A few years ago, while researching for a talk Your Writer spent some time at Christ the King Seminary library, a favorite spot for quiet and research and just plain thinking. The staff there is so welcoming and always helpful; and the library itself one of the best of hidden treasures in WNY. During a break from note-taking, wandering down one of the aisles, he encountered “Correspondence, Conferences and Documents,” several volumes of the writing of St. Vincent de Paul.
It is a collection beyond belief!
Among many of its characteristic strengths, is the simple fact that one, very busy man was able to do it all. That’s before one even takes a book off the shelf. As Spiritual Director of the SVDP Society, it moves me to admire again all the Society does every day. Busy people doing more things than imaginable. Whenever we feel overloaded just think of St. Vincent! When he worked hard and encouraged others he took time to reflectively put it into writing. They managed to get put it all into what have become more than a dozen volumes of letters and thoughts and conferences. And that’s in English. Someone took the laborious time to translate it for us to absorb and by them be inspired.
Reflecting while we’re working seems to be the gift all our confreres have. Attending any event or gathering of members there is always a profound sense of something spiritual beneath it all, something holy, something bright and even something peaceful. The very next step we should tap is to realize what a gift it is and somehow generously share it.
The 1986 biography of our Founder, Frédéric Ozanam, is subtitled “A Life of Letters.” Blessed Frédéric himself wrote many letters, themselves treasures in his excitement, his struggles and his faith. Reading parts of them connect us to our work as members and gives energy to our faith.
We truly embody those unforgettable words of St. Vincent, words we really need to recall these days of turmoil in our country and the World:
Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem o have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor.
Let’s never tire.
Copyright St. Vincent de Paul Society of Buffalo, New York. All rights reserved.