THURSDAY THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Vincent de Paul *
O Almighty God, who pours out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and of supplication: deliver us, when we draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections we may worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
( William Bright, 1824-1901 )
Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found;
brought here together by Christ’s love, by love are we thus bound.
With grateful joy and holy fear God’s charity we learn;
let us with heart and mind and soul now love God in return.
Forgive we now each other’s faults as we our faults confess;
and let us love each other well in Christian holiness.
Let strife among us be unknown, let all contention cease;
be God’s the glory that we seek, be ours God’s holy peace.
Let us recall that in our midst dwells God’s begotten Son;
as members of his body joined, we are in Christ made one.
No race or creed can love exclude, if honoured be God’s name;
our family embraces all whose Father is the same.
( "Ubi Caritas," translated by Omer Westendorf, 1916-1997 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Vincent de Paul: “Hard and repulsive, but for the grace of God”
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Vincent de Paul, a Roman Catholic priest who lived from the sixteenth into the seventeenth century in and around Paris and left a legacy of caring for those in need that still is operating today.
Around these parts, when someone in need comes to our (Lutheran) door, and I have helped with what I can, I have been known to say, “Have you tried the Saint Vincent de Paul society, at the (neighbouring) Roman Catholic church?”
Very fitting, indeed, for living in the century after the Reformation, a less ecumenically friendly time, he instructed the members of his society that Protestants were to be treated as brothers and sisters, with respect and love, without patronage or condescension or contentiousness.
For Vincent, charity was a predominant virtue that was to be extended to all. He established charitable confraternities to serve the spiritual and physical needs of the poor and sick. He called upon the women of means in Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects particularly hospitals to serve the poor.
Vincent was by temperament a very irascible person. He said that except for the grace of God he would have been “hard and repulsive, rough and cross.” But he became tender and affectionate, very sensitive to the needs of others. He had an extraordinary capacity to connect with all types of people and to move them to be empowered by the gospel of Jesus. In the midst of the most distracting occupations, his soul was always intimately united with God. Though honoured by the great ones of the world, he remained deeply rooted in humility.
Alongside the order of priests he founded, there arose an order of nuns called the Daughters of Charity, devoted to nursing those who were sick and poor. Many babies were abandoned in Paris every year, and when Vincent saw some of them, he established an orphanage for them, and thereafter often wandered through the slums, looking in corners for abandoned babies, which he carried back to the orphanage.
He died on this day in 1660.
Scripture: in Saint Paul’s "First Letter to the Corinthians," chapter one, verses twenty-seven to twenty-nine we read:
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
... for peace in the world.
... for the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.
... for all who are in need of charity, that there needs may be met.
... for abandoned children.
... for the safety of those travelling for pleasure. DETAILS
... for the telling and believing of the truth.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From the writings of Vincent De Paul:
Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor.
Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor.
"He sent me to preach the good news to the poor."
We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause.
Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also loves those who love the poor. For when one person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to understand the poor and weak.
We sympathise with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words, "I have become all things to all men."
Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbours’ worries and distress. We must beg God to pour into our hearts sentiments of pity and compassion and to fill them again and again with these dispositions.
It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer. Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor. God is not neglected if you leave him for such service. One of God’s works is merely interrupted so that another can be carried out. So when you leave prayer to serve some poor person, remember that this very service is performed for God. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. Since she is a noble mistress, we must do whatever she commands. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.
Loving God, we thank you for your servant Vincent de Paul, who gave himself to training clergy to work among the poor and provided many institutions to aid the sick, orphans and prisoners. May we, like him, encounter Christ in the needy, the outcast and the friendless, that we may come at length into your kingdom where you reign, one God, holy and undivided Trinity, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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