“I ask Our Lord to grant us the grace of considering those matters as they are in God and not as they appear apart from Him; otherwise we might deceive ourselves and act other than He wishes.” (CCD VII, to Phillippe Le Vacher, December 6, 1658). “O my Savior and my God, grant us the grace to see these things with the same eye as You do!” (CCD XII, 78).
Vincent de Paul.
- Here we have two thoughts from different periods of the life of Saint Vincent that belie the same idea. Both start with expressions of request: “I ask Our Lord” and “O my Savior and my God!” Requests that include in themselves “desire and plea.” Desire to achieve; plea to not get in the way. Amid a typical form of expressing himself, especially the second, which was so fond: “O my Savior and my God!“
- “Consider those matters as they are in God and not as they appear apart from Him.” Maybe we should talk about the “Project or Plan of God.” Perhaps, in the end, we must identify it with the “Reign of God.” Because one of the keys to following Jesus Christ is precisely to announce to humanity that this situation has already begun even though we have ahead an immense amount of time (a huge dose of quality) to extend it to all men and women.
- “See these things with the same eye as You do.” The Reign of God asks us to look at reality from His perspective, not ours, or, in my view it would be the same, make ours the gaze of God. A look that, as Pope Francis says, is, above all, merciful and festive. Merciful because we all fit in His reign; festive because it is a celebrative reign. Jesus of Nazareth knew it well: apart from praying and caring for whoever needed, he never missed a party (drinking, dancing and the presence of women included).
- For without this divine gaze “we could deceive ourselves,” i.e., we could stop having that “smell of sheep,” become from messengers to believing us to be the message… and yet this “act differently” and from “merciful” become “judgmental,” from “festive persons” become “boring.” In the end, an inquisitorial and obscurantist Church, some institutions riddled with rules and convictions, some communities very clean but cold inside. Well Cantalapiedra, a Spanish singer and composer, sang: “we went off the house of my friend looking outside for his tracks.”
Questions for dialogue:
- Where is my gaze, in front of the events of life?
- How do I face the possibility of seeing with the eyes of God?
- Is it merciful and festive my proclamation?
- Are the Vincentian communities a sign of this look?
- Do I have any vital projects to improve my vision?
Mitxel Olabuenaga, C.M.
Clear, up-to-date wording of a profound Vincentian-Gospel way of viewing life!