A Note on Charity for Vincentian Month 2021

by | Sep 26, 2021 | Formation, Reflections

The oft’ used quote at the end of this note really prompts some fundamental and practical questions for Vincentians. How do we love, really love, like God wants us to? How do we avoid egotistical posturings, even when they seem to be born in a pure spirit? How do we “do” charity?
If charity is our rule, as Saint Vincent de Paul taught us, what does it look like? I would suggest that Vincent would counsel us in two ways:

1. Use the gifts you have (personal gifts, institutional gifts, resources given by others) for, and only for, the purpose for which they were given. You may think that something is more important or more worthy. Be humble. Fulfill the obligation you have accepted. Don’t let your ego misdirect the gifts that are yours only in trust.

2. Don’t let your expression of love, your charity, be compulsed. Give freely. And don’t give so that you damage others, or cannot live up to other responsibilities you have.


“…there can be no act of charity that is not accompanied by justice, or that permits us to do more than we reasonably can.”

“il ne peut y avoir d’acte de charité qui ne soit accompagné de justice, ou qui nous permette de faire plus que nous ne pouvons raisonnablement.” [St. Vincent to Francois du Coudray, in Toul, from Paris, June 17, 1640 (CCD 2, 68)]