“We must do what is most agreeable to God. Therefore, we must do what our Lord Jesus Christ did when preaching the Gospel. Let us go to the poor.”
Today, September 7, we celebrate the feast day of Blessed Frederic Ozanam (1813-1853 ), Founder of the Vincent de Paul Society. A scholar during his time, Frederic was inspired by the plight of the poor, seeing service to those in need as the duty of all good Christians. Not content to simply help the poor in their time of need, he sought to radically change the lives of the downtrodden. To help achieve his goal, Frederic founded the Vincent de Paul Society—an active organization today with over one million members in 32 countries.
Frederic demonstrated both a love of the Lord and an aptitude for scholarly endeavors from an early age. He enrolled at the Royal College of Lyons where he excelled at his studies and was appointed editor of the college journal. Distraught by a revolutionary age that appeared to be renouncing Christianity, Frederic and his fellow students organized conferences of literature, history, and philosophy—desiring to support each other in the faith. During one of these conferences, Frederic was challenged by a young socialist student who said, “The Church is hypocrisy. What are you doing for the poor?” Inspired, this conversation eventually led to the establishment of the Conference of Charity—an organization not only to defend the faith, but also to encourage students to engage in active works of charity and put their faith into action. Frederic invited his friends to join his cause saying to them, "If we are too young to intervene in the social struggle, are we then to remain passive in the middle of a world which is suffering and groaning? No, a preparatory path is open to us. Before doing public good, we can try to do good to a few. Before regenerating France, we can give relief to a few of her poor."
“Be kind and love, for love is your first gift to the poor. They will appreciate your kindness and your love more than anything else you can bring them." Under her guidance, the society worked to reach out and meet those in need, where they were - in their homes. They brought them bread and clothing, friendship and care. They were not only a hand, but a presence of the love and kindness of Christ.
Blessed Frederic Ozanam died peacefully at the young age of 40, after a protracted illness. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II, and is celebrated today as one of the only married beatified. His commitment to the plight of those in need, and social justice for all, inspires us to look around our communities today—outside our safety zones—and activate the Christian virtues of charity that we are all called to by the life of Jesus.
“Yours must be a work of love, of kindness, you must give your time, your talents, yourselves. The poor person is a unique person of God’s fashioning with an inalienable right to respect. You must not be content with tiding the poor over the poverty crisis; You must study their condition and the injustices which brought about such poverty, with the aim of a long term improvement.”
"I would like to embrace the whole world in a network of charity."
"In my life I want to become better and do a little good."
"The question which is agitating the world today is a social one. It is a struggle between those who have nothing and those who have too much. It is a violent clash of opulence and poverty which is shaking the ground under our feet. Our duty as Christians is to throw ourselves between these two camps in order to accomplish by love, what justice alone cannot do."
“You are our masters, and we will be your servants. You are for us the sacred images of that God whom we do not see, and not knowing how to love Him otherwise shall we not love Him in your persons.”
“Charity is a tender mother who keeps her eyes fixed on the infant she carries at her breast, who no longer thinks of herself, and who forgets her beauty for her love.”
“Help honors when the bread that nourishes it adds the visit that consoles; the advice that enlightens, the friendly shake of the hand that lifts up the sinking courage.”
“Sons of Vincent de Paul, let us learn of Him to forget ourselves, to devote ourselves to the service of God and the good of men. Let us learn of Him that holy preference which shows most love to those who suffer most.”
“Let us learn, first of all, to defend our belief without hating our adversaries, to appreciate those who do not think as we do, to recognize that there are Christians in every camp, and that God can be served now as always!”
“We are here on this earth to accomplish the will of Providence.”
“The cause of Christian knowledge, the cause of the faith, is what I hold to the roots of my heart; and in any way I can serve it.”
“Let us learn, first of all, to defend our belief without hating our adversaries, to appreciate those who do not think as we do, to recognize that there are Christians in every camp, and that God can be served now as always! Let us complain less of our times and more of ourselves. Let us not be discouraged, let us be better.”
Lord, we thank you for inspiring Blessed Frederic Ozanam
to establish the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Help us to follow his dream of 'embracing the
whole world in a network of love'
by bringing support and friendship to those we visit:
by helping them achieve self sufficiency and in solidarity to advocate and work for the changes required to create a more just and caring society.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.
Psalm: Psalm 135: Praise of God, the Lord and Benefactor of Israel
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the name of the LORD;
praise him, you servants of the LORD,
2 you who minister in the house of the LORD,
in the courts of the house of our God.
3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own,
Israel to be his treasured possession.
5 I know that the LORD is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.
6 The LORD does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths.
7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
he sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
8 He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
the firstborn of men and animals.
9 He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt,
against Pharaoh and all his servants.
10 He struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings-
11 Sihon king of the Amorites,
Og king of Bashan
and all the kings of Canaan-
12 and he gave their land as an inheritance,
an inheritance to his people Israel.
13 Your name, O LORD, endures forever,
your renown, O LORD, through all generations.
14 For the LORD will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
16 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
17 they have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
19 O house of Israel, praise the LORD;
O house of Aaron, praise the LORD;
20 O house of Levi, praise the LORD;
you who fear him, praise the LORD.
21 Praise be to the LORD from Zion,
to him who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.
Day 250 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Hearts of service; Social Justice for all.
Requested Intentions: For a relationship sanctified by God (M); For health of father; For canonization of Pope John Paul II (A); For the conversion of a family (L); For the ill (A); For the health of a family (I); For a father’s successful surgery and recovery (G); For those who are ill, and their caretakers (D); For the safety of a sister who is traveling (A); Recovery of mother with cancer (R); Successful acquisition of a visa (T); Restoration of a marriage (A); For employment and health of mother (G); Successful employment (M); Restoration of a family, End to brother's addiction, Successful marriage (R); Employment (I); Successful recovery of a mother; for all stroke victims (D); Successful return to the faith (A); Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 135: Praise of God, the Lord and Benefactor of Israel
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."