“He left us neither a learned treatise nor a body of doctrine, only the little volume of his Rule, a brief synthesis of his theological spirituality. He was content to lay out a road, to clear the paths, inviting his disciples to continue the charitable works which he had begun.He opened the doors of the Church, teaching the clergy to work with the laity, the first who dared to value the contribution of women. And women responded enthusiastically to his call, whether they were country girls or great ladies of nobility.
“Vincent knew how to make his work responsive to all kinds of misery, whether physical or moral, determined to remedy it and finding an appropriate solution for every situation. Thus, he was the initiator of assistance to abandoned children, to prisoners, victims of catastrophe, refugees, and housebound invalid. In all these works, he was a precursor, showing the way which is still followed today by institutions and governmental departments of social services.
“Bending himself to the pattern of his model, Jesus Christ, he place himself at the service of the poor, “who are our lords and our masters.” (sv. 9:119)
“He taught that true charity does not consist only of distributing alms, but of helping the abject to regain their dignity and independence. He believed in the virtue of action and he loved to use this succinct motto: action is our entire task. Then he would add that “Perfection does not come from ecstasy but rather from doing the will of God.” (sv. 11:41. 317)
“Vincent was first and foremost a man of God, profoundly steeped in the spirit of the Gospel. He recommended long prayer and meditation before action so that one could come to recognize the divine will. One must not hurry, and that is why he counselled people not to leap ahead of Providence. Above all, this man of action was a man of prayer and deep spirituality: “You must have an inner life, everything must tend in that direction. If you lack this, you lack everything. (sv. 12:131)”
Text extract above is taken from “St Vincent de Paul – his Life and Example”, a Reflection by Fr Laurie McNamara CM on the St Joseph’s Malvern Website. The text is originally from “Vincent the Trailblazer” by Bernard Pujo, cited at http://famvin.org/wiki/St._Vincent_de_Paul