During the time of the civil war that was raging in France, Vincent wrote to Pope Innocent X and described the devastation and suffering that was experienced by so many people:
Most of the country people are perishing of starvation if not by the sword. Not even priests escape the soldiers’ hands; they are treated with inhuman cruelty, tortured, and killed. Young women are raped, and even nuns are victims of their lust and fury. Churches are profaned, plundered, and destroyed; those left standing are, for the most part, abandoned by their pastors, so the people are deprived of the sacraments, Mass, and almost all other spiritual assistance (CCD:IV:446).
During the same crisis of the civil war, Louise de Marillac wrote to the Sisters in order to inform them that:
she did not think that we can go to buy any wheat since there is none in the surrounding villages … we can obtain this wheat if we would have it delivered by several archers whom we would pay for their trouble. I do not think there is any other way to prevent these poor little children from dying of hunger.
In March 1848, Frederic Ozanam wrote to his brother and stated:
The first duty of Christians now is not to be frightened, and the second is not to frighten others, but on the contrary, to reassure the timorous, and to make them understand that the present crisis is like a storm that cannot last.
On Sunday Pope Francis prayed that God would rid the world of the coronavirus and later stated:
during these difficult days we can find small, concrete gestures expressing closeness and concreteness towards the people closest to us, these are important, decisive gestures …
Our Founders and Pope Francis seem to agree that in a time of crisis there is need:
For spiritual resources
For dramatic action
In the previous post, I raised the question:
How do we evangelize with joy in the midst of crisis?
Paulinah Appiah Antwi responded and stated:
As Vincentians, we should continue to pray in the midst of our situation, and Christ would do exactly what He has said. We need to also have deep faith in the situation we find ourselves in. Christ is in control and will show us how to achieve our goals.
That response certainly affirms the need for calmness and having recourse to spiritual resources.
But if a brother or sister has nothing to wear and we say to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but do not give them the necessities of the body what good is it?
Therefore, I conclude with another question:
in the midst of our present crisis
what is the dramatic action that we,
as members of the Vincentian Family,
ARE BEING CALEED UPON TO UNDERTAKE?
To view other posts in this series, click here.