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St. Vincent de Paul: on fire with God's Love

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based on the article "Vincent de Paul: What Moved Him? And What Moved Him Toward Those Who Are Poor?,” by Thomas F. McKenna, C.M. (2015) Vincentian Heritage Journal:
Vol. 32 : Iss. 2 , Article 1.

Published in: Spiritual
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St. Vincent de Paul: on fire with God's Love

  1. 1. W HAT MOVED HIM? AN D WHAT MOVED HIM TOWA RD THOSE WHO ARE POOR ? St.VincentdePaul: OnFirewithGod’sLove
  2. 2. “HE HAS SE NT ME TO... B R ING GO O D NEWS TO THE POOR.” LUKE 4:18
  3. 3. Probably occurring over a considerable length of time, the scales begin to fall off Vincent’s eyes and he catches the profundity, the fire, of this passage. “This is what it’s all about,” he realizes, “God’s love and goodness, arriving in His Son to this world and in particular to the poor people in it. This is at the heart of it all. God is pouring out His love and care on humankind, and especially on those… who are looked upon as its least members.”
  4. 4. GO D CHE RIS HE S E ACH OF YO U, PARTI CULAR LY THE POO RE ST AMO NG YOU. I AM T HE BRI NGER O F GO OD NEW S TO YO U: YO U’R E BEI NG LOVED B Y GO D.
  5. 5. Vincent’s inner experience of the divine… What was its texture, shape, and direction? What was that interchange that so fired up his heart?
  6. 6. The fuel in St. Vincent’s engine, so to speak, was his underlying and mighty fascination with God’s loving. Vincent was swept up into the force field of that ever-flowing love. Over time, he became more and more enthralled with the pure giving of God; with what Saint Paul calls the lavish outpouring of God’s Spirit.
  7. 7. Vincent was “drawn into” the Sending that is always radiating out from God. The Father is at all times sending forth, commissioning, giving over His very Self in His Son. In fact, that pouring-out is precisely who Jesus is, the making- present/sacrament of God — more accurately, the presencing of God’s loving. It was this facet within God, the Sending, that so captivated Vincent, and that took him further into God’s own life.
  8. 8. He sees where that love is going. He is taken by its direction, and that is out to the farthest reaches and down to the lowest levels. He comes to appreciate that the divine loving in Jesus is directed particularly to the people on the bottom rungs. And so those who are poor become those to whom Vincent feels especially sent to love. Just as importantly, they are a window to him onto where God’s love is appearing in the world. As the least of the brothers and sisters to whom Jesus is sent, they are the ones in whom the Savior lives.
  9. 9. As Vincent engages with the downtrodden, he senses being a part of that current of God’s out-flowing love to these men and women. It is this attraction to divine loving that informs Vincent’s intuitions about where to head in life, and how to make his choices.
  10. 10. Vincent grasped and was grasped by the pure generosity that is sending the Word to the poor, the Sending to which Jesus gives flesh. St. Vincent’s motivation is fed by this fiery lived contact with the divine. Fire enkindles fire.
  11. 11. Writing about the saints, Hans Von Balthasar touches on this point. The most important thing… is not their heroic, personal accomplishments, but their firm obedience (or listening), coupled together with a total commitment to their mission. […] the saints experience “a great commissioning,” a growing urge to go out from God to the world. Is this not indeed the case with Vincent? And to repeat, there is the direction in which missioning moves — toward the poor people of the world, trying to be God’s love for them, and at the same time finding in them God’s love.
  12. 12. So the disciple of Vincent is called to be not only an imitator of what Jesus did, but more than that he/she is to be swept up into bringing the love Jesus offers, taken into that act of Sending always going on in God. This is to follow Vincent as he follows Jesus Christ, by stepping into the very activity and dynamism of evangelizing the poor. YouTube/svdpusa
  13. 13. Through his writings, his works, and indeed, his spirit alive in present-day followers, St. Vincent continues to invite others to step into the current. Photo: stvincentdepaul.net
  14. 14. “ WE R EA LLY M UST G IVE OUR S E LVES T O G OD T O I M PR INT T HE SE T RUT HS O N O UR S OUL , T O OR G ANI Z E O UR L IVE S ACCO RDI NG TO T HI S S PI RI T, AND T O DO T HE W OR K O F T HI S ( GOD’ S ) LO VE. ” HER E WE S E E VI NCENT ’ S COUNS EL T O B EG I N F R OM T HE I NS I DE OF GO D. CONF ERE NCE 2 07, “ON CHARIT Y,” MAY 16 59 , CCD, 12 :2 14 -5 .
  15. 15. In the same conference Vincent quotes another Scripture verse in which Jesus declares, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing.” (Lk. 12:49) Vincent then challenges his listeners: “So our calling... is to do what? It is to set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire to inflame it with His own love... If our calling is to go throughout the world and spread the divine fire...how I must burn with this same fire!” Here, again, Vincent is not only moving in a current or sharing a wealth, but is burning with a spark of the same fire as burns in God.
  16. 16. We honor St. Vincent in opening ourselves to the same wealth that came to fascinate him— that fathomless and fiery love flowing from the heart of God in the person of his Son, sent to bring the Wonderful News of just that love to all of us, especially to persons who are poor.
  17. 17. Source: Ba s ed on "V incent de Pau l: What Moved H im? And What Moved Him Toward Those Who Are Poor?,” by Thomas F. McKenna, C .M . (2015) V incentian Heritage Jour nal: Vo l. 32 : Iss. 2 , Article 1. Av ailable at: vi a.library.depaul.edu/vhj/ v ol32/iss2/1 Im ages: Depaul Image Archives, unless oth erwis e not ed presentation by

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