The mission of Vincentians, members of the Congregation of the Mission, is deeply rooted in an understanding of human nature and its relationship with God. St. Augustine, in his masterpiece “The City of God”, offers a profound reflection on the original vocation of man, which can illuminate the journey of Vincentian missionaries in their apostolic commitment.
The Uniqueness of Man in Creation
St Augustine emphasises how God chose to create humanity from a single man, unlike other creatures. This divine decision emphasises the importance of unity and community. For Vincentians, this concept translates into the importance of seeing each individual as unique and valuable, but also as an integral part of a larger community. The Vincentian mission is therefore to strengthen community bonds, promoting unity and solidarity.
The Intermediate Nature of Man
Man, according to St Augustine, occupies an intermediate position between angels and beasts. This vision of man as a being endowed with free will, capable of sin but also of holiness, is fundamental to the Vincentian mission. Missionaries are called to guide people towards holiness, helping them to overcome temptations and live according to God’s will.
Divine Grace and Redemption
Despite man’s fall and sinful nature, God, in His infinite mercy, offers the possibility of redemption. Vincentians are witnesses of this divine grace, working for the conversion and sanctification of souls. Their mission is to bring the light of God’s grace to dark places, offering hope and salvation.
Man Created in the Image of God
The doctrine of the creation of man in the image and likeness of God is central to Augustinian theology. This vision of man as a reflection of divinity emphasises the intrinsic dignity of each individual. Vincentians are called to respect and value this dignity in every person, regardless of their social, ethnic or economic status.
St. Augustine’s reflections on man’s original vocation provide a profound source of inspiration for Vincentian missionaries. Their mission is rooted in an understanding of human nature and its relationship with God. Through their apostolic commitment, Vincentians are called to be instruments of divine grace, bringing hope, love and redemption to a world in need.