Christ is our model, our example, our life! He brought salvation to the world (Lk 19:10). During the Lenten season, it is always comforting to speak of Our Lord Jesus Christ during the many meetings and activities of the Vincentian Family.
In short, we, Vincentians, always have to talk about Jesus. Not only talk, but act like Jesus. Sometimes it is difficult because we are sinners; but we have to try to persevere … Saint Vincent de Paul taught us to act with gestures and words, focusing on the virtues that deepen our relationship with God.
Christ is our light, our salvation, our hope, our life. He is the salt of the earth, and the light of the world (Mt 5:13). Without Jesus, we are lost. Saint Mother Teresa said, “the lack of Christ is the greatest poverty.”
Vincentians needs to know Christ more deeply, in order to be a reflection of him and to give witness to him. Christ forgave people and in doing so gave a new opportunity to sinners. Vincentian also have to forgive their sisters and brother. Christ was pure and so also Vincentians must be pure of heart. Christ did not judge … Vincentians must not judge; Christ was tolerant and so Vincentians must be tolerant.
Christ was kind and spent his life doing good (Acts 10:38) … Vincentians have to do the same. Christ was compassionate, and so we should also practice compassion. Christ was humble and Vincentians need to be humble. Christ loved the poor; Vincentians must also love the poor. Christ valued the family; we, as Vincentians, have to defend the family.
A Christian cannot be hard of heart, intolerant, inflexible, unjust. Therefore, a “new life in Christ” is what the world needs to hear, see, and experience. There are billions of inhabitants of this planet who still do not know the message of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our MASTER and LORD.
That is why St. Vincent compared CHRIST with the POOR; If we really see the face of Christ in the poor, they should be seen as our MASTERS, KINGS and LORDS.
May we all have a holy Lent, with Christ alive in our hearts!
Brother Renato Lima de Oliveira
16th General President
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul