27 September, Tuesday — Looking out for a friend in need

Sep 27 – Memorial for St. Vincent de Paul, Priest

St. Vincent (1581-1660) spent four years with the Franciscan friars getting an education. He was taken captive by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery, then freed when he converted one of his owners to Christianity. He started organisations to help the poor, nursed the sick, found jobs for the unemployed, etc. With Louise de Marillac, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. He also instituted the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarists).

  • Patron Saint Index

1 Cor 1:26-31
Mt 9:35-37

…it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning

I always remembered that the second collection taken up every month was for the society of St Vincent de Paul. I noticed that they used to give food bundles to their Families and Friends in Need (FIN). Groups of people would often gather in the church foyer to wait for food parcels to be distributed to the needy. It was always humbling to see so many people who were less fortunate living around my estate.

Some years ago, the book ‘This is how inequality looks like’ was published, which examined the level of income inequality within the country. I remembered that the author emphasised the need to accord people of low income status the dignity befitting a human being. Today’s memorial is a good reminder to all of us that we may have forgotten what it means to treat a person with love and care in our daily lives.

Most of us understand that being poor materially and financially is a scourge to all of humankind. An individual who is financially poor is hampered to make other important decisions in life as the individual might be too fatigued cognitively to think on how to increase his wealth. However, there is a hidden poverty of spiritual and mental wealth which I am beginning to see amongst my friends. There seems to be a lack of recognition amongst members of society that the person whom I am speaking to might be growing through struggles in their life which I do not see and know. St Vincent de Paul worked hard to reach out and provide material comfort to the FINs. Our role as lay people is to emulate his example.

Technological tools have broken down the barriers of time and geography. I would ask that you consider reaching out to one person whom you have not reached out to for some time. St Vincent de Paul was present to each of the people whom he reached out to. In today’s world, time is a priceless gift we can present to the people who matter to us. Being present for one another is important, because it allows us to know the other party better. I pray for God the Holy Spirit, to guide our decisions and give us the suitable words to speak and edify the hearts of the people around us.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia) 

Prayer: Dear Jesus, let us follow your example to be a good role model to all around us.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who love us through their actions.


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