"It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them." St Vincent de Paul (1)
St Vincent de Paul has always been one of my favorite saints. His words are clear, direct and uncompromising. Two of his more noteworthy sayings are: “Extend mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His mercy from us?” And, "Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances."
But no saying of Vincent has impacted me more than his demand that we love the poor, not just feed them. In truth, one can only know the power of this directive by experiencing it. Of all the ministries to which I have been called, it is my encounters with the poor, the homeless and the bed ridden that have been most life changing. They were and are a gift. If you have had the privilege of working with and serving the poor, you know exactly what I mean. If you have never had the opportunity, consider volunteering among those who are so close to God's heart and let their generosity impact your faith.
Today, ask God for the grace of merciful eyes and a forgiving heart.
Have you known poor people whose faith challenged and changed you?