The latest COVID-19 variant, Lambda, may be resistant to vaccines. It keeps medical experts, and health care professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic up at night. There’s no reason to sound the alarm yet, but there is concern.
With my usual penchant for unusual connections, I see some connections with another more benign virus – the Vincentian Virus. COVID19 Is both similar to and very different from the Vincentian Virus
How are they similar? … different?
Both COVID and the Vincentian Virus
- have the power to change the world as we know it
- can infect indiscriminately – rich and poor, male and female, young and old
- spread by social contact
- have a history and mutating strains
- are contagious via close contact
- can be mitigated by social distancing, etc.
- often hide quietly in people
- change the host
- mutate into different strains and families
- have a variety of symptoms
Covid is different from the Vincentian Virus
- Covid is bad news. The Vincentian Virus is Good news, (especially for those on the margins).
- Covid is focused on self-perpetuation and reproduction. The Vincentian Virus is gospel-driven and focuses on the well-being of others.
- Covid is self-serving, the Vincentian Virus is the imitation of Christ who came to serve, not to be served.
Unless you live “off the grid”, you know there is still a raging controversy over who was Covid’s “patient zero”. Fortunately, we know much more about the Vincentian “patient zero”. The clear and immediate answer is a man named Vincent.
St. Vincent was “patient zero”.
- In his mid-thirties, he was infected by the Good News of Jesus Christ he encountered in the pages of Scripture.
- He spent the rest of his life committed to spreading this Good News by word of mouth and action.
- He instinctively knew that all people were called to be and spread the Good News
- He was amazed at the end of his life at the power of the Good News
Other things we know.
We know where and how he contracted the virus. He contracted the virus in two small 17th century villages Follevile and Chatillon. There he began to recognize two strains of poverty – spiritual and material. He spent the rest of his life working for their eradication.
We also know variants that have developed over the course of 400 years. Some variants have died out. Others are only now coming into existence.
Vincent’s way of spreading the virus of Good News
The Vincentian Virus he set in motion has…
- the power to change not only his life but the face of his France
- lasted over 400 years
- mutated to some 200 strains or branches today
- infected some 4 million people in over 150 countries
Vincent’s way of creating and spreading this movement
- He lived a life characterized by 5 attractive values or virtues.
- He had close contact with those who were poor.
- He identified key clusters of those interested in living the Good News.
- Among these clusters were “influencers” drawn from the Clergy and the previously unrecognized resources of laypeople and especially women.
- He inspired them to embrace the mission of Jesus Christ, Evangelizer of the Poor.
- Using his gifts for organizing, he developed key support structures for an initial 3 clusters – Confraternities of Charity, Congregation of the Mission, and the Tuesday Conferences (which were much more than gathering on Tuesday evenings but an expression of a commitment to a way of life…)
A Vincentian “rapid response” test kit
- Do others know we are Vincentian by the way we live as Good News?
- Do our lives spread this virus by contact?