Send the Elevator Back Down

by | Jul 13, 2018 | Formation, Reflections | 2 comments

Send the Elevator Back Down – Lift Up Those Who Come After You

An elevator goes up… and goes down.  People get on … and off.

A few years ago I reflected on J. Patrick Murphy’s very brief life of Vincent. In his booklet Mr. Vincent he reminded us that Vincent’s was a peasant and a lawyer. He offered a lesson: “Know your roots, lift up those behind you, educate up.”

In practical terms, Vincent never forgot who he was and where he came from. When it finally dawned on him that others were not as blessed as he was as chaplain to the DeGondi estates, he committed his life to the marginalized, sending down the elevator to bring them up from their positions on the periphery to awareness of the Good News.

Is Sending the Elevator Back Down Enough?

Larry Huber of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul got me thinking more deeply with this comment on that reflection.

…when we as Vincentians make our home visits, we not only “send it back down” we hop on as well. When we discover where the person is and learn more about him/her, hopefully, we can ride back up with that person, to a better station (or state of mind).

What an excellent insight!

Listen to Pope Francis

It is important to work for a Church that is for everyone, a Church that is ready to welcome and to accompany! The work to be done in order to achieve all of this is vast; and all of you also have your own specific contribution to offer.

Isn’t that what God has done for each of us in taking on human flesh? Jesus has accompanied each of us… even when we were furthest away in sin.

The challenges of accompaniment

Pope Francis gets accompaniment and has shown us again and again what it means for Catholics and the Church to accompany others.

  • You meet people where they are.
  • You presume the good in them and hope that they will presume the good in you.
  • You have a conversation.
  • You open your mind and heart: you prepare to learn something from them.
  • You go where they are going, if only for a little while, trusting that something good will come of it.

Think about

  • Am I aware of the ways I have been accompanied?
  • Do I get off the elevator at my floor?
  • What does it mean for me to walk with the people I serve?


  1. Tom

    A packed metaphor…

    • Larry Huber

      Father John, thanks for the reminder about the elevator. We all can use a refresher on how best to serve those in need (including ourselves).