Have you ever wondered about the impact his rural roots had on Vincent’s spirituality… and by extension those who walk in his way?
Antonino Orcajo, CM has and he has collected his reflections in an article translated for famvin .org “Rural Roots of Vincentian Spirituality”.
He divides his presentation into four parts: (1) the rural roots of Vincent de Paul, (2) the journey of Vincent until the time of enlightenment with regard to his mission and vocation, (3) implications of Vincent’s rural roots for Vincentian spirituality, (4) the relevance of Vincent’s spiritual doctrine.
2 The rural roots of Vincent de Paul2.1 Son of a plowman who tended sheep and pigs
2.2 Vincent’s family were members of the third class in society
3 Vincent’s journey until the time when his missionary vocation was illuminated3.1 The journey toward a new spirituality
3.2 Three significant experiences: Gannes-Felleville, Châtillon-les-Dombes, and Montmirail-Marahais
3.3 Encounters with other spiritual writers and their works
4 Rural insights in Vincent’s spirituality
5 Relevance of the spiritual doctrine of Vincent de Paul
Among his insights…
“Vincentian simplicity, like that of the people who live in the rural areas, does not presume upon the gifts that are freely given and that proceed from grace … rather, all such gifts are placed at the service of the larger community with no ostentation or fuss. Those who are simple behave in an authentic manner, live transparent lives and others find it enjoyable to be in their presence.”
…”This is the Vincent de Paul who learned from people in the rural areas the meaning of self-sacrifice and therefore wanted to die while still ministering in some way to those who were in need. Vincent wanted to imitate Jesus who labored as a carpenter in Nazareth and who went from village to village evangelizing people.
“Love led Vincent to reach out to others and this active ministry, in turn, led Vincent to prayer. Indeed, Vincent’s work of charity reveals the faith and love that motivated him in his work on behalf of the integral promotion of the poor, motivated him to engage in the struggle for the temporal and eternal salvation of the poor. Therefore, spiritual assistance alone or material assistance alone is not enough … rather both forms of assistance are necessary and Vincent spoke about this to the Missionaries when he stated: So then, if there are any among us who think they are in the Mission to evangelize poor people but not to alleviate their sufferings, to take care of their spiritual needs but not their temporal ones, I reply that we have to help them and have them assisted in every way, by us and by others (CCD:XII:77).
“Aware of the social implications of Vincent’s charity we should not be surprised by the fact that Pope Leo XIII (1885) declared Vincent the universal patron of charitable work and Pope John XXIII (1960) proclaimed Louise de Marillac the patroness of social workers. Those declarations underline a pragmatic form of spirituality that moves beyond many of the doctrinal currents of the Great Century of seventeenth century France.”
[This work was first published in San Vincente de Paúl, ayer y hoy, (XXXIII Semana de Estudios Vicencianos), Editorial CEME, Santa Marta de Tormes, Salamanca, 2008, p. 387-426].
Translated: Charles T. Plock CM