Holy Family

Holy Family

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul

Good morning. The more things change, the more they stay the same. So it was with Herod, and so it is with us. We find Herod in today’s Gospel intrigued by this person Jesus of whom everyone was talking. Herod was drawn to Jesus out of concern for his own position amongst the people. How often we too are drawn to God for such similar reasons. How often do we do things because like Herod we view ourselves as being the center of the universe? Our tendency toward self-centeredness is the cause for a great deal of marital turmoil. 

 John Gottman, a noted author and researcher on marriage, notes that how we approach a discussion with our spouse determines how the discussion ends. If we approach our spouse from the position of viewing ourselves as the center of the universe, we’re likely headed for trouble. Gottman discovered that happy couples differ from unhappy couples in the way they initiate discussions. He coined the term, “soft-start-ups” as a way to increase the likelihood of having a successful discussion with our spouse. He suggests that if couples can approach their spouse in a positive manner, avoid assumptions, and make a point of being clear and polite throughout the process they will more likely complete their discussion in a mutually satisfying way. 

Saint Vincent de Paul, whose life we celebrate today, viewed humility as key to most of life’s situations. He felt that we should approach all situations and all our interactions with humility. “We ought always to consider others as our superiors, and to yield to them, even though they be our inferiors, by offering them every kind of respect and service. Oh, what a beautiful thing it would be, if it should please God to confirm us well in such a practice.” When one considers our meager position within all of creation and one considers that God became man for us we have good reason for humility. 

So often married couples find themselves in a rut, it isn’t that they mean to offend each other or to hurt one another’s feelings but over time we develop ineffective patterns of interacting that result in turmoil. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Too often we give little thought to how we initiate things with each other that we find ourselves in the midst of it before we give any thought to how we got there. The secret is to do something different. It matters little what it is we do differently, but the idea is to break the cycle of what we are most likely inclined to do and above all do it with humility. Make a great day! 

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Vincent de Paul. “The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”

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