Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
Job does not curse God when the gifts are taken away, but he does begin to ask many questions and give up seeking happiness in this life. He sees that all must pass away, as we heard frequently from Ecclesiastes last week. The Psalmist, too, gives full voice to his state as he prays to God, “My soul is surfeited with troubles, and my life draws near to the nether world. I am numbered with those who go down into the pit; I am a man without strength.” (Ps 88:4-5) Christ unites himself to us precisely here. He sought to be united to all we suffer, even the last thing we suffer: death. “He set his face resolutely to journey to Jerusalem…” (Lk 9:51) Luke records the moment that Christ shifted from public ministry and set his path directly towards the cross.
We must let the Cross purify our sight. There we see the One who seeks to give His life that we may have life. As St. Vincent de Paul wrote to the members of his order, “Courage, my dear confreres! Let us hope that Our Lord will strengthen us in the crosses that come to us, no matter how great they may be, if he sees that we love them and have confidence in him. If illness presents itself, and if persecution, exterior and interior trials, temptation, and even death itself present themselves to us, let us say to them, ‘Welcome, celestial favors, graces from God, holy trials coming from a paternal and all-loving hand for my benefit; I receive you with a heart filled with respect, submission, and confidence toward the one who sends you; I abandon myself to you in order to give myself to him.’” St. Vincent de Paul encountered many crosses in his life of service to the poor. In each of them he saw a means of greater union with Christ. Let us ask God for the kind of vision that He gave to St. Vincent, which made him so courageous.