Asking the right question

There are so many questions you and I face in our lives. But beyond all our questions, there is a bigger question. Am I asking the right question?

When Henry Ford built his first car, he was quoted as saying: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would’ve said faster horses.” The right answer, but the wrong question. He apparently asked the deeper question, “Can I help people improve their lives?

Fifty-five years ago a man asked… “my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

Is “What Would Jesus Do” the Right Question?

What would Jesus Do? What would Vincent do?  These questions are embedded in our own personal situations and questions. No one can doubt the importance of the questions. Yet even these questions are not enough.

Four centuries ago one of St. Vincent’s benefactors turned to Vincent de Paul and asked: “what must be done?” Often referred to as the “Vincentian Question,” this question has shaped the Vincentian mission ever since.

“Something must be done; what must I do?”  J. Patrick Murphy in “Mr. Vincent.”says this is the quintessential “Vincentian question.”

The question rightly highlights the practical orientation of Vincent to the problems he faced.

What Must I Do?

In an earlier series, we reflected on  J. Patrick Murphy’s mini-reflections on the life of  Mr. Vincent. He looked at incidents in Vincent’s life and offered lessons we could learn.

A quick example…

“Vincent was able to convince the government to change how it treated convicts to make their lives more humane.

Lesson: Never underestimate your own power and influence to do good.”

Today, do I make my voice heard on behalf of those on the peripheries? What must I speak out about today?

Over the coming weeks, we will revisit the “Life Lessons” series based on “Mr. Vincent.”

Knowing that something must be done and being brave enough to ask ourselves, “What must I do?”, is to know “What would Vincent do?”

[This post first appeared on FamVin]

 

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