The Easter Challenge through Vincentian eyes… In this Easter season, Matthew 25 is a reminder to all Christians. It especially challenges the followers of Vincent and Louise to find Christ in the Poor and the marginalized. Former Superior General Robert Maloney puts it this way. “Seeing him in the flesh is the Vincentian secret of holiness. (See Pope Francis’ forthcoming Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness.)
A reflective video describes two key aspects of Easter in the Vincentian tradition.
It is especially effective when viewed in full-screen mode on a desktop computer with speakers.
…like Mary the Mother of Jesus, focus on the word made flesh. He still lives among us, especially in the person of the poor. The test of our faith is to see him in the flesh. The first letter of John sets out a high standard for Christians: “Whoever does not love a brother or sister whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he does not see” (1 Jn 4:20) _ because God lives in the flesh. Seeing him in the flesh is the Vincentian secret of holiness. St. Vincent encourages us to recognize him and serve him in the most abandoned with practical, concrete charity. He urges us to be simple and humble before the poor person because he is the icon of the Lord, the body of Christ, the enfleshment of Jesus’ presence today.
In some ways, at least it seems to me, it is more difficult to believe in God’s enfleshment than in his transcendence. It is easier to believe in a God whom we do not see than in a God whom we do see. It is easier to be caught up in a distant mystery than to come face to face with the revelation of God in human persons, especially when they suffer and die before our eyes. It is surely a challenge to see the Lord in the crucified peoples of Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria, Zaire, Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, China _ to mention only a few of the countries where he suffers greatly in his members today. In almost all our countries, it is a daily challenge to recognize him in street people, in refugees, in AIDS victims, in disillusioned young people. “But turn the medal,” St. Vincent says to us, “and you will see by the light of faith that the Son of God, whose will it was to be poor, is represented to us by these creatures….” (SV XI, 32). This was also the same challenge Mary faced. Her contact with Jesus had numerous joys and privileged moments, as we recalled at Christmas. But she also witnessed his rejection, punishment, and dying _ and continued to believe. I urge you to share your faith in the enfleshed Lord this Lent by encouraging others _ especially young people _ to serve him in his suffering members.
Let our Vincentian charism be contagious!
The video is based on a presentation by former Superior General Robert Maloney. He currently resides at St. Vincent’s Seminary, Germantown, Pa.