Vincent de Paul: “Beauty” is in God

by | Oct 19, 2016 | Formation, Reflections

“What can compare to the beauty of God, who is the source of all the beauty and perfection of creatures? Is it not from God that the flowers, the birds, the stars, the moon, and the sun derive their luster and beauty?  (SVP, vol XIII, no. 43).

Vincent de Paul.

reflexion-vicente-fb-eng

Reflection:

  1. “Beauty,” “loveliness,” “perfection” … A good TV ad would say: “three in one,” and not just comparing it with the mystery of the Trinity. In this case, Saint Vincent applies them to God not so much to extol those attributes of Him, but to show that He is the source of them, with the understanding that they are invaluable for any of his creatures and therefore worthy of fighting to achieve and, above all, keep.
  2. Maybe we should ask Monsieur Vincent for the meaning of “beauty,” for making it the supreme point of comparison. “What can compare to…?” The answer is probably at the end of the text: “perfection,” beauty as perfection. Not bad at all, because it puts us (human beings) in our place! The perfection of the creatures, flowers, birds, the stars, the moon, the sun… We would do well to review the account of creation: “… and God saw that it was good, everything was well done.”
  3. A permanent assertion of St. Vincent is the emanation from God (how could it be otherwise) of everything to do with life: light, truth, beauty… Everything is in God for humanity. Everything like a rainbow deployed to illuminate the human being and, from this perspective, make him the image of God. This idea becomes radical in his mind when he addresses it to the poor and transforms them into a “privileged image.”
  4. Because, along with the quality of his works, perhaps this is the great charismatic intuition of Saint Vincent: to make the deployment of the divine “qualities” especially glimpsed at the poor, and therefore, make them a privileged place of encounter with God. He comes to this conclusion after a long pilgrimage to other fountains, whose waters fail to convince him. We know some of his first steps: Chatillon, Folleville… and his words: “the poor are our companions on the way to God.”

Questions for dialogue:

  1. How is our image of the God of Jesus Christ?
  2. Is our world, our society, really well done?
  3. Does the life of the Church reflect a friendly and close image of God?
  4. Do we need the poor to reach God?
  5. The poor, are they our lords and masters, or just traveling companions?

Mitxel Olabuenaga, C.M.
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