Saint Vincent never wanted to be a hero or a leader but a “little seed”.
Pope Francis made this observation in a letter he sent to the Vincentian Family on the 400th anniversary of the charism (1617-2017).
The Holy Father thanked the family for their ministry and emphasized the value and relevance of Saint Vincent de Paul today.
“He was always progressing, open to seeking God and himself. Grace worked to supplement this constant quest: as a shepherd, he encountered Jesus the Good Shepherd in a striking way in the person of the poor.”
Noting that Vincent had a burning desire to make Jesus known to the poor, Francis stressed that the saint passionately dedicated himself to proclaiming the Lord, particularly through popular missions and most especially by attending to the formation of priests.
“He quite naturally used a ‘little method’: speaking first of all through his life and then with great simplicity, in a familiar and direct way,” Francis said.
“The Spirit,” the Pope highlighted, “used him as an instrument to raise up a generous impulse in the Church.”
Yet, the Pope reminded, everything began with this little mustard seed.
“Saint Vincent never wanted to be a hero or a leader but a “little seed”. He was convinced that humility, gentleness and simplicity are the essential conditions for embodying the law of the seed that gives life by dying (cf. Jn 12:20-26).”
Francis reminded the law in which our lives remain will be fruitful: “in giving we receive, in losing our lives we gain them and in remaining hidden we shine. He was also convinced that he could not do this alone but rather together, as Church and as the People of God.”
The Church, he noted, must have the courage to give up what might be an advantage in order to imitate in all things its Lord and to fully become itself, making the apparent weakness of charity its only reason to boast.
Pope Francis concluded, assuring them of his prayers and giving the following reminder: ‘You are thus called to reach out to the peripheries of human existence to bring not your skills, but the Spirit of the Lord, the ‘Father of the Poor.”’