Victor Frankl in his famous book, The Will to Meaning, writes that Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his or her life. According to Frankl, when one fails to find meaning in his or her life, there will be an existential vacuum, an inner emptiness within them, which causes boredom in their life. In some others the frustrated will to meaning is compensated by will to power, money or pleasure.
The two events of Follevile and Chatillon in the year 1617 which we remember as the beginning of the Charism of St. Vincent, can be considered St. Vincent’s discovery of will to meaning in his life. It was the moment of his conversion and transformation when he realized his call to in follow Christ the Evangelizer of the poor by preaching the gospel and by doing the works of charity. These events were revelation of God’s will for him and in this Vincent discovered his “will to meaning”.
Victor Frankl also writes that what matters is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. He explains it with a question posed to a chess champion: “Tell me, Master, what is the best move in the world?” His answer was that there is no such thing as the best or even a good move apart from a particular situation in a game and the particular personality of one’s opponent. The same holds for human existence. One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out, a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment.
We find this in the lifelong striving of Vincent to conform his will to the will of God as revealed through day to day events of his life. Louise Abelly in his book, when he writes about the virtues of St. Vincent he tells us that Conformity to God’s will was the master virtue of Vincent, which shed light on all his other virtues.
According to St.Vincent whoever conforms himself in everything to the will of God is imitating the very life of Jesus who said; “ I always do what is pleasing to him”(Jn.8:29). Our faith in Jesus gives meaning to our life and death. There is no better meaning in life than Living as Jesus lived and doing the works which Jesus did.
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.