Ordinary Time 33, Year B-2009

From Vincentian Encyclopedia
With the Lord at my right, I shall never be shaken (Ps. 16:8)

“Great detectives, we are told,” states John J. Savant at the very beginning of his article in the October 26, 2009 issue of America, “are able to think like criminals” [1]. Such ability, he goes on to say, is a function of the imagination, a supreme and godlike faculty that can help bring about moral clarification. Savant makes the case specifically—as is indicated by both the title and subtitle of his article, “Imagining the Immigrant: Why Legality Must Give Way to Humanity”—that imagination, speaking to both heart and mind, can lead to right action as one addresses the issue of undocumented immigration. Imagination can lead to moral clarification and right action because, “unlike daydream or fancy—a centrifugal spinning away from reality, the mind on holiday—”it “is centripetal, a disciplined contemplation of reality that takes us beneath appearances and into the essence of what we contemplate.”

Thus understood, imagination, then precludes self-absorption, or what St. Vincent de Paul characterized as self-coddling, having only a limited outlook, being locked up in a shell no bigger than a snail’s into which one, frightened by the new and the unknown in what appears to be a big bad world out there, scurries back for security and protection (P. Coste, XII, 92-93). To be imaginative in this sense is to weep or to be sick with a suffering brother or sister, neither lacking in charity nor being just a mere caricature of a Christian, not being inhuman or worse than animals (Ibid., XII, 271).

With such imagination, one also may just end up being gifted with the courage and strength of Michael, the great prince and guardian, so that one, being like God, goes to the rescue of those in great distress and tribulation, certain of the final divine victory, even though everything seems to point to annihilation and nothing appears to make sense.

Even more so, imagination can lead us to communion with Jesus, who “by one offering has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated,” so that we become self-sacrificing like him, our lives proclaiming the mystery of faith as we, reading correctly the sign of the times but leaving it to the Father to determine the day or hour, confidently and eagerly wait in Jesus’ company for his enemies to be made his footstool.

For further reading: [2]; [3]