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The Simplicity of Saint Vincent de Paul

The Simplicity of Saint Vincent de PaulThe Simplicity of Saint Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent De Paul’s remarkable life began in 1561 in the hamlet of Pouy, France. From his humble beginnings as the child of peasant farmers St. Vincent would one day become an adviser to the Queen of France, and from urging one mission to peasants in 1613 St. Vincent would know an lineup of priests who would continue this work all over the world. After spending two years as a slave in Tunisia, he returned to France and became a missionary to hostages in Paris and Marseilles, and he was instrumental in the ransom of over 1,000 Christian slaves from Northern africa. He began hospitals, he founded societies where the poor could work to support themselves, and he set up homes for orphans.

As a result of his devotion to the poor, the sick, and the incarcerated he is the patron of altruistic organizations and he is called the “Apostle of Charity.” One might assume, then, that kindnes was the morality St. Vincent De Paul evaluated most in “peoples lives”, but it was not. In a letter addressed to a friend he once wrote, “[ Simplicity] is the goodnes I love most, the one to which in all my acts I pay most heed.” He often said that simplicity was his “gospel.” What accurately was this holy candour that was so important to St. Vincent DePaul, and how can we imitate this excellence in our own lives?

The word simplicity has a few different necessitates, and it seems that St. Vincent embraced three of them. First, opennes intends flexibility from complexity or divide into sides; second, the absence of luxury or flounce; and third, liberty from guile or guile. Each of these implications is important if we are to understand why St. Vincent esteemed purity so most, so we will look at each of them in turn.

1. Simplicity as having a single propose or role

“You shall desire the Lord your God with all your mind, and with all your spirit, and with all your mind.”( Matt. 22:37)

St. Vincent wanted his priests and nuns to be simple in the sense that they did everything out of desire of God, and not for other reasons. He did not want them to do things to impress their superior or out of human respect. He wanted them to be single-minded in their intents and in their following of God’s will. Too often, our meanings are not pure, and we act according to our own will, instead of God’s. This hampers us from flying to God in our thoughts, in our devotions, and in our feelings throughout the day. It also forecloses God from are present in us the direction He could if we abandoned ourselves to His will.

2. Simplicity in substance wealths

“When Jesus heard this, he told us to him,’ There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and circulate the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”( Lk 18:22)

St. Vincent requested his pastors not to have any superfluous furniture, pictures or journals in their areas, and to avoid owning any vain or useless things. He knew that properties bringing feeling, and connects hinder us from living for God in complete freedom. After all, St. Vincent wanted to imitate Christ in everything, and it was He who was born in a stable and had “no plaza to lay his head.”( Lk 9:58) How can we live this kind simplicity in our lives? Are there pointless acquires we are also able sacrifice, and instead apply that coin to the poor? Are there items in our dwellings that we do not use that are likely to bequeathed to someone who could use them? As Christians, it is important to reflect often upon “what were doing” for our less fortunate brothers and sisters-in our place, in our country, and various regions of the world. If we want to imitate Christ the way St. Vincent did, we must be willing to go without in order to help those who are in need.

3. Simplicity as franknes

“Here is a true Israelite, in whom it is not possible to guile or deceit.”( Jn 1:47)

Above all, opennes for St. Vincent was sincerity in one’s words and actions. He tried to always say things as they certainly were, and to avoid any duplicity or deceit. He schooled his followers, “the heart must not visualize one thing, while the mouth says another.” He said that God speaks to the simple, and that candour is the spirit of Jesus. He wanted his communities to practice this quality as the world is filled with so much duplicity. Of the three, this may be the most important form of simplicity for us to practice today.

We live in a society where it is considered regular to present an image of ourselves that is not authentic. Just as in St. Vincent’s day, this is an obstacle for evangelization and service to the poor. If beings smell any inauthenticity in us, then they know we cannot be trusted, and our word or service to them will be empty. On the other hand, if we have the gallantry and humility to be seen as we truly are, to speak the truth in love, and to do everything with legitimacy as our leader, then we will be effective in sharing the revelation and in helping the poor, the way St. Vincent De Paul was.

St Vincent DePaul said that candour was the “spirit of Jesus, ” and if you look at each of the explanations above, you will see that no one has ever personified candour the room Christ did. Looking at the life of St. Vincent we be understood that, just as St. Paul said, it was no longer he who lived, but Christ who lived in him. By copy Jesus in His spirit of purity, St. Vincent became Christ to the poor, the sick, and the abandoned. Merely as Jesus was “moved with pity”( Lk 7:13) for the widow from Nain whose lad just died, St. Vincent’s heart was filled with compassion when he encountered someone who suffered, and he is ready to do all in his ability to help them.

Christ was the source of St. Vincent’s tenderness with the prisoners on the galleys, lives here in unpleasant healths, where reference is cleaned their winds and granted them some nice menu to dine; and it was Christ living in St. Vincent when he went out into the streets of Paris at night looking for the children who had been abandoned there to die. Just like the Good Shepherd, St. Vincent would pick the children up, package them in his shawl to keep them warm, and carry them to one of the orphanages he had founded for them. If candour made it possible for Christ’s tenderness and compassion to fill St. Vincent’s heart, and if it was the spirit of simplicity that allowed Christ to work through him, I hope and pray that each of us can learn to live this beautiful virtue, so that Jesus can do the same for us.

We ask for his intercession today, as we pray for an increase in simplicity, and in the desire to live out the message as heroically as he did.

St. Vincent De Paul, pray for us!

image: Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouy[ GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0 -3. 0-2. 5-2. 0-1. 0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

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