“From Vinnie To St. Vincent”

I think most Americans are fascinated with the “underdog”… the person or team that doesn’t have a chance for success, yet gains the victory overcoming incredible odds. 

Remember the movie “Rudy” ?  “In the late 1960s Joliet, Illinois, Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger dreams of playing football at Notre Dame, but lacks the grades and money to attend, and the talent and physical stature to play major college football. Following high school, he works at a steel mill with his father, a Notre Dame fan, and his older brother. When his supportive best friend Pete is killed in a mill explosion, Rudy decides to follow his dream. Well if you’ve seen the movie, with a little poetic license, it all works out for Rudy. The music is powerful, and at the end everyone is rooting for the underdog Rudy. (oh and Sean Astin, Samwise the Brave from Lord of the Rings, plays Rudy) 

We can each add our favorite “underdog movie” to the list …maybe it’s “Rudy or Hoosiers, or The Rookie, or Miracle on Ice, or The Karate Kid”.  

The other day I was reading about “Vincent, born of peasant stock in France who became a priest at the young age of nineteen. He sought to find a comfortable situation for himself, but God by degrees converted his heart to the poor”. (Magnificat, Oct. 13, 2021) Vinnie was pretty happy to have a comfortable life; he apparently enjoyed his “comfort zone”. I can relate to that….”hey I know myself…don’t push me too far…I’m doing okay.” If Vinnie had succumbed to this deadly “comfort demon”, we would never have heard of him, and many people would not have been helped by him.

Well the Lord was after him. “ At his first parish assignment, his eyes were open to the plight of an impoverished local family and he organized the women of the parish to help them. This led to his founding of the “Vincentians” and later the “Daughters of Charity” serving the orphans, homeless, and sick. When he died in 1660, his Bishop said that Vincent de Paul changed the face of the church.

Talk about an underdog. St. Vincent de Paul could have lived a mediocre life, enjoying his comfort, but God called him to a heroic life. Ultimately he had to cooperate with the urgings and graces of God. He could have said no. 

How about you and me? Is God urging us on to greater things…out of our comfort zone? If so, he will give us the grace and provide others to help us. It’s a good question, one which we should ask our self.  Lord, help us to be open to your upward call for our life.  “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”. (1Peter 4:10) 

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