This One Didn’t Turn Away

St. Vincent de Paul's Journey to Jesus

This One Didn’t Turn Away

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Remember the rich young man of the Gospels? How he hurried up to Jesus, asking about the way to eternal life?

When Jesus invited him to renounce his wealth and become a disciple, he walked away—sad. But what if he had accepted Jesus’ invitation to sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow him? Maybe he’d have become another St. Vincent de Paul.

The Discipline of Failure. Unlike the rich young man, Vincent wasn’t born into a comfortable life. His parents were poor farmers in south­western France who were struggling to raise their family of six. In order to help them—and to advance his career—Vincent decided to become a priest.

When he was much older, Vincent admitted that if he had understood what the vocation entailed, he never would have entered it. “I was rash,” he confessed. But it wasn’t a cynical move. For a clever peasant lad of his day, ordination was an acceptable choice, the…

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