The newly elected 24th successor to St. Vincent, Fr. Tomas Mavric, seems to have hit a chord when in his first homily after his election he invited Vincentians “to keep discovering, developing, and deepening Vincent’s way: being a “Mystic of Charity.”
Judging from some conversations I have heard it seems to be a message many are attracted to.
For some, it seemed to be a new theme and they wondered where it came from. Fr. Mavric explained
Years ago, our confrere Father Toscani, CM, started to develop the idea, which was later further developed by Father Hugh O’Donnell, CM, of Vincent de Paul as a “Mystic of Charity.” It was Father Karl Rahner, SJ, who, at the end of the 20th century, expressed the following thought: Christians in the 21st century are going to be mystics or they will cease to exist. (Official biography)
Rahner also said… “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.”
For readers of famvin.org this line of thought should not be new.
In 1997 Sr. Gertrude Foley, SC , spoke about trivializing our charisms if we did not recognize the mystical insights that empowered our founders.
“I think that we trivialize our charism and tradition, if we limit it to mean only works of service….the grounding insight of our founders was mystical, powerful and empowering. This was the insight that answered their questions, allayed their doubts, and strengthened them when the testing came.”
“Unless we are as passionate as our founders were to grow daily into this identification with Jesus and his mission, we cannot claim the name Vincentian. We can exhaust ourselves in implementing our strategies to serve the poor. But as Vincentians we will fail, if we do not contextualize all of our service in the three-way identification seen so clearly by our founders: the trinitarian relationship, if you will, among Jesus, the poor person, and the servant of the poor, We take certain pride (holy, I hope) in the practical, down-to-earth quality of our charism and tradition. That is true enough. Nevertheless, the grounding insight of our founders was mystical, powerful and empowering. This was the insight that answered their questions, allayed their doubts, and strengthened them when the testing came.”
[Visit the Vincentian Encyclopedia for the full presentation of this 1997 presentation to the Vincentian Family at St. John’s University.]
But this is not the only instance of the concept in famvin. Two of the more prominent pieces…
- St. Vincent: Uniting Action and Contemplation – Robert Maloney (22nd successor of St. Vincent)
- St. Louise de Marillac: A mystic Benito Martínez Betanzos, CM – Outline