DIRECT EXPERIENCE

As we continue to explore the spirit and ministry of Saint Eugene with regard to his Youth Congregation, it is useful to keep in mind that his approach to the youth was the same as that operated in the preaching and evangelization of the Missionaries in their parish missions and other activities. It was a two-pronged approach of teaching who Jesus Christ was, and the leading them into a deeper personal encounter with Him. The privileged moments of encounter were in personal and communal prayer and in receiving the Sacraments.

Familiar with how much danger they are surrounded by in the world, and their need to draw new strength often from the sacraments established for this purpose by our Lord Jesus Christ, the congregants will confess at least once per month, and they will live in such a way as to be able to receive Holy Communion frequently.

Règlements et Statuts de la Congrégation de la Jeunesse, 1813, p. 24-25

 This reflection came straight from the heart and personal experience of Eugene. He continued to give this advice throughout his life and, today, it continues in our Oblate Rule of Life:

The Eucharist, source and summit of the Church’s life, is at the heart of our life and action. We will live such lives as to be able worthily to celebrate it every day.

 Constitution 33

 Art 8. The infallible means to succeed in this noble undertaking, is to frequent the sacraments. They are a fruitful source of grace from which we must draw life and the spiritual strength of our souls …

Statuts, Chapitre XIII – Obligations spirituelles des congréganistes

 

“We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.” Malcolm Gladwell

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One Response to DIRECT EXPERIENCE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I love this posting simply because of where it leads me. The sacraments – each of which is God’s special gift to us, God’s personal touch. Ron Rolheiser in his book “Our One Great Act of Fidelity” said of Jesus: “He gave us the Eucharist, his physical embrace, his kiss, a ritual within which he holds us to his heart.” WOW! Just to ponder this is a lifetime in itself, perhaps one to be lived out day-by-day.

    If I had been to read this 20 years ago I might have simply read this posting and then walked away, the words would have been nice but they would not have perhaps touched me so very deeply at all, although they might have begun a small silent yearning. Today I find my entire being responding with a life of yes. The Eucharist, not something that we take part in on just Sundays, or on special occassions. Rather it becomes an integral part of our life, a response to a deep hunger and yearning to more fully touch and become one with our God. It does not necessarily bring about a “feeling” of anything but rather a sense of being with, of “being within an embrace, enveloped and a part of …”. It becomes in so many ways “….at the heart of our life and action.” as written in the Constitution. God speaks to us through others, Eugene de Mazenod, certainly his Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Associates, friends, co-workers, prophets and preachers. In the Eucharist God touches us intimately, tenderly, in an embrace that envelopes every part of our being. This is our life in the deepest, fullest meaning. To be present to that – may that be my lived experience today.

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