Eugene was so involved in the lives of each congregant, and so it was natural that it was he who would want to administer the sacrament of the sick to the young person in danger of death. But we see an evolution here in his relationship with the parish priests of Aix. Initially he would have gone ahead regardless, but after the many clashes with the local pastors that we have already seen in previous entries, we see a note of realism and diplomacy being written into this Rule:

Art 43 The Director will bring him the holy viaticum, unless the pastor of the parish opposes this. In this case, he will at least be present with the patient when the sacraments are administered.

At this turning point in the life of the sick congregant, Eugene realized the importance of staying close, and of helping him to appreciate the meaning of the sacrament in the fullest possible way – and to live its effects:

Art 44. The Director will have arrived there before to help the patient to do this action well, and he will remain afterwards to help him to thank God and to make the most of this great grace.

Statuts XIV, §2 Envers les congréganistes malades


“Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.” ~Chinese Proverb

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2 Responses to A TOUCH OF REALISM

  1. Thanks Frank for this reflection:
    And what you say and how Eugene responded takes the middle way.
    What is important is presence and the sense of community and that is what speaks to me from this reading.
    Appreciate the Chinese Proverb and many of the one liners that you share with us.

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Today I see in this writing how greatly Eugene loved and how even more greatly he served. It was not just a feeling, a sentiment, but so very truly a way of being. With his love for whoever the congregant was it was natural for him to want to give the sacrament to the young man – would it be any different for any of us were we in that position?

    However he allowed others, who felt they needed to be the ones to administer the sacrament, do go ahead and do just that. It seemed like for Eugene it was equally important that the recipient be prepared for the sacrament and then after having received it to be with that person to reflect and to thank God.

    I see Eugene respecting and loving both – the young man who was so ill, and the other a priest who was trying in his own way to live out his love for God, and perhaps do his job as he saw it.

    No matter which way we look at it, we see Eugene giving his all again for God – not necessarily on just his own terms, but on the terms of God spoken through others. I want to ask myself “on whose terms am I loving”? Is it just for my own sense of goodness and need to love or is it really all for and through God? Let me take the middle way Lord, the one that Jack spoke of. Let me be little, ordinary, hidden – the light to my neighbors feet.

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