The 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Homily
St. Vincent de Paul was born in 1581 near Gascony in southwest France.
He was born to a peasant family and was considered a highly intelligent youth. Vincent spent four years with the Franciscan friars getting an education. He began divinity studies in 1596 at the University of Toulouse. He was ordained at age 20.
Returning to France, he served as parish priest near Paris where he started organizations to help the poor, nurse the sick, find jobs for the unemployed, etc. but was also appointed Chaplain at the court of King Henry IV of France.
With Louise de Marillac, they founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. They also instituted the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarists), who worked for the poor, the enslaved, the abandoned, the ignored, the pariahs.
He was a scholar, slave – priest, pastor – founder, manager – chaplain to the monarch, confessor to the marginalized. That’s quite a resume. He certainly had formidable natural talent and skills. These were honed at home, in the academy’s not his vocation, at work, in a crucible of suffering. In this respect, the natural “gifts” were transformed into SUPER-natural “charisms.”
At Independence Hall, Pope Francis quoted Pope Leo XIII in his conversation with Katherine Drexel. After Katherine complained to the Pope, that not enough was being done to assist the poor and marginalized in America, the Pope responded: “Ok, what about you? What are YOU going to do about it?”
I worry a bit about PPSD or “Post Pope Stress Disorder.” Pope Francis comes to Philadelphia, he fires up the parishioners in Berwyn, they come forward with LOTS of motivation and enthusiasm and ideas. And this is great. It’s terrific! But then,
- The REAL work begins.
- People find out that the work is hard.
Second, they get frustrated and discouraged:
- They want to see goodness done but don’t necessarily want to do it themselves or feel that they’re not qualified enough or talented enough or have enough time to do it, so…
- They’ll come to me and it sounds like this:
- Father why don’t you …. or
- Father, someone should, or
- Wouldn’t it be great if, or
- Our young people really need to, or
- Pope Francis said ….
If you come to me, I promise, I’m “going Leo” on you and I’m saying: “Ok, what are YOU going to do about it?”
Pope Francis – and I are looking for new Eldads and Medads and Joshuas. Could it be YOU?
How do you know if you are?
- First, where you are gifted? What do you like doing?
- Where have your gifts and talents already been successful?
- Is it possible that God is calling you to use that talent and just “re-aim” it’s direction and trajectory for the sake of the mission and the fulfillment of the Kingdom?
- Is your role in the local parish or is it in the mission of the greater Church or the world?
Sherry Weddell: The most wonderful thing that has happened in the 10 days of Pope Francis’ pontificate as far as I’m concerned is Pope Francis “shattering-the-categories” of Traditionalist”/”Neo-Catholic”/”progressive” ecclesial wars. New wine skins are being called for. So determining your “charisms” is related to your call and mission here at St. Monica. This questioning process will:
- Help you determine your personal purpose and direction as a lay Christian.
- Become a catalyst of spiritual growth.
- Free you from the need to compare yourselves to others.
- Free you from the need of judging others because they are different from you.
- It will help clarify your decision-making.
- It will help prevent unnecessary failure and burn-out.
- Finally, it will help you understand – and name – what you are already experiencing.