We all know the words “I have a dream”! Less familiar are the words from the Acts of the Apostles “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)” Or the words in Proverbs 29:18 “Without dreams the people perish!” What about the dream of Vincent dePaul?
The Dream of Vincent
Vincent sought to focus all of his efforts on the direct service of poor people. However, he knew to do so, he would need to gather, motivate, and negotiate with diverse groups of people. Vincent de Paul constantly devised ingenious ways to pool the resources of the wealthy and the talents of willing co-workers.
His creativity manifested itself even in the recognition of potential helpers. He tapped assistance, skills, or talent, as well as financial resources, from socialites, politicians, professors, jailers, military officers, prisoners, farm laborers, merchants, parish priests, and cloistered nuns. He did not allow current norms to limit his creativity in the service of the poor.
With characteristic imagination, Vincent recruited individuals and organized groups into an ever-widening circle of men and women to care for the poor and to change society.
The Legacy of Vincent’s Dream
Dreams come and go in our lives. Far more die than come to reality.
Vincent’s legacy is a mixture of single-mindedness and openness. With his heart set on God and neighbor, Vincent de Paul searched for whatever methods might make that love active and credible. Approaches that escaped other people’s attention caught his eye because of their potential. After deliberating, he would step out beyond the tried and the true when he saw a need to be met or a good to be done.
Reaching out to a dream, a vision can be risky! What a precious feeling to be supported, to have others say you can do it, we can do it together!
Questions to Think About
- What is it in us that allows us to let go of visions that could create new and beautiful worlds?
- Why do we so easily give in to barriers?
- Why do we let ourselves conform and be satisfied with what is?
Let us pray…
Lord Jesus, expand our vision and fire our creativity in the service of your people, and especially those who live in poverty. Draw us together with others who also seek to serve the dignity and rights of each person. Lead us peacefully on our way through all the tension and pressures of working together as your Vincentian Family. May your spirit fill our hearts and give us wisdom. We ask this through the intercession of St. Vincent de Paul and the founders of our Vincentian Family.
Adapted from a prayer service found on FamVin Dream Dreams