WHAT SYMPATHY SHOULD DO… A Reflection on the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul.
We celebrate today the fruits of the action of sympathy in the life of a man who became a saint because sympathy led him to a life of empathy.
We remember joyfully today the smiles on the faces of the poor in 17th Century France and almost in every part of the world today because of a man who strongly recognized the presence of Christ in the poor and the poor in Christ. Why is the name “Vincent de Paul” synonymous with charity? Today, alot of people feel sorry for the poor: the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the sick, the imprisoned… but do nothing further to making their sympathy meaningful in any little way they can. The Saint in whose honour I write, felt sorry for the poor and went beyond the feeling of sorry to putting smiles on the faces of the poor wherever he met them.
Following the example of Christ who did not just dismiss the people but gave them something to eat when He noticed their deplorable state, Saint Vincent de Paul remains for us an ICON of Christianity in practice.
Sympathy should break the heart and open the hand. Through the intercession of the apostle of charity, may we allow the Lord to lead us from sympathy to empathy.
HaPpy FeAst DaY to the VinCentian FaMiLy!
Fr. Abiagom Augustine CM