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From Feeling Good to Doing Right • A Weekly Reflection with Vincent @NiagarUniv

by | Sep 6, 2017 | Formation, Reflections

“There are many who, recollected exteriorly, and filled with lofty sentiments of God interiorly, stop at that, and when it comes to the point of doing something, and they have the opportunity to act, they come up short. They flatter themselves with their ardent imagination; they’re satisfied with the sweet conversations they have with God in meditation and even speak of them like angels; but when they leave there, if there’s a question of working for God, of suffering, of mortifying themselves, of instructing poor persons, of going in search of the lost sheep, of being happy when they lack something, or of accepting sickness or some other misfortune, alas! they’re no longer around; their courage fails them. No, no, let’s not fool ourselves: Totum opus nostrum in operatione consistit [All our work consists in action] (CCD, XI, 25).

Vincent de Paul

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Reflection:

  1. Like so many times, it is convenient to start at the end: “no, let’s not fool ourselves: all our work consists in action.” It is not frequent to hear this in the mouth of Mr. Vincent. It falls within the likelihood that some of his listeners were within those included in the “deception”, or the matter was sufficiently public to merit “rebuke”.
  2. Shocking the statement “they’re satisfied with the sweet conversations they have with God.” Is it possible to talk with God and not to do anything else after the intimate experience?… If so… is it not, rather, a kind of selfishness?… Maybe Mr. Vincent was aware that this was happening with some of his missionaries. In any case… a call to attention to those who listened!
  3. However, “if there’s a question of working for God, of suffering, of mortifying themselves, of instructing poor persons, of going in search of the lost sheep, of being happy when they lack something, or of accepting sickness or some other misfortune, alas! they’re no longer around; their courage fails them.” Wow! It seems to me as if Mr. Vincet was talking for us nowadays, wasn’t he?

Questions for dialogue:

  1. Is there coherence between my “spiritual” life and “putting it at work” in real life?
  2. Is there any relevance nowadays to Saint Vincent’s reflection in the beginning of the C.M.?
  3. When it comes to “work”, what do we have in mind: the time, the quality, the type of work, the companions on the road…?
  4. Are our communities an example of a well done ministry for the people with whom we live?
  5. What do you think of the expression: “I fear the mystics and the fools but, above all, the fool mystics”?

Mitxel Olabuenaga, C.M.
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