Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 6 and 9 marks the 73rd anniversary of the nuclear explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I was barely 7 years old. I do remember seeing bold newspaper headlines. I only began to understand as the years unfolded. Today, I  don’t want to think of the horrors unleashed.

The explosive power of collaboration and empowerment

I would rather recall some forgotten truths about St. Vincent dePaul. Why? Because they are explosive in a creative way.

  • The truth is that he was convinced that others shared his vision and would be generous in their response to needs. “The poor suffer less from a lack of generosity than from a lack of organization.”
  • The truth is that he was humble enough to ask others to help. He was not wedded to any messianic delusions, tendencies of thinking that he had to do it on his own.
  • The truth is that he was adept at involving others in what he saw needed to be done. He found his strength in accepting his limitations.
  • The truth is that so often he had the courage and the skill to walk where none had walked before.

Over 375 years ago he gave women a role in the church by organizing female charitable organizations. “I have wished to give women a ministry in the Church, the ministry of charity” and again “For more or less eight hundred years women have had no public occupation in the Church. Now, this same providence is appealing to some of you.”

Vincent’s gift was a genius for collaboration and empowerment. These gifts are explosive.

Vincent’s gift is in our hands

“How conscious have we been of his legacy?” This is a question that needs to be asked and answered.

When sending forth his first missionaries, St. Vincent de Paul said “our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but to all over the world, and to do what? To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with his love.”

Vincent’s gift can be fire for the 21st century if we will seize it. Vincent’s gift is to a large extent in our hands.

What a powerful force for good if we all take seriously the underlying concept of the Congregation of the Mission – “community for misson”. Men and women, religious and laity, collaborating to bring good news to those who live at the margins of society. It is already happening through all the men and women collaborating in the various ministries of the Eastern Province.

The first step in collaboration is communication – talking and listening. Would you be interested in communicating with like-minded individuals? We would really like to hear how you think we can work together more effectively in the mission of bringing good news.

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