“The up-to-date renewal of the religious life comprises both a constant return to the sources of the whole of the Christian life and to the primitive inspiration of the institutes, and their adaptation to the changed conditions of our time.” This verse from Vatican II, (Decree on the Up-to-date Renewal of Religious life) is very meaningful to all of us, the Vincentian family members, as we celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the charism of our founder, St. Vincent.
The two events which are remembered as the beginning of the charism in St. Vincent’s life are the preaching of word of God at Folleville and the beginning of confraternity of Charity at Chatillon, which was also the result of a Sunday sermon he preached in his parish. St. Vincents’s words always had the spiritual power to move his listeners to spiritual conversion and for works of Christian charity. It is because they came from his deep prayer experience and conviction of God’s love and wisdom revealed in the word of God.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote to the youth of our time in the foreword of the YOUCAT:
“You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination. You need God’s help if your faith is not going to dry up like a dewdrop in the sun, if you want to resist the blandishments consumerism, if your love is not to drown in pornography, if you are not going to betray the weak and leave the vulnerable helpless.” (Foreword of the YOUCAT).
Conviction of our Christian faith, and deep experience of God in prayer and in the Word of God, are the authentic sources of Christian renewal and also for the renewal of the charism. For St. Vincent, this was his source of inspiration and strength in his living out the Charism. Without returning to these sources, we can never have authentic renewal of our charism and the strength to live it in this more challenging time as Pope Benedict mentioned. As our Superior General Tomaz Mavrič always reminds us, we need to be mystics of charity in order to be apostles of charity.
About the Author:
Fr. Binoy Puthusery, C.M. is a Vincentian priest belonging to the Southern Indian Province. He was ordained as priest on December 27, 2008 and soon after served as an assistant parish priest in Tanzania. In 2011, after two years of ministry, he was appointed as Spiritual Director to the Vincentian Sisters of Mercy, Mbinga Tanzania, where he still is today.