Charity + Humility = Holiness


Today’s saint is Vincent de Paul. Many of us are familiar with this French saint because of his many works of charity. Many Catholic parishes have a St. Vincent de Paul Society that seeks to provide food and shelter to those in need. St. Vincent de Paul lived from 1581 until 1660. He was canonized in 1737 by Pope Clement XII.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society was founded in 1833 by French university students and is present in 132 countries. This charitable organization is dedicated to the service of the poor. I have heard wonderful stories of loving service from the local society in our St. Peter’s Parish.

In an article found on the website, blogger Philip Kosloski writes: “Two hallmarks of Vincent’s spirituality are attention to the poor and a healthy dose of humility.” The two virtues together led him to a life of holiness and can serve as a blueprint for our lives as we follow him in holiness. In that spirit, here are some quotes from our saint that will encourage and challenge us to live holy lives in our own time.

  • The poor are your masters. You are the servant. 
  • Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying. 
  • Be careful to give no credit to yourself for anything; if you do, you are stealing from God, to whom alone every good thing is due. 
  • The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it. 
  • Go to the poor: you will find God. 
  • We should spend as much time in thanking God for his benefits as we do in asking him for them. 
  • Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances. (A good reminder in the Kavanaugh hearing) 
  • Fear not; calm will follow the storm, and perhaps soon. (A good reminder in the Church scandals) 
  • Virtue is not found in extremes, but in prudence, which I recommend as strongly as I can. 
  • There is nothing good that does not meet with opposition, and it should not be valued any less because it encounters objections. (A good reminder as we seek to live as faithful Catholics!)

St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us!

Image from Vinformation

Humility and Charity

Over the past several weeks I have been reading daily from To Live Is Christ: A 40-Day Journey with Saint Paul. Each day takes a passage from one of Paul’s letters and combines it with a related reflection from different Christian writers.

A couple of days ago the passage of Scripture came from Colossians 3:12-17 which includes Paul’s instruction that if we allow God’s peace to rule our hearts and Christ to dwell in us, we will bear fruit.

The reflection that day came from St. Padre Pio (1887-1968) who was an Italian friar, priest and mystic and was canonized as a saint in 2002. He writes this under the title “Advice to One Striving to Do God’s Will.”

Regarding what you have asked me, I don’t want to say anything more concerning your spirit than this: remain tranquil, striving every more intensely with divine help to keep humility and charity firm within you, for they are the most important parts of the great building, and all the others depend on them. Keep yourself firmly fixed in them. One is the highest thing, the other the lowest. The preservation of the entire building depends on both the foundations and the roof. If we keep our hearts applied to the constant exercise of these virtues, we will encounter no difficulties with the others. They are the mothers of the virtues; the other virtues follow them like chicks follow their mother.

Padre Pio doesn’t specify which is which, but as I reflected on this, I thought that the foundation of my life should be charity (love), deeply rooted in love, and the roof of my life should be humility, in order to give me perspective and remember that I am what I am only by the grace of God.

Lord, may I be grounded in your love! Lord, may I never think too highly of myself. All that I am I owe to you. Thanks be to God!