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Vincent de Paul: Wanting their Good, and Letting Ourselves be Loved

by | Jan 4, 2017 | Formation, Reflections

“To love someone, properly speaking, is to want their good. According to this, to love Our Lord is to want His name to be known and manifested to the whole world, to let Him reign on earth, to do His will on earth as in Heaven” (SVP ES XI, 736).

Vincent de Paul



  1. It can not be said that Mr. Vincent was not a man of his time. At his time, the world was not understood without a blind obedience to authority: the divine (God) and the human (the King). Therefore, the “thy will be done” was neither strange nor alien to daily thinking and doing.
  2. On the other hand, Vincent uses certain arguments to bring the “water to his mill.” Arguments that, not infrequently, the passage of time modifies, improves or simply leaves in oblivion. This is what happens, in my view, with the initial: “to love someone is to want their good.” Because what is said is the “minimum” in the will. We say today that loving someone has two dimensions: “being together with the beloved” and “letting oneself be influenced by him.” Surely Mr. Vincent, if he lived today, would say this same to us, with the same simplicity with which he then said “to want the good of the other.”
  3. He unfolds the argument, first, in wanting “His name to be known and manifested to the whole world.” This claim has an overwhelming modernity in that it assumes two of the approaches applied by quality systems today: the will (Mission) has an objective (“that the name of the Lord be known”) and a development (“that the name of the Lord be manifested to the whole world”). We would also say that both represent the two sides of the same coin.
  4. Second, in “to let him reign on Earth.” The Vision projected by Mr. Vincent about the place of the “Lord,” is nothing more than an image of the position of his protector Louis XIV: to reign and, if possible, with all the pomp of the French monarchy at that moment which, of simplicity and austerity, had nothing. In addition, in competition with the same king, because the emplacement of the “kingdom” is the same earth. Pure dualistic doctrine: temporal realm-spiritual realm. We have to to interpret the whole matter of “Kingdom” and “King” … Maybe we should say “reign of the server.”
  5. Finally, in “to do His will on earth as in Heaven,” almost literal repetition of one of the invocations of the “Our Father” … which, like many others, requires explanation. Because… how do we convey the concept “Your will be done” to a militant society of the “absolute responsibility” of the human being? Is it enough to add this qualification to the will, that is, a “voluntary submission”? On the other hand, how can the human being do something so that the Lord’s will is done in heaven? …

Questions for dialogue:

  1. What is your vision of the “Kingdom of God”? A God who governs or reigns based on the service to others?
  2. How is it possible to discover the will of God?
  3. Kingdom — God’s Will — Poor … Do you see any relationship?

Mitxel Olabuenaga, C.M.
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