Vincent de Paul and symbols of mercyAs we prepare for the Holy Year of Mercy it will be helpful to seek understanding of the “The Value of Mercy According to Vincent de Paul” written Paulino Sáez López, CM. In outline…

Introduction

When we go to visit poor persons, we have to sympathize with them in order to suffer with them, and put ourselves in the dispositions of that great Apostle, who said, omnibus omnia factus sum; I have made myself all to all, so that the complaint Our Lord formerly made through one of the prophets, sustinui qui simul mecum contrisaretur, et non fuit, doesn’t fall on us: “I waited to see if anyone would sympathize with me in my sufferings, and there was none.” For that purpose, we have to try to stir our hearts to pity and make them sensitive to the sufferings and miseries of our neighbor, and ask God to give us the true spirit of mercy, which is the characteristic spirit of God; for, as the Church states, it is the distinctive feature of God to be merciful and to impart His Spirit. So let us ask God, my dear confreres, to give us this spirit of compassion and mercy, to fill us with it, and to preserve it in us so that whoever sees a Missioner can say, “There is a man full of mercy.” Let us reflect a little on how much we need mercy, since we have to practice it toward others and bring it all sorts of places, and to suffer everything for its sake (CCD:XI:308).

Vincent spoke those words during the conference of August 6, 1656 which dealt with the theme of the spirit of compassion and mercy. During that conference Vincent reminded the Missionaries from Poland about the necessity for this virtue and also spoke about the way to practice said virtue.

Basing myself on this text, I will attempt to present the manner in which Vincent, as a person and in his ministry, practiced this virtue.

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