Thought for the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul C.M. (1581-1660)
From “Conferences to the Priests of the Mission”
by St Vincent de Paul (Conference 207).
It is not enough to love God if my neighbour does not love Him.
“Our vocation is to go and enflame the heart of men, to do what the Son of God did, He who brought fire into the world to set it alight with His love. What else can we wish for, than for it to burn and consume all things?
Thus it is true that I have been sent not only to love God but also to make men love Him.
It is not enough to love God if my neighbour does not love Him. I must love my neighbour as the image of God and the object of His love and do everything so that in their turn men love their Creator who knows and considers them as His brothers, whom He has saved, I must obtain that they love each other with mutual love, out of love for God who loved them to the point of abandoning to death His very Son. So that is my duty. Now, if it is true that we are called to bear God’s love near and far, if we must set nations alight, if our vocation is to go and spread this divine fire in the whole world, if it is so, my brothers, if it is really so, how must I myself burn of this divine fire!
How can we give love to others, if we do not have it among us? Let us look if it is so, not generally but if each one has it within himself, in due amount, because if love is not on fire in us, if we do not love each other as Jesus Christ loved us and if we do not act as He did, how can we hope to spread such love throughout the world? You cannot give what you do not have. The precise duty of charity consists in doing to others what you reasonably would like done to yourself. Do I really behave towards my neighbour as I wish he would towards me?
Let us look at the Son of God. Only our Lord can be so taken by love for creatures so much as to leave His Father’s throne and take a body subject to infirmity. And why? In order to establish among us, with His word and example, the love of our neighbours. This is the love that led Him to the Cross and accomplished the wonderful work of our redemption. If we had a little of such love, would we stay here with folded arms? Oh! no, love can not remain barren, it urges us to obtain salvation and relief for others.”
Prayer for Vocations
By St Vincent de Paul
send good workers to Your Church,
but may they be good!
Send good missionaries
to work in Your vineyard,
labourers, O my God,
such as they ought to be:
utterly detached from themselves,
their own comfort,
and worldly goods.
Let them even be few in number,
provided that they are good.
O Lord, grant this grace
to Your Church.