One can touch the intensity of Eugene’s emotions! As he reflected on the situation of the Church in France he expressed his horror at the behavior of some of the priests who were not living up to the demands of their vocation.

He then contrasted this by describing his admiration and awe at the beauty of the vocation of the Missionary. It is with this same sense of awe that he reflects on the Church:

The Church, that glorious inheritance purchased by the Saviour at the cost of all his blood

and then he looks at the other side of the situation :

has in our days been cruelly ravaged.

The Church, the Body of Christ, is the magnificent inheritance left to us by the Savior himself. But, with sorrow and pain, Eugene described the state that she has been reduced to:

This beloved Spouse of the Son of God bears him almost nothing other than monsters. The ingratitude of people is at its peak; apostasy will soon be the norm.
And except for the sacred deposit of faith which will always remain intact to