When we go to visit the poor we should so identify with them that we share their sufferings. We should have the same attitude as the great apostle who said omnibus omnia factus sum, I make myself all to all, so completely that the words of the prophet would not apply to us: Sustinui qui simul mecum contristaretur, et non fuit, I looked for someone to grieve with me in my sufferings, but found none. We must open our hearts so that they become responsive to the sufferings and miseries of the neighbor. We should pray God to give us a true spirit of mercy, which is in truth the spirit of God. The Church says that it is the nature of God to be merciful and to confer this spirit upon us. Ask this grace of God, my brothers, that he may give us this spirit of compassion and mercy, and that he may so fill us with it that as soon as anyone sees a missionary, he immediately will think, there goes a person full of compassion. Think for a moment of how much we ourselves stand in need of mercy, we who must exercise it towards others. We must bring this mercy everywhere, and endure everything for the sake of compassion. (Vincent de Paul, Abelly, 3:118.)
Fr. Richard Rock, C.M., Campus Minister for Athletics at St. John’s University sends us this simple reflection:
Vincent did not use this phrase but he definitely demonstrated it in his daily life. The phrase is, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” People sensed that Vincent cared and that is why people loved him, especially the poor.
Today people, especially the poor, can see whether or not someone cares. They see it in your facial expression, your attitude, and they especially know if you are willing to listen. People aren’t always looking for answers, the want people who are willing to stand by them in time of need.
Fr. Richard Rock, C.M., a native New Yorker and adopted Philadelphian, has served on the front lines of Vincentian efforts to serve the poor for most of his adult life. He brings a simple, direct manner to prayer and ministry. #RichisVincent