Pausing and Acting

I recall someone coming to me years ago and sharing the laments of their heart. They had spent long, excruciating months dealing with one tragedy after another. They were broken, devastated, and exhausted. And then, in the midst of their pain, I had the audacity to say, “I’ll pray for you … It’s the least I can do.” I heard myself say those words and was shocked! After all of that pain sharing, I wanted to offer my least? And what does it say about caring for others if prayer is the least we can offer?

That was one of the epiphanies I had as a young pastor that changed my entire attitude toward prayer. It is a great gift that moves one toward action.

The work of Saints Vincent and Louise, and Vincentians through the ages, has been grounded in prayer. Consider that, like Vincent, time and again Louise urged her own community to “pray to the divine … for one another that His mercy may pour out on us His blessings of grace and light.”[1]

This tradition of prayer continues at DePaul University today. The Division of Mission and Ministry constantly encourages prayer as well as reflection and meditation. These are all tools that encourage us to dig more deeply into our souls as we seek clarity, grounding, peace, and wholeness, especially in difficult times.

After months of our own difficulties and brokenness caused by a pandemic and life in general, we are reminded by our Vincentian community to pause and find moments of prayer or meditation. Today we are encouraged to offer our best to ourselves and others by entering into contemplative moments with the self or the divine, hopefully finding inspiration to move such holy conversations into a call for action. Perhaps the best we can offer is a moment of quiet and reflection in our own lives followed by a moment of service and caring for others who, like us, are devastated by many long and difficult months. As this year continues, with so many uncertainties unfolding, may we all be inspired to pause for prayer, reflection, or meditation and then move forward in acts of love and kindness toward one another.

Reflection by: Rev. Dr. Diane Dardón, Director, Office of Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] L. 217, “To My Very Dear Sister Anne Hardemont,” August 29 [1648], Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac, 261. Available at:


Interested in more faith-sharing and reflection? During Lent this year, the Division of Mission and Ministry will be facilitating weekly online faith-sharing groups for faculty and staff. Every week, we will provide a Vincentian reflection that focuses on a theme from that week’s Christian liturgical readings. We will then gather in community over Zoom to share, reflect, and discern together where our Lenten paths may be leading us with Vincent as our guide. Learn more and register here.