Love for One’s Family

Among all those who are included under the title of neighbor, there are none who deserve it more, in one sense, than those of our own household. They are nearest of all to us, living under the same roof, and eating the same bread. Therefore, they ought to be one of the principal objects of our love, and we should practise in regard to them all the acts of a true charity, which ought to be founded not upon flesh and blood, or upon their good qualities, but altogether upon God. -St. Francis de Sales

St. Vincent de Paul bore great love to all the members of his Congregation. He showed esteem and veneration for all, and welcomed them all with such tokens of affection, that each felt sure of being tenderly loved by him. He provided for their needs with great solicitude, for he could not bear to see any of them suffer. He was often seen to rise from the table to set aside dishes for the lay-brothers, who came after the rest, and if it happened that the cook had nothing for any one, or delayed in serving him, he would give him his own portion, and constrain him to take it.

He was most attentive in providing relief and comfort for the sick, often going himself to inquire into their condition and their needs; he advised the infirmarians to take all possible care of them, and the Superiors of houses to spare no fatigue or expense in providing for them. He tried to soothe their sufferings by special marks of love and attention, and offered his prayers to God on their behalf. If he perceived that any one of them had a particular desire to speak to him, he left everything to listen to him, and gave him all the time he needed.

When he saw that any one was troubled by interior trials or temptations, he made every effort to free or else to relieve him; and if any one seemed hardened, he did his best to win him by gentleness and mildness, sometimes even throwing himself at the feet of such, and begging them not to yield to their besetting sin.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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