This is a time of creativity and innovation. We are emerging from a global pandemic with new eyes to see. While acknowledging the privilege that Americans have access to vaccinations, we see the disparities and dysfunction of our nation and systems. We have a chance to change the way we operate in the world. Will we seize this opportunity? Will we use our creativity and innovation to make a difference?
We have seen incredible innovation and ingenuity in how we approach our struggling world. The adaptations we have made to meet our needs virtually have been amazing! I have been in awe of the graduation celebrations on campus and the creativity used to help our community celebrate the achievements of students. There have been so many unique ways we have connected and celebrated, mourned, and symbolically held one another during this trying year. Let us continue to dream big of what could be.
In Let Us Dream, Pope Francis says: “The world is always being made. Paul in his Letter to the Romans 8:22 says creation is groaning from birth pangs. God wants to bring forth the world with us, as partners, continually. He has invited us to join Him from the very beginning, in peaceful times and in times of crisis—at all times.”(1)
We are invited to be co-creators in the world. Just like, together with God, Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac became co-creators by answering the call to be innovative, so must we. Our Vincentian charism invites us to create a just world. Louise and Vincent did that through responding to the cry of the poor. They created communities of people to do that very thing. We, too, are called to respond to the cry of the poor in new and creative ways while ensuring all are seen as valuable and needed.
So, I invite us to embody the Vincentian virtue of zeal. Zeal propels our creativity and innovation in the direction of change. Vincent describes zeal this way:
Zeal, consisting in a pure desire to become pleasing to God and helpful to our neighbor: zeal to spread the kingdom of God and zeal to procure the salvation of our neighbor. Is there anything in the world more perfect? If love of God is a fire, zeal is its flame; if love is a sun, zeal is its ray. Zeal is unconditional in the love of God.(2)
Let us dream over the summer. And, let our Vincentian zeal flow from a space of creativity and love for all people as we accompany one another on this journey of life.
How can I use my creativity and innovation to reach out to my community? What ways can I work towards a more just human community and world?
1) Prologue of Pope Francis, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020).
2) 211, The Five Characteristic Virtues (Common Rules, Chap. II, Art. 14), 22 August 1659, CCD, 12:250.
Reflection by: Amanda Thompson, Director, Catholic Campus Ministry, Division of Mission and Ministry