Seeing the Face of Christ in the Poor

St. Vincent teaches us to see Christ in the poor and suffering, so much so that the poor become our Lords and Masters and we their servants. Vincentian spirituality is centered around this concept. Jesus said “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (see Matthew 25: 34-40). So we honor our Lord Jesus Christ by serving Him both materially and spiritually in the person of the poor. Vincentians believe that true religion is found among the poor, and that as we attend to their needs, they inspire us and evangelize us.

To Be Evangelized By the Poor

“The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them.” –St. Vincent. When we share in the life and goals of poor persons, we discover the presence of the Spirit of the Lord who renews us. As we speak with them, listen to them, and accompany them as the agents of their own way to liberation, we allow ourselves to be evangelized by them– we are inspired and humbled by their faith and hope in God under the worst of circumstances.

To Evangelize the Poor

Vincentians seek, in their relationship with those in need, to bear witness to the love of Christ for each one of us. The mission to the spiritually needy and the materially needy are integrally related and cannot be separated; one without the other is worthless. Our proclamation of the good news will resound in people’s hearts especially when we give vibrant witness:

  • through the language of works: performing the works of justice and mercy which are a sign that the kingdom of God is really alive among us: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, helping to find the causes of their hunger and thirst and the ways of alleviating it;
  • through the language of words: announcing with deep conviction the Lord’s presence, his love, his offer of forgiveness and acceptance to all;
  • through the language of relationships: being with poor persons, working with them, forming a community that shows the Lord’s love for all.

For more information on Vincentian spirituality, please visit the spirituality pages at the Vincentian Family website.

Vincent de Paul and beggar Christ

“Let us work with a new love in service of the poor, looking for the most destitute and abandoned among them. Let us recognize that before God they are our Lords and masters, and we are unworthy to render them our small services.” – St. Vincent de Paul

Frederic Ozanam Visits the Poor of Paris

“The problem which divides people today is not a political problem, it is a social one. It is a matter of knowing which will get the upper hand, the spirit of selfishness or the spirit of sacrifice; whether society will go for ever increasing enjoyment and profit, or for everyone devoting themselves to the general good, and above all to the defense of the weakest.” – Blessed Frédéric Ozanam