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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 extraordinary life began in 1561 in the hamlet of Pouy, France. From his humble beginnings as “their childrens” of peasant farmers St. Vincent would one day become an adviser to the Queen of France, and from proclaiming one mission to peasants in 1613 St. Vincent would found an ordering 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 infirmaries, he founded parishes where the poorest of 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 premise, then, that benevolence was the perfection St. Vincent De Paul valued most in his life, but it was not. In a letter addressed to a friend he formerly wrote, “[ Simplicity] is the morality I love most, the one to which in all my acts I pay most heed.” He often said that simplicity was his “gospel.” What exactly was this holy simplicity that was so important to St. Vincent DePaul, and how can we imitate this modesty in our own lives?

The word simplicity has a few different gists, and it seems that St. Vincent adopted three of them. First, purity makes liberty from complexity or schism into divisions; second, the absence of luxury or gild; and third, democracy from deceit or guile. Each of these gists is important if we are to understand why St. Vincent honoured candour so most, so we will look at each of them in turn.

1. Simplicity as having a single intent or intent

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

St. Vincent required his clergymen and nuns to be simple in the sense that they did everything out of enjoy 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 purposes and in their chase of God’s will. Too often, our intents are not pure, and we act according to our own will, instead of God’s. This thwarts us from flying to God in our thoughts, in our petitions, and in our natures throughout the day. It likewise frustrates God from are present in us the course He could if we abandoned ourselves to His will.

2. Simplicity in cloth wealths

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

St. Vincent requested his clergymen not to have any superfluous furniture, word-paintings or records in their areas, and to avoid owning any vain or useless things. He knew that controls raising feeling, and components 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 home to lay his head.”( Lk 9:58) How can we live this kind simplicity in “peoples lives”? Are there wasteful acquires we are also able relinquish, and instead apply that money to the poor? Are there items in our homes that we do not use that could be gifted 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 vicinity, in our country, and around the world. If we want to imitate Christ the practice 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 “there hasnt” guile or deceit.”( Jn 1:47)

Above all, simplicity for St. Vincent was seriousnes in one’s words and actions. He tried to always say things as they rightfully were, and to avoid any duplicity or hypocrisy. He educated his adherents, “the heart must not foresee one thing, while the mouth says another.” He said that God speaks to the simple, and that purity is the spirit of Jesus. He missed his communities to practice this righteousnes because 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 genuine. Precisely as in St. Vincent’s day, this is an obstacle for evangelization and work to the poor. If parties sense any inauthenticity in us, then they know we cannot be trusted, and our sense or service to them will be empty. On the other hand, if “were having” the fearlessnes and modesty to be seen as we truly are, to speak the truth in love, and to do everything with accuracy as our guidebook, then we will be effective in sharing the message and in helping the poor, the route St. Vincent De Paul was.

St Vincent DePaul was indicated that clarity was the “spirit of Jesus, ” and if you look at each of the clarities above, you will see that no one has ever personified clarity the acces 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 imitate Jesus in His spirit of opennes, St. Vincent became Christ to the poor, the sick, and the abandoned. Precisely as Jesus was “moved with pity”( Lk 7:13) for the widow from Nain whose lad had died, St. Vincent’s heart was filled with compassion when he encountered someone who suffered, and he is willing to do all in his power to help them.

Christ was the source of St. Vincent’s tenderness with the prisoners on the galleys, living in disagreeable status, where reference is cleaned their curves and handed them some respectable menu to chew; 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 conceal to keep them warm, and carry them to one of the orphanages “hes having” founded for them. If opennes 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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