As we enter a new decade, there is always great hope for positive change and making a real difference in alleviating the poverty that we see across the world. I think if we only focus on the news of the day, we will continue to see much discord, mistrust and at times hatred of others. This can be exhibited by political leadership as well as individuals. If we only focus on the more secular world without the inclusion of our Vincentian charism, we are in danger of losing hope.
However, if we stress the importance of the human dignity of every human being and follow the path that was established and followed by Vincent, Louise, Frederic and Rosalie and many others, we cannot possibly lose hope for positive change at all levels of government and with every individual person.
As Vincentians, we seek to find the most vulnerable of society and thereby develop our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, by seeking justice for all. Our charism does not allow us to give up, but instead it inspires us to look at how we can address the immediate needs of those living in poverty while also seeking justice and systemic changes that can lead to more permanent solutions to poverty.
Vincentians have always been radical in their actions and words. We take actions and speak words that can fill the gaps that so many fall through in their struggle to find a life for themselves and their families that gives everyone the dignity they so deserve.
Let 2020 be the start of a new decade and one in which we renew our commitment to being Vincentians. Let us remember why we are Vincentians. Let us not forget to include prayer in our words and actions. Let us speak out with and on behalf of those whose voices are seldom heard. Let us be open to personal change in our lives and how we address poverty. Let us find ways we can be leaders within the Catholic Church and in the secular world as we look at ways to end homelessness, poverty and hopelessness.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is past president of the Ontario Regional Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.
Opinions expressed are the author’s own views and do not officially represent those of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.