Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
Friday, September 27, 2019
Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, a name some of us know only by the writing on the side of the charity pick-up truck. But there’s a reason that name was chosen.
Vincent was a French priest, recognized for his deep compassion, generosity, and love for poor persons. He founded two religious orders dedicated to these values: the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) for priests and brothers, and (with the assistance of St. Louise de Marillac) the Daughters of Charity for women religious. He and the men and women who followed him have blessed the world with immeasurable Christian charity.
Vincent encountered many seemingly insurmountable obstacles in his ministry pursuits. But he continued on. He wrote this in one of his letters:
Let us allow God to act;
God brings things to completion
when we least expect it.
Vincent’s advice is not very different from the encouragement Haggai offers the Israelites in today’s reading. They have taken up the task of rebuilding the Temple. But it’s hard, and it looks like their results will pale when compared to the glory of the First Temple. Some of their elders remember that glory and they are crestfallen at the currents efforts. Discouragement begins to overwhelm them.
But Haggai refocuses the community, reminding them that this is God’s work, not theirs.
And take courage, all you people of the land,
says the LORD, and work!
For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst
do not fear!
In striking poetic symbolism, God then promises to fill the house with glory!
As good people, we try throughout our lives to do things right and well for God. Sometimes our efforts disappoint ourselves and others. We get discouraged. We think the work belongs to us and that we have done it poorly.
Today’s passage is for us. As Haggai speaks in God’s voice: Take courage and work. Leave the rest in God’s accompanying hands.
Music: In God’s Safe Hand – Skjulte Skatter