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Apostolic reflection step by step guide

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Simple way of reflecting on our experiences of service to those in need

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Apostolic reflection step by step guide

  1. 1. a simple guide for Apostolic Reflection
  2. 2. Gather as a group Begin with a prayer. The leader invites the group to pause and recall that God is present in the stories to be shared. Ask for one volunteer to share an experience from the past 1-2 weeks (for example, a home visit or some encounter with a client). photo: St. Vincent de Paul of Salt Lake City
  3. 3. The person sharing the experience: Tell your experience as a story, as concretely and with as much detail as you recall. Who were the persons involved or affected in this case? What were some reactions and possible feelings? Try not to jump to the meaning of the story. Simply describe your experience. If you have trouble thinking of a story: Try to recall a time when something happened and you changed for the better. Try to recall a time when you felt a need to do something so things would get better. Try to recall a time when something either contributed to or jolted your faith. photo: St. Vincent de Paul, Sequoia Healthcare District photo: St. Vincent de Paul, Wilmington DE
  4. 4. Those who are listening: Listening patiently, without interrupting, to others’ experiences in story form is a “getting out of the way” in order to hear the other. It is an internal discipline; a form of fasting. Listen for the presence of grace in the speaker’s experience: Listen for triggering events Listen for the courage of the speaker to do self-examination Listen for the presence of a conversion experience: whose attitude was changed? Whose conscience was broadened? Who might have become more receptive to the presence of the Holy Spirit? photo: SSVP Bryanston South Africa
  5. 5. At this point: Either invite the next person to immediately share their story or experience… without dialogue or comments, without critique. Keep going, welcoming each person’s story as it is experienced and shared. It is a non-judgmental, non- critical, non-evaluative way of letting people speak. It is permitted to ask a question for clarification. Or ask all present to reflect on the story they just heard, before moving on to the next story. photo: St. Vincent de Paul Westford, MA photo: St. Vincent de Paul Evansville, IN
  6. 6. Reflection and sharing Pause for a period of silent reflection Each person in the group responds and the others listen: What were the reactions and feelings of the person telling the story? of the persons receiving help? What words, images, dialogue from the story stick with you? What is the “heart of the matter”— what is the story about; its meaning? (The story teller responds first, then each person in the group responds while the others listen) Does any Scripture passage or image come to mind? Any saying of St. Vincent or Bl. Frederic? photo: St. Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles
  7. 7. After everyone has had a chance to speak What did we, as a group, hear ourselves saying? What insights did we receive? What might God be calling us to now? Close with a prayer, thanking God for this experience. photo: St. Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles photo: St. Vincent de Paul Las Cruces, New Mexico
  8. 8. Saint Vincent de Paul, Accompany us in our service and intercede for us before the Son of God. Help us abandon ourselves to Providence, faithfully discovering God’s action in all the events of our lives. Amen. Prayer to St. Vincent de Paul
  9. 9. Sources: Hugh O’Donnell, C.M., “Apostolic Reflection” Vincentian Heritage Journal, Vol. 16, Issue 2 “Models of Apostolic Reflection” prepared by Sr. Joan Pytlik, D.C. “Apostolic Reflection: The Power of Story” by Daughters of Charity (author unknown)

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