, warm confidence, charity and mercy… or/and spiritual ones as deliverance and Good News of Salvation…or/and even oneself. However, he added, one’s offering must be hidden even to oneself as if “when you give alms, your left hand must not know your right is doing” (Mt 6,3), i.e., giving without a reward, in order to collect it for “Eschatological treasure” and send to the Banquet of the Kingdom of God. Such a way of life is really the way to live “the Eucharistic Vocation” in imitation of Jesus’ exemplary of self-offering love. The Eucharistic Vocation leads us to an extensive horizon of the source of grace where we are offered and then received great gifts with our deep gratitude and thanksgiving in accordance with the Eucharist as Thanksgiving Sacrifice.
After listening two speeches, everyone took part together in the Eucharistic Celebration. And then they shared in a buffet Supper in agape and friendship.
This meaningful exchange brought lots of spiritual joys and encouragements to all members of the two Congregations in general, and of the two Scholasticates in particular; so that, as members of the Eymardian-Eucharistic Family, they would come gradually to a close relationship by faith for our Lord’s glory.
By Fr. Vu Quoc Binh, SSS