Any conflict on a large scale must leave exhaustion in its train, and time must elapse before things begin to re-adjust themselves, even if the new system has great advantages over the old. It may be said that it was as the result of the struggle which it records that, at a later date, this wonderful society was called into being. There are no limits. It is well to impress here that Our Lord was speaking to Jews, and the text indicates that the afflicted man was a Jew. The events we have related and the consequences of them in the world today amply justify us for using the glorious words in connection with this society. Indeed, it would not be desirable that such should be the case, because that would limit this amazing charity to the few, whereas the whole purpose is better served where many share in it—the multitude giving what it can, and the members of the society doing the active work of dispensing. They know nothing of the real nobility of human life. Another way of expressing this concept in Vincentian terminology is Providence. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. It may be our turn next. His reflections are short, but profound. (The writer would wish to insert a little explanation here. The design was to bring the claims of this society prominently forward. Thanks, John. They have known much better days, so that to their present poverty is added bitterness of feelings against the world in general, and, in many cases, against individuals whom they blame for their decline in fortune. He became identified with them. He combined the traditional teachings with his own experience among the poor and in the mission. (a) Deserving cases:—When we give charity to people we do not know we are very apt to be victimised. Enjoyment is the god of many, all too many, and Catholics are not altogether free of guilt in the matter. We found these reasons to be:—. We find this theme of solidarity with the poor when St. Vincent speaks about the cross. Every priest, whether secular or regular, should be deeply interested in it; but, naturally, Vincentians feel a special claim on their interest, seeing that, when Ozanam and his companions began the work, and looked round for a patron, a guide, and a name, they selected St. Vincent de Paul, and drank deep of his inspiration, because of his world-wide fame as an Apostle of Charity.). The experience of Christ in the poor is sacramental. J. DONOVAN, Now we come to the great promise of all. In Ecclesiasticus (i., I to 4 and 10 and 11), elaborate directions are given on this subject of consideration for those in distress, and a beautiful promise is added. Rarely does he talk about seeing Christ in the poor. (a) God commands us to succour the poor:—Every human being is a child of God, and, consequently, we are brothers and sisters, all under the common Father of all. “If thou wilt taken away the chain out of the midst of thee [i.e]., the burden that oppresses the poor, and so holds them like a chain], and cease to stretch out the finger [i.e., hard words and railleries at the poor—the finger of scorn], and to speak that which profiteth not; when thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noon-day, and the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water, whose water shall not fail.”. Now God has given, from the beginning, the command: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” That word “neighbour” is all-embracing. Let me offer three clarifications: We do not go to the poor because Jesus is present there, We go to the poor because they are our suffering brothers and sisters. They openly scoffed at religion, and their moral conduct was deplorable. The general Catholic body reading it, may be urged to greater fidelity in co-operation, if they have already tried to be faithful, or to become co-operators, either by joining up or by helping in a financial way, if they have not already done so. In other words, it is a religion whose one purpose is the more even distribution of the world‟s wealth. No one can invent a Christology out of nothing. Rather, in the cross God manifests his love. Some of the other social service and assistance programs offered by Society of St. Vincent De Paul include these. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is the largest, voluntary, charitable organisation in Ireland. He approaches as a brother in order to understand the person’s pain. This argument, of course, applies with equal force to all our charitable institutions. He wanted them to be single-minded in their intentions and in their pursuit of God’s will. Sometimes, but all too rarely, we hear or read of Catholics who have remembered the poor in their wills. The beauty of the works, too, must commend them to all, and, when it is borne in mind, as it should ever be, that the material assistance given is not an end but the means—a means —viz., to reach the soul, and bring back Catholics to the practice of their Faith or confirm them in it, and, in the case of non-Catholics, to reveal to them the beauty of the Catholic Faith in practice, and so break down the walls of prejudice and open the way to entry into the light, a new value is given to the activities of the society. Catholics! The supernatural ones are:—(l) God‟s command, with the consequence of His punishment for disobedience, and (2) The rewards, for Time and Eternity, which He so generously promises. The harmony of heaven begins for us while, silent from all the world, we again and again repoeat, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”. Or, who hath been His counsellor? Amen!”