Each and every day, there are people who go without food. Some go the entire day, others skip a meal or two. With the costs of electricity and housing and medical bills and all the rest, food goes from being a necessity to a luxury. These aren't just people you see on the streets or those in shelters—some sit next to you at Mass, at work or in school. So often we pause to give thanks to God for our food as we call down His blessing upon it. We should also, motivated by our love for God, love our neighbor by providing them with the sustenance of the earth. We have the ability to help meet a real and practical need—to nourish someone’s body, as we also hope to nourish their souls. These are our brothers and sisters—and Jesus Christ invites us to share with them from the mercies that we have received.
Ordained a priest in 1600 in France, Vincent was captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Africa for seven years before converting his owner and returning. Upon his return, he became a parish priest and chaplain to the galley-slaves. He formed the Vincentian order to preach missions in the country side and to aid in the formation of the clergy. With St. Louise de Marillac he founded the Daughters of Charity to care for the sick, the invalids, the orphans brought to their door; to raise money to ransom slaves; and to provide for the daily needs of those they could—whether with firewood, or food to fill their stomachs. His motto in life was "God sees you." Known to us as the Apostle of Charity, St. Vincent de Paul fed the hungry and sought to aid those who were in need.
"Let us love God;
but at the price
of our hands
and sweat of our face."