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“Vincent’s Secret Sauce” — Further Thoughts

They are men, women, members of organized branches of the Vincentian Family such as the AIC, the St. Vincent dePaul Society, the Congregation of the Mission (and former members of the Congregation). It is particularly encouraging to see what we in organized branches are still struggling to name… “unaffiliated Vincentians” or those who are attracted to the ideal of Vincent, but not part of any branch.

What struck me

In the spirit of “Mindwalk”, the critically unappreciated yet powerful movie that provides the title and the inspiration for this site, we are learning from one another. I know I am! In that spirit of exploration I share what struck me this week.

“Imagination – opens up avenues of terminology to describe and encourage the “spark” of our mission.” Dee Mansi

“Vincent realizing his own poverty (as a bridge to other peoples’ poverty), is often overlooked.” Tom McKenna

Imagination and scripture 

These, among other thoughts you shared,  prompted my second thoughts on Vincent’s Secret Sauce. So I wandered a bit with thoughts of the power of imagination and the power of reading scripture that shaped Vincent’s life and mission. With the help of my personal research assistant, Google, I discovered these two thoughts.

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” ― Lewis Carroll

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” ― Mark Twain

The reality of Vincent’s time was very harsh… and that includes realities we often don’t understand about Vincent’s time… the ravages of plagues, and devastating wars brought about by political and theological polarization.

Reading scripture, certainly inspired his imagination and shaped Vincent’s life… I believe that Vincent read scripture not for intellectual insight but as something that he saw connected with his daily life. He fed his imagination with scripture!

The scriptures were not only about other people who lived a long time ago in another culture. They were stories he identified with by letting his mind imagine what the stories of long ago and the actions of Jesus taught him about the possibilities of a different way of looking at his reality. Scripture became his lens and prompted his imagining what he would think or do in any given situation. Scripture allowed him to imagine his own poverty before God.

The Vincentian question, because it was the one Vincent always asked, is “What must be done?”

  • Do we imagine ourselves into the pages of Scripture?
  • Does this reading open up our imagination to what can be done?
  • What are we doing to live the scripture in our lives today?

PS FamVin has a series “Vincent’s Life Lessons”

This post first appeared on Vincentian Mindwalk

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