“The Vincentian Charism is a way of life. As a way of life within the Church, it is a road to sanctity, the sanctification of our own lives and the lives of others.”
At his closing homily for the 400th anniversary, Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, C.M., 24th successor of St. Vincent de Paul as Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and animator of the Vincentian Family spoke to his sisters and brothers. He asked us all to be willing to be surprised: by new branches, by new invitations, and new encounters with the poor Christ. Enjoy this excerpt from his homily, and look to famvin for more this week.
The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, works, moves, encourages, brings fire within the Church through numerous gifts and does not cease to amaze and surprise us, to bring us to the goal of all humanity: the Kingdom, eternal life, life in Jesus, with Jesus in eternal happiness. The Holy Spirit brings to life different charisms within the Church, different paths towards the same goal.
A specific charism means discovering a particular hue on Jesus’s face, being attracted to, inspired by, called to follow Jesus, finding a place in the Church, the way to serve, to live the faith, to participate in Jesus’s plan of salvation for every single person and all humanity. As members of the Vincentian Family, we ponder the face of Jesus Vincent de Paul had discovered and by which he was inspired. We see the face of Jesus that changed his life, in which he found the true meaning of his existence and understood the mission he was called to accomplish. We, as his followers, are trying to carry it out in the here and now. Vincent de Paul invites us to deepen in our own lives, and to encourage others to discover and follow, the “face of Jesus” that he left to us.
The Vincentian Charism is a way of life. As a way of life within the Church, it is a road to sanctity, the sanctification of our own lives and the lives of others. We can call the Vincentian Family a movement composed of persons who belong to a specific branch of the Family, as well as those who do not belong yet to a specific branch, but are inspired by Saint Vincent de Paul’s way and live it in their lives. This is a movement that is inspired by the “face of Jesus,” discovered and followed by Saint Vincent de Paul.
To let the Spirit of Jesus move freely, to collaborate with Him, means we must allow ourselves to be surprised to the point that new branches – or groups of the present branches – may be founded in the future in different parts of the world.
To see the “face of Jesus” clearly before our eyes, to grow in charity, to be convincing followers of the Vincentian Charism it is of utmost importance for us:
- To live a deeply spiritual life. The Incarnation, the Holy Trinity, the Eucharist, Mary, the virtues of simplicity, humility, meekness, giving priority to Jesus and not to persons and things, for the mission, for the salvation of humanity must be the pillars of our spirituality.
- To combine prayer and action in all we do, being apostles in prayer and contemplatives in action. Vincent had learned that “even if you never said a word, if you’re really united with God, you’ll touch hearts by your mere presence.”
- To discover and see Jesus in the Poor and the Poor in Jesus. Saint Vincent de Paul had a holistic approach to persons, reacting to their specific needs: spiritual, material, emotional, and physical, but in a logical order. This approach, this understanding, this discovery made him a “Mystic of Charity.” We, as members of the Vincentian Family, are called to become “Mystics of Charity.”
- To renew, deepen, and revive our closeness to the Saints and Blessed of the Vincentian Family by spreading veneration of, trust in, and intercession to them at the local, national, and international levels.
- To base our assistance on good formation in all its aspects: human, spiritual, and professional, each in relation to the specific service in which we are involved.
- To continue developing close collaboration with all the branches and members of the Vincentian Family, whether they belong officially or unofficially to a specific branch on the local, national, and international levels.
- To engage more decisively on the path of the “Systemic-Change” model that frees the Poor from their bonds as victims to become instead equal partners for the good of all humanity.
- To keep collaborating with other groups, organizations, and institutions outside the Vincentian Family who share our same goals and vision on the local, national, and international levels.“The charity of Jesus Crucified urges us” and “love is inventive to infinity.”
Let us seek, together, new and creative ways to come to the assistance of the Poor. Our efforts, struggles, and common dreams cannot stop until Charity is globalized. Our common wish and dream is that more and more people will join the walk toward the Globalization of Charity. May numerous persons begin to follow the Vincentian Charism, joining the different lay associations within the Family, as well as the various women’s and men’s Congregations of Consecrated Life as sisters, brothers, and priests.
Dear young men and women from around the world, if you feel in your heart that Jesus is calling you today, called you during this three-day symposium, to join in our common mission by becoming part of a lay association or becoming a lay missionary, sister, brother, or priest, answer positively, with inner peace and conviction. You will be on the right path, the path that will lead you to the highest point of happiness and meaning in your life.
We are celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Vincentian Charism. Not wanting to fall “into ingratitude, the crime of crimes,” we give profound thanks to Providence, to Jesus, for making this small mustard seed grow into a large tree. We ask forgiveness of Jesus and of the people for all the mistakes, faults, and sins committed by its members. We ask for the grace to remain deeply rooted in the Charism. We ask, in all simplicity and humility, to engage with even more fire, dedication, and strength in the mission entrusted to us by Jesus, making even clearer the “face of Jesus,” the “Evangelizer of the Poor,” in the world by watering, trimming, and fertilizing the tree so its branches may reach to the farthest corners of the earth.”
Thank you, dear Fr. Thomas, for this inspiring and impressive homily. May the Lord of Charity reign forever in our lives!
This was truly a perfect closing. The time was like the greatest family reunion that could happen. We looked into the eyes of our Vincentian family and did not need words. We spoke many languages but our hearts spoke understanding. Collaboration for me is key to our moving into the next 400 years. Let us water the new roots and trim down what is not needed. Amen.