. The Master Himself said: “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth,” and the St. Vincent de Paul man is trained to ever keep that in his mind. They have reason to be very grateful, and no doubt the are; but, do they think of making a donation then to any one of our Catholic charities, in order to prove their gratitude. verses 34 to 40, of St. Matthew‟s Gospel, where He painted for us the awe-inspiring scene of the Last Judgment. Frequently we only become aware of the presence of Christ after the encounter with the poor. For St. Vincent, in Christ, God did not only become man, he became a poor man. When he meets the sick, he heals them; when he encounters the hungry, he gives them food; with sinners, he pardons them. Yet Our Lord represents him as exercising all the offices of kindness, providing for both the present and future wants of the sufferer. Here, again, we have no right to ask, nor do we ask, that the St. Vincent de Paul Society should be remembered more than other charities. It has to be accepted in freedom. It is like the calm that follows a storm, when leisure is given to the onlooker to survey the wreckage that the storm has caused. (3) The last reason, and the most impelling one in the mind of the writer, is—that this work is done by Catholic laymen, who mingle with the people of the world, and, thus, bring prominently before their eyes the beneficent charity of the Church, so that it seems fair to assume that this influence may be to some extent more effective than that which is wielded by professional religious. They may have plenty of this world‟s goods, so that envious fellow-men regard them as rich, but they are poor with the worst of poverty. There were Christological ideas that Vincent did not take from theology books, but rather from his own missionary experience. Results, however, were disappointing. In September 2013, Roger Playwin, CEO of the St. Louis-based National Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, will step down after 10 years in the position. How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways! These services are funded through donations, fundraising activities and enterprises run by the Society. He says: “The knowledge of social well-being and of reform is to be learned, not from books, not from the public platform, but in climbing the stairs to the poor man‟s garret, sitting by his bedside, feeling the same cold that pierces him, sharing the secret of his lonely heart and troubled mind. Let us examine why some are richer than others and some poorer. He grouped (1634) under this name some pious women who were determined to nurse the sick poor … It is not confined to those who are immediately bound to us by ties of blood; nor is it confined to those who are our friends; nor yet to those who, though not in our circle of friendship, live in our immediate vicinity; nor even to all those who claim Australia as their common country. If there is urgency so that the weekly meeting cannot be waited for, it is usually the president or the secretary who has the right to act, and, even in that case, they must report to the next meeting. Our Catholic people, as a whole, look at it with faith‟s eye, and, consequently, it echoes to the sound of their humble coins all through the year, and the multitude of small contributions amounts to a considerable sum—each contribution a donation to Jesus Christ, be it ever so humble. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Now, the whole teaching of Christ contradicts your final statement—viz., “My wealth is mine to do with it what I wish.” It is yours in the sense that no one had a right to forcibly deprive you of it; but it is not yours in the sense that you are the absolute owner of it. He emphasises the same idea in the case of the parable of the man and the beggar at his gate. At the next meeting of the Conference of that locality, a debate arose as to how the help should be applied. We can help them. He had tried argument. The story of these appeals is one that reflects infinite credit usually on our people. And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores, desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man‟s table, and no one did give him.”, Continuing, he pictures the fate of the two: “And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham‟s bosom; and the rich man also died, and was buried in hell.”. Not so long before it burst in all its horror upon the world, there appeared a book, written by Norman Angell, which was hailed with intense enthusiasm. For, alms deliver from all sin, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear; thou shalt cry, and He shall say: Here I am. We return to the Vincentian past, to St. Vincent and his Christology, because it can illuminate our present day process, Not everything that St. Vincent said is useful today. For four reasons. We should help the poor. St. Vincent speaks about encountering Christ in the poor. Frederick was a precocious child. Sin? (1) It is a safe way of investing, because (a) only deserving cases will be helped; and (b) practically all we give will reach Christ, in the person of His poor. Charity for the Poor, and especially by visiting them in their own homes. Vincent understands that God is not far away. We cannot say the rest. Vincent was not a theology professor. The fact is, the opportunity came your way and it didn‟t come theirs. This must, of course, be properly understood. Consequently, practically all that is given by the people reaches the object for which it was given. In any case, even when times are normal, a bout of sickness for the breadwinner of a family can alter the whole face of things for people who never before knew anxiety about the “what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed.”. He feels that, first of all, the number of parishes where there are no poor at all is very few. Such are the following: —they call at State Homes on Sunday mornings and take Catholic children to Mass; they cut and trim the hair of male inmates at Orphanages and the Home for the Aged; and, in country districts, they undertake to supply the nuns with firewood, especially during the winter months. Indeed, He even raises the standard higher, because, whereas the old command was to love the neighbour “as ourselves,” He says: “A new commandment I give you—that you love one another as I have loved you,” and He loved even to the extent of dying for all: “Greater love than this no man hat h than that a man lay down his life for his friends.”. That fact he discovered by a trifling happening. His reflections are short, but profound. View the_.famvin_network’s profile on Instagram. How can he be man? Our organization, through a network of charity, provides help … Despite the doctrinal clarity of the councils, questions and concerns about the person of Jesus and his gospel arise because each epoch struggles with new experiences and different problems. The poor, when viewed with eyes of faith, take the place of Christ and so give us the opportunity to love and serve Jesus. It might have been that they were sometimes not in the state of Grace, when they did these acts for God‟s sake. Finally, they place themselves unreservedly at the beck and call of the Parish Priests, to do whatever they can to help in parochial works, holding themselves entirely under his authority. (b) God will punish disobedience, and will reward observance:—. Something fundamental in Jesus’ evangelization is the encounter with the other. This is the second of the supernatural motives. In a world warped by materialism and declining respect for human life, the Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. The rest was found to have been swallowed up in munificent salaries to the organisers, if not in other less deserving ways. The paper is divided into two sections—viz. Yet many other works they do that may seem to be of minor importance, but which are all productive of good. After having said those striking words, He gives the reason thus: “That you may be the children of your Father, Who is in heaven, Who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. It is, therefore, a duty of common humanity to do so. The Lord will preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) is also called ‘Father of the poor’. This is not a self-evident truth. The question, however, is one for each individual. What did they do? The third was a Samaritan. In general, it seems fair to say that donations, in money or in kind, should be more frequent than they are, and that they would be so if more direction were given to the ordinary people. Faith‟s light shone brightly again in his soul, and he tells us himself: “I vowed to consecrate my days to the service of that Truth which had given me peace.”. One can always find beautiful thought in the contemplation of the scene related in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of St. John. With that he wanted to express the unique and special relationship between Jesus and the Father. We said above that, in the design of God, this society seems to be the very best means calculated to meet the needs of the times. … It is hard to understand why, for instance, the manner in which our people flock to church in the early hours of Sunday morning, while the churches of other people are silent and empty, does not make non-Catholics pause and consider that there must be some extraordinary vital force in the Catholic religion which bespeaks Divine action. When our congregation was founded, Saint Vincent … These are the virtues of Jesus, the evangelizer of the poor. No! At any rate, there is often this much punishment that the blessings promised to those who succour the poor are not given to those who fail to do so, and life is all the poorer in consequence. For, who hath known the mind of the Lord? He had vowed to serve Truth all his days. If there is a flaw in Vincent’s Christology, at least by modern standards, it is the lack of reflection about the Resurrection of Jesus. Its first work was one of destruction, and, at the beginning of the last century, the calm had come with ruin all around. Visitation, then, with a view of relieving, especially in the homes of the poor. THE Poor! Then it was that we said to one another: Let us to the front! Wealthy Catholics should remember our Catholic charities, and, amongst these, we put forward the claims of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The world has seen two small nations go through long periods of poverty; but they accepted it in a Christian spirit, rising thereby to great heights of moral greatness that won the admiration even of a material and unsympathetic world. In judging, be merciful to the fatherless as a father, and as a husband to their mother, and thou shalt be as the obedient Son of the Most High, and He will have mercy on thee more than a mother.” What a beautiful promise! Vincent knew well the theological currents of his time: the Augustinian negativity, the humanism of Francis de Sales, etc. It stands at the door of all our Catholic churches. It represents “Service to Truth, by Service to Works of Charity.”. Furthermore, even in the case of those that are doing something, what is their attitude of mind? He could have answered in direct terms; but He preferred to paint a supposititious case, and draw the reply from that. (b) In doing even what I have done, have I preserved the right attitude of mind, that is to say, have I regarded myself as having done something wonderful, rather than at having done only what I was bound to do? Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international organization of lay men and women joined together in their spiritual growth and through the offering of person-to-person … These fortunate ones had done many acts of Christ-like charity during their time on earth. The remarks, therefore, of Section I. should have their value in this way:—Those who so far have not been doing their duty to their afflicted brethren should see from them that it behooves them to make a beginning at once and persevere in this branch of well-doing to the end, while those who have been doing something should ask themselves two questions— viz., (a) Am I doing all I can and should? He shall order his words with judgment, because he shall not be moved for ever.” In the Book of Proverbs (xxii., 9): “He, that is inclined to mercy, shall be blessed: for, of his bread, he hath given to the poor.”, In the same Book (xxviii., 27): “He, that giveth to the poor, shall not want.”, Again, in chapter xxxi., mention is made of the valiant woman, and it is said of her: “Far and from the coasts is the price of her.” Then, all sorts of blessings are poured upon her because of her many good qualities, amongst which is numbered this, that “she hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.”. The French Revolution, as it will ever be called—the great Revolution amongst several that have disturbed that country—was just over, and the nation was in a chaotic state, economically, socially, religiously. The writer cannot but feel that there are times when people forget, and need to be reminded. Ozanam tells us all this himself. He reveals himself as a loving and merciful Father. Our Catholic people as a whole are certainly wonderful in their charity to these institutions and their inmates; moreover, they do much in private charity, and no appeal is ever made to them in vain. by John P. Prager, CM | Aug 1, 2019 | Formation, Reflections | 2 comments. It led them into fast ways, and temporal and spiritual ruin followed. Are there elements in St. Vincent’s teaching that might be helpful in your own ministry? The first is that one of the great churches of Paris had been stripped of every sign of its sacred purpose, and had been turned into a mausoleum for the burial of the great men of France—many of them, in their morality, a travesty on the idea of greatness—so that, what had been a centre for Catholic without a Cross, a sepulchre where no religious idea lingered.” The second is that in the Cathedral of Notre Dame itself, the mother church of the nation, not merely had the Blessed Sacrament been banished, but those miscreants had actually enshrined a statue of the Goddess of Liberty on the altar. Wherever there is a Conference, or branch, in a parish it is almost the universal practice to get some preacher to make an appeal at all the Masses on some one Sunday in the year. He certainly might have wished for it; but he was content for the time being to be an instrument in the hand of God for the purpose that was present at the moment, St. Vincent de Paul himself certainly never thought his congregation of priests would spread all over the world; still less did he imagine that his Daughters of Charity would become so numerous and so world-famed. Poverty and distress may be found in very many forms. Besides the Daughters of Charity Vincent de Paul secured for the poor the services of the Ladies of Charity, at the request of the Archbishop of Paris. Youth SVP forms a part of our Young Vincentians programme in the St. Vincent de Paul Society England and Wales , a voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty in all its forms. Some few, who are not Catholics, have a genuine appreciation of the work, and make donations from time to time; but it is from periodic appeals in the churches and from the Poor Box, which is to be found near the door of every one of our churches, that the bulk of the money comes. If this paper has the effect of moving even some to begin to do their duty in the way of helping any Catholic charity, the writer will be well rewarded: if it moves some to interest themselves in the St. Vincent de Paul Society, he will be pleased, because their work is dear to him, and he sees great possibilities for the Church in it. Jesus seeks the way to overcome evil in the experience of the people. Case management – Get help in addressing underlying causes of poverty, and develop a plan to improve your financial situation. With regard to donations in kind, he had often felt that all the people need is guidance from their leaders. “Go, and I tell John,” said He, “what you have heard and seen the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”. St. Vincent de Paul, father of the poor. True, while they did bear their cross in a Christian spirit, they never ceased to urge the just claims of free-born men to liberty and a reasonable share of this world‟s goods, and in this they were perfectly right. Well, there is no reason why we should envy those who did have that privilege. A mere boy is tried by temptations against Faith. The Lord will deliver him in the evil day. In between stands the St. Vincent de Paul Society, receiving from the donor and passing on his gift to the poor person, that is, to Christ Himself, because the words of His assurance come back to memory: “As long as you did it to one of these, my least brethren, you did it to Me,”. St. Vincent went to Avignon and later to Rome to continue his studies. The number of members, counting both active and honorary members together, is nearly a quarter of a million throughout the world, and of these there are nearly 7000 in Australia. We all saw a classic instance of this in the recent calamitous World War. Vincent de Paul said that Jesus is nothing more than reverence and adoration towards the Father. As long as man is as he is, when national pride is touched, all the financial complexities in the world will not stop war.” Unfortunately, it was not long before the nations were at one another‟s throats, and when next the two parties in the argument met, the advocate of Norman Angell‟s views was wearing khaki and serving as a surgeon in the army of the Allies. In both those examples quoted, stress is laid on the punishment in the next life. It is Catholic Action in its best form. It would not, consequently, have occasioned any surprise if this Samaritan had imitated the Jewish priest and levite. (2) The second reason for considering the claims of this society is that, by giving to it, you give to a wonderful variety of charitable works, some of which are not provided for in all our other activities. Vincent spent a good part of his life fleeing from the charism. Ozanam was particularly insistent on this, after the little society had had some experience in the work. Other men, too, will be likely to be drawn into the ranks and become active workers for the cause, when they shall see the increased good that will result from more means to extend the work. Providence is not christian good luck, It does not mean that everything will turn out as we wish if we have faith. Now, the more numerous men like these become, the greater must be the blessing from God on the other works of the Church, and the greater must be the influence for moral good of such men scattered through the community. Soon others were joined to the two, and a little band of Catholic youths began to associate with one another, and discuss what they could do to oppose the baneful influence of those around them. I believe he offered a way of looking at Jesus to help others in the service of the poor. Very succinct and on target. But not everything is found in the Bible. We shall now proceed to consider these rewards. That is the distinctive work undertaken by the St. Vincent de Paul men. Vincentians frequently experience (or hear of others’ experience) with our Store pick-up service that donated items were refused by the dispatcher or the driver. It is easy to adopt a wrong attitude in this matter. We do not deserve commendation for merely discharging that duty, but, because God is so good, He does reward in a divinely munificent way. St. John distinctly says: “If any man say: I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. Poverty, however, is not the worst of evils. It is liberation from sin and all that oppresses humanity. There are about ten million priests in Paris, while the poor are lost among such dreadful ignorance.” St. Vincent … He made himself deaf and blind. Who are the poor? He would not ask that the St. Vincent de Paul Society and its works should be considered in preference to other charities, but he would ask that it be considered sometimes. Like St. Vincent, he realised that the great means for winning souls is corporal assistance. He never imposes. He shows us who God is. “Then, shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shalt gather thee up. Reveals himself as a miracle at the other way he found in charity to the front friendship... Way mistakes are reduced to a minimum opening years of the poor ’ as wish. How incomprehensible are his judgments, ready to punish every how does st vincent de paul help the poor and sin commiseration is proud! It stands at the door of all that, it does not remain the!, all too many, all too many, all too many, all too rarely, we of... Opponent had taken the right view of relieving, especially in the of!, Ephesus, Chalcedon ) tried to understand better the meaning of the ’. Does it from the service of the poor, 9 ; foundling hospitals, 6 Father who has to! 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