Resources for Day of Prayer - 2007
Vincentian Family Celebration – 27 September 2007
International leaders of the Vincentian Family have prepared the following resources an aid for reflection on Systemic Change
Some suggested readings:
1 Cor 1:26-31: 2:1-2
Some relevant quotations:
- “If you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are
taking the place of the Son of God, who chose to be poor. Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor: ‘He sent me to preach the good news to the poor.’ We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause” (SV XI, 32).
- “Our love must be affective and effective” (SV IX, 475, 592, 599; XI, 40). St.
Vincent tells the Daughters of Charity: “The love of a Daughter of Charity is not only tender, it is effective, because they serve the poor concretely” (SV IX, 593).
- “We must assist the poor spiritually and corporally” (SV IX, 59, 593; XI, 364). St.
Vincent uses this phrase in speaking to all the groups he founded: the Confraternities of Charity, the Congregation of the Mission, and the Daughters of Charity. He tells the Daughters of Charity that they should tend not only to bodily needs, but also share their faith by their witness and their words. He warns the members of the Congregation of the Mission that they should not think of their mission in exclusively spiritual terms, but should care for the sick, the foundlings, the insane, even the most abandoned (SV XI, 393).
- “We serve by word and work” (SV XII, 87). St. Vincent was deeply convinced that
what we say and what we do must reinforce one another. His rule for “effective evangelization” is “First do, then teach.” He sees preaching, teaching and human promotion as complementary to one another, and as integral to the evangelization process. Today, the unity between evangelization and human promotion, so much a part of St. Vincent's spirit, is one of the main emphases in the Church's social teaching (Cf. Synod of Bishops, 1971, Justice in the World: “... action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world are integral elements in the preaching of the gospel”).
St. Louise de Marillac
- “The poor person is first in the church. He is the prince and master, being a kind of
incarnation of the poor Christ. We must therefore serve him with respect, no matter what his character is like, no matter what his defects. And we must love him” (Jean Calvet, Sainte Louise de Marillac par elle-même. Paris: Aubier, 1958, p. 75).
Blessed Frederick Ozanam
- “Charity is not sufficient. It treats the wounds but does not stop the blows that cause
them … Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveler who has been attacked. It is justice’s role to prevent the attacks” (Letter of 30 April 1848). Pope John Paul II:
- “Search out more than ever, with boldness, humility and skill, the causes of poverty
and encourage short and long-term solutions – adaptable and effective concrete solutions. By doing so you will work for the credibility of the gospel and of the Church” (Address to the Members of the General Assembly of the Congregation of the Mission, 1986).
- “You will also want to seek out the structural reasons which foster or cause the
different forms of poverty in the world … so that you can apply the proper remedies” (Homily given in New York City, October 1979). Albert Einstein:
- “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must
learn to see the world anew” (a quotation attributed to him).
- “Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing
interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static ‘snapshots’” (The Fifth Discipline, 1992).
Vincentian Prayer for systemic change
We praise and thank you, O God, Creator of the Universe.
You have made all things good and have given us the earth to cultivate.
Grant that we may always use created things gratefully,
and share them generously with those in need.
Give us creativity in helping the poor meet their basic human needs.
Open our minds and hearts so that we might stand at their side and assist them to change whatever unjust structures keep them poor.
Enable us to be brothers and sisters to them,
friends who walk with them
in their struggle for fundamental human rights.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN