Trust in Uncertain Times

In many ways, we are living in uncertain times. As a country, some people are anxious and uncertain about when the results of this year’s presidential and congressional races will be known. As a university, many of us are entering our eighth month of working from home as a result of the pandemic with no idea how much longer this may last. As individuals, some of us may also be facing other personal challenges with uncertain outcomes.

What can we do when we are faced with all this uncertainty?

Consider Louise de Marillac, who turned to her faith. Reflecting during a retreat, she wrote, “I must accept this uncertainty as well as my inability clearly to perceive at this time the path which God wishes me to follow in His service.”1 When faced with challenges, Louise realized that she could not always see where and when those challenges would end, and how she could overcome them. As a Catholic-Christian in seventeenth-century France, she put her faith and trust in God, who she believed to have planned a path for her life. She accepted that she could only do so much, and she believed God would take care of the rest.

What lessons can you take away from Louise’s approach to uncertain times? How might you translate her wisdom to your own life and belief system? When thinking about the uncertainty of life right now, who can you trust or believe in that will help you on your journey, wherever it may lead?


1) A.5, (Retreat), c.1632, Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac, 717. See: https://‌via.‌library.‌depaul.‌‌edu/ldm/

Image credit: Bro. Timothy Opferman, C.M., artist; based on a work by Sharon Horace, D.C.; Photo courtesy of Bro. Broer Huitema, C.M.M.; Original in SVdP Center.

 

Reflection by: Michael Van Dorpe, Program Manager for Faculty and Staff Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry

Work with What You Have

“God does not ask you to go beyond the means he has given you.”  Vincent de Paul (CCD, 7:523)

One of Vincent de Paul’s frequently mentioned beliefs is that Providence can be relied upon to guide us and to come to our aid. Despite troubles that afflict us or feel overwhelming, Vincent clearly believed that patience and trust would eventually lead us to a deeper recognition of God’s presence and care, perhaps in ways we did not at first recognize or expect. This confidence certainly extends to all matters pertaining to fulfilling the mission entrusted to us.

During times when we question whether we have the means or the ability to overcome the obstacles in our path, Vincent’s words can encourage and challenge us. They instruct us to trust that we already have what it takes to fulfill our personal or collective mission, or that what is needed will be provided to us in due time. He learned through his own many life experiences that “wisdom consists in following providence step by step” (CCD, 2:521) and that “love was inventive to infinity” (CCD, 11:131).

What situations are you now facing that might cause you to question if you have the means to accomplish a task or overcome a challenge that may seem insurmountable? Might there be tools, resources, people, or possibilities that have gone unrecognized or unpursued? In the midst of such questions, might there be another path emerging? What is the next step?


Reflection by:    Mark Laboe, Associate Vice President, Mission and Ministry

Vincent the Alchemist

 

As an “alchemist,” Vincent de Paul manipulated common elements to transform them into precious realities.  Fr. Jack Melito, C.M. points out how Vincent’s “Tunisian captivity” can serve as a metaphor for his life’s work of changing evil into good, challenge into blessing, the non-intelligible into an understandable Gospel message, the uneducated into the empowered, and the simple poor into our Lords and Masters.

“Vincent the Alchemist” is a chapter from the book Windows on His Vision (pp.  37-42) available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/windows/5/

It is also available as an ebook here: https://via.liabrary.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/8/