In the Bible, the book of Exodus concludes the narration of the journey of Israelites to the promised land by saying: whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey (Ex 40:36-38). The Book of Numbers puts it more clearly: At the command of the Lord the Israelites would set out and at the command of the Lord they would camp (Num 9:18). These passages help us to reflect about our life as a journey guided by divine providence.
Church teaches us divine providence as, “the mysterious way in which God guides everything to its perfection.” The universe including each one of us are created “in a state of journeying” towards an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined us. God is the sovereign master of his plan. To carry it out he also make use of his creatures’ cooperation. God influences both the great events of history and also the little events of our personal life, without reducing our freedom.
A very distinctive characteristic of St. Vincent’s life and work is that he always waited for God’s providence to lead him. All his apostolic and charitable works were not accomplished from preconceived ideas and previously designed plans but are the result of a perfect docility to the divine providence which he simply followed step by step.
Like the Israelites waited for God’s sign, Vincent was always very attentive to the of voice of God revealed through persons and daily events of life. To follow the footsteps of St. Vincent means also to learn to follow the footsteps of divine providence in our life- journey.
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.