Vincent de Paul’s voluntarism—the motivating spirit of his work—was his desire to unite his will with God’s as Christ did. This meant that Vincent would only follow God’s will. To do that was to serve and evangelize poor persons in imitation of Christ. Vincent’s voluntarism is placed within the context of devout humanism and mysticism, both of which are defined at length. The influences of Francis de Sales and Benedict of Canfield are discussed. However, Vincent was unique because he believed God was actively involved in history; God’s will was therefore to be discerned in necessity and events. He also held that “interior inspirations,” when treated with appropriate caution, could lead one to act according to God’s will. Finally, achieving detachment from one’s own will in favor of God’s was a way of bringing God’s kingdom and justice to earth. As such, detachment was an act of charity.
Ibañez Burgos, Jose M. C.M. and Kilar, Jacqueline D.C.
"The Voluntarism of Saint Vincent de Paul,"
Vincentian Heritage Journal: Vol. 6
, Article 7.
Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vhj/vol6/iss2/7