This is the eighth and last of a series of formation packages meant for individual or group study based upon “The Prophetic Dimension of the Vincentian Charism in light of the Social Doctrine of the Church” by Sr. María Pilar López.
As noted earlier, “These reflections grew out of a two and a half day workshop which left participants complaining that they wished she would continue in greater depth.” Hopefully, at the conclusion of this series, you share the sentiments of those participants.
“We imagine we know them (Vincent and Louise) because we have read their lives perhaps every year, but we still do not know them in the depths of their souls — and we must admit that those depths are truly magnificent.” [S. Guillemin]
It was not so much that Vincent and Louise saw into the future. Rather, they were fully immersed in the present – as are all mystics and prophets. They stood in the eternal now… and acted accordingly.
They lived an integral evangelization approach well before the phrase became part of the body of doctrine known as the social doctrine of the church. They deeply understood the ecclesiology of the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25.
They woke up the world of their day to the dignity of each human being deserving of dignity rather than pity. And were not afraid to hold others and themselves accountable even in how they administered their own institutions.
Seeing the image of God in each poor person they were able to find God in the margins of society and even in the details of administration and fund-raising.
They instinctively lived Pope Francis’ call to solidarity understood as a “mindset of encounter.”
Although the words “integral evangelization” would have sounded strange to them, their pastoral ministry embodied its deepest meaning.
So often she reminded us that, while they used the language of the 17th century, they foreshadowed the teaching of recent Popes.
In her final section Sister writes movingly of the the Vincentian Charism as a treasure we hold in “earthen vessels” and the prophetic challenge it is to those who walk this path today.
I personally take to heart her words…
“As I was preparing this presentation I remembered a gathering of young religious. After viewing the well known film, The Mission, a Jesuit novice exclaimed: we cannot be pigmy children of giant parents.”
I am proud, humbled … and challenged to claim a place among their followers.
- How has the experience of reflecting on the prophetic dimension of the Vincentian Charism challenged me?
- What can I do to more deeply grasp the tremendous gift of the Vincentian Charism… and live it?
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