If Einstein, or whoever said it first, is right … insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results… Vincentians have some things to think about.

What we do over and over and do well…

In the Vincentian Family we have long tradition of doing some things over and over. And we do these things very well! We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless. And that’s what Jesus asked us to do!

But why do we do these things over and over?

Looking at things through the lens of Einstein’s insight we should ask a further question. Why is it that so many people continue to need food, clothing and shelter? Is there something we are missing? Vincent and Frederic thought so. And Pope John Paul II reminded us of that question very forcefully almost 40 years ago.

We all know the wisdom of Vincent and others before him. It is not enough to give someone a sandwich to tide them over. We sometimes have to teach the person how to fish so they can learn to feed themselves. Frederic was very pointed in pointing to the relation between charity and justice. Charity binds up the wounds but justice seeks to prevent the wounds. Pope John Paul challenged Vincentians to look for underlying causes and long-term solutions.

What are we waiting for?

Of course addressing underlying causes is no cause not to address immediate wounds. But unless we also collaborate towards long-term solutions we risk being case studies for the validity of Einstein’s insight about the insanity of doing the same things over and over while expecting different results.

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