Most readers of this website have heard many stories of St. Vincent, some true and others reflect the thought patterns of early biographers.
I would like to set aside historical issues and approach selected incidents in Vincent’s life through the lens of a kind of theological reflection. Questioning Vincent’s life about what I can learn.
This perspective addresses the question, “What can I learn from Vincent if I look at my life though the lens of his experiences.”
Let me offer a very quick example of what I mean.
J Patrick Murphy writes in a soon to be released booklet, Mister Vincent:
Vincent used mentors and he chose world-class advisors, Fr. Pierre de Berulle, St. Francis De Sales. Vincent became a mentor of others and brought out the best in them: Jean Jacques Olier, St. Jane De Chantal, and St. Louise de Marillac.
Lesson: Mentors make a difference. Get a good one. Be a good one.
J. Patrick Murphy is on to something. I have rarely thought of Vincent in terms of his mentors. Not only did Vincent have mentors but he was blessed with some of the best. Here is not the place to dwell on these world-class mentors in Vincent’s life.
Instead I wonder how they happened to become his mentors. There is a saying that when the student is ready the mentor will appear. (Apparently falsely attributed to Buddha.)
This raised the question for me “Am I ready to be mentored?” Or am I too comfortable in my present stage of growth?
Apparently Vincent was ready. So how did they appear? My hunch is they appeared because Vincent was a seeker, restlessly looking for something more.
Initially, he thought that “something more” was a secure position whereby he could take care of himself and his parents. But apparently something more gnawed at him.
I suspect they appeared because he responded to people he sensed were on the “right track.” He sought them out, engaged them in dialog.
Who are the people I know who are on the right track spiritually? Do I seek them out in conversation? What can I learn from them. Do I reflect on why and how they are on the right track?
It might be very worthwhile spending a few moments thinking about the people you admire and what you can learn from them.
But Patrick Murphy also highlights that Vincent brought out the best in others: certainly, St. Louise de Marillac, but also others such as Jean Jacques Olier, St. Jane De Chantal, not to mention those early men who choose to walk with him.
This also raises questions for me. A mentor is someone who walks with others and listens to the longings of their hearts.
How often do I take the time listen to the longing of others and walk with them on their personal journey?
Lesson worth repeating: Mentors make a difference. Get a good one. Be a good one.
If you find this reflection helpful it might turn into a series of reflections on other aspects of Vincent’s journey. Let me know either clicking on the comment button or this link.