I Do Not Know You
I Do Not Know You
St. Vincent de Paul is fondly remembered for his dedication to the poor and exemplary priestly service. But when he first entered the seminary, his ambitions for becoming a priest where less than noble. He saw the priesthood as a way to arise from the peasant class he was born into and secure a more comfortable and prosperous life. He was embarrassed of his humble origins and on one occasion, when St. Vincent’s father came to visit him at the seminary, he told the porter at the seminary door entrance, who informed St. Vincent that his father was asking to see him, that he did not know this man. When his father heard that St. Vincent claimed he did not know him, he returned home devastated but determined to pray for his son and his vocation.
Shortly after his priestly ordination, St. Vincent was celebrating the Holy Mass, and as he elevated the Chalice containing the Precious Blood of Our Lord, he heard clearly in his soul the voice of Jesus say “I do not know you”. St. Vincent knew that he must reconcile himself to his father for having denied being his son and for the misguided intentions that had led him to become a priest. But this moment of humiliation and contrition was also a time of grace for the young priest, as from that day onwards he no longer saw the priesthood as a means to social advancement and wealth but as a call to care for the poor and neglected and give of himself in tireless service to the Church.
St. Vincent had chosen to first serve Mammon in his vocation instead of serving God, but through the merciful rebuke of our Saviour turned his heart from Mammon to serve the Lord. May each of us take time to prayerfully consider to what extent the lure of wealth is preventing us from loving and serving God and offering charity in our lives, not simply as a kind gesture to those in need, but as a necessary work of mercy that leads us to salvation.