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End of year reflections – Secret of Vincent’s life

Have you ever wondered what was the secret of Vincent’s amazing life?

Vincent de Paul: a true mystic – The secret of Vincent’s life represents the third installment of an end of year mini-retreat based on reflections written by Vinícius Augusto Teixeira, CM of Province of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). In this section we can reflect on the what it means to be a contemplative in action.

Excerpts…

To live and to act in accord with the spirit of Christ was the secret of Vincent’s life and it was that which also revitalized his mysticism.  That is the experience that Vincent wants to communicate to us.

Vincent walked along the paths of God because God first walked amid the paths of Vincent’s life, enlightened that path, animated Vincent’s steps, corrected his detours, pointed our new directions and thus, transformed this once ambitious and restless man into an instrument of his immense, paternal charity, which is intended to be established and to expand in souls. 

The interior understanding of this mystery oriented the mystic Vincent de Paul and formed within him a heart that enabled him to be moved by the misery that surrounded him and to discern the callings of Providence in every encounter and challenge that life presented him.

That is what occurred, for example, in Gannes-Folleville (January 1617) when he encountered the poor dying man who desired peace …

In Châtillon-les-Dombes (August 1617) Vincent discovered another aspect of human deprivation in the encounter with a family that had been debilitated by illness and by the inability to satisfy their most basic survival needs.

(There is no doubt that in the person of Vincent de Paul we encounter an authentic mystic, a competent spiritual master, a contemplative in action and prayer, one who was able to recognize and affirm the movement of Divine Providence in his life and in history. )

His mysticism, a mysticism of open eyes, gave rise to the strength of his prophecy.  In the silence of his prayer, Vincent outlined his art of forming and transforming.

Transfigured by the presence of God, the life of Vincent de Paul became a reflection of Jesus’ active compassion toward the poor.

It was in the poor that Vincent was able to contemplate and experience the image of his Lord and Master.

It was also the poor who touched Vincent’s conscience and heart which expanded and became more enlightened by Grace.

Vincent’s first biographer has preserved the following words of this mystic: One cannot hope for much from someone who does not continually converse with God.  Further, if someone does not serve the Lord as he/she should, it is because such a person is not attached enough to God and has not asked for his grace with perfect confidence.

Only authentic mystics can speak about the proper place of prayer and speak about it as an exercise that disposes people to receive from the Lord those gifts that will make their life more fruitful and their apostolic ministry, more perfect.

Vincentian mysticism, holiness, charity and mission demand a certain mutuality because all things proceed from the heart of the Father, find a permanent point of reference in Christ and are nourished by the creative power of the Spirit.

To live and to act in accord with the spirit of Christ was the secret of Vincent’s life and it was that which also revitalized his mysticism.  That is the experience that Vincent wants to communicate to us.

I leave you with the full article Saint Vincent de Paul: Mystic of Charity and of the Mission in which he treats how Vincent became active as the prophet of charity and of the mission.

Happy New Year!

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