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Saint Vincent de Paul


Ordinary time Year B, Lk 9, 46-54

St Vincent de Paul (1581 - 1660), born in Aquitaine, became a priest and devoted his life to the service of the poor. He founded a congregation of priests for missionary work, groups of laymen to help paupers and galley-slaves, and, with St Louise de Marillac, the Sisters of Charity.

What does it mean when Paul says to the Corinthians that Jesus is our wisdom; Jesus is our virtue; Jesus is our holiness and Jesus is our freedom?

It implies that these are truly gifts that lie within us but are not our possessions. This means we can act wisely, be virtuous and holy, and live with freedom because Jesus helps us do this. The wise person is one who has allowed God to work wisely through him and similarly with the other gifts. St Vincent de Paul allowed God to work through him in helping the poor and inspiring many others to do the same. This is why Jesus asks us to hand over our lives to him. The more we open our lives to Christ the better he is able to work within us and through us.

We face a climate emergency and a very poor prognosis for the future. But, remember Nineveh, they repented radically and the disaster threatened did not materialise. If we make a radical conversion in the way we live our lives, God may help us evade the impending disaster. God made us stewards of creation which means he has given us the wherewithal to be good stewards. Let us throw ourselves at the mercy of God and pray for the help to make the tough decisions needed to save our planet. Without neglecting the poor, let us respond to the cry of the earth and ask St Vincent to inspire us with his courage, commitment and faith in God to do this.

by Fr. Thomas O'BRIEN a.a