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GOD'S WILL


 



DOCILITY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL TO GOD'S WILL

The most active saints are the most docile to God's will.  St. Vincent de Paul founded two of the busiest orders: the priests of the missions, Daughters of Charity, and a lay group, the Ladies of Charity.  Though these orders are of extraordinary zeal, they were founded with extreme slowness wherewith St. Vincent seemed to be waiting for God's will at every step. . .which of course was his way of doing things.  

This docility was like saying, "I won't move until I get a word from God."  Yet, while waiting for God's next instruction, he kept himself busy with prodigious activity, accomplishing God's last instructions.  

Docility or waiting for God's will prevents us from being involved in purely human activity which, of necessity, is marked by many imperfections.  

Docility is complete submission to the will of God;  it teaches us to wait for God's will and prevents us from doing things hastily.  This is the opposite of impetuosity.  "One must not try to hurry Providence,"  St. Vincent used to say.  So, one day, noticing that he was putting a bit too much of himself in one of his missions in his great desire to succeed, thus appearing to depend more on the natural rather than the supernatural, he immediately stopped.  Vincent considered impetuosity, i.e., going ahead even before knowing God's will , as a reprehensible effect.  

He who practices docility will always be judged as having let many opportunities  pass by or having made many important matters wait.  Answering this complaint, St. Vincent writes:  "Yes, I answer in six months what I can in a month. . .it is true, I am slow. . .but I still have to see a work destroyed because of my slowness.  Yes, I will answer your letters immediately. . .only after I have considered the matter before God.  Besides, God is greatly honored when one knows how to wait for His Will."  In this sense, docility is a virtue; we must follow God's plans and not expect God to follow our plans.  

If one worries and torments himself on what to do, he is not docile; he is probably working for himself.  Waiting for God gives one abiding peace, a sign one is serving God.  Writing to Mademoiselle de Gras, he praises her for not being too hasty or excessively zealous in her dealings."  Again, writing to Fr. Levacher, Vincent states: "Good works are often spoiled when one proceeds too rapidly."  St. Vincent exhibited great docility in that every time he received a proposal, he always refused first... until he was sure it was God's will.

 

 

 

 

 

(11-05-04)

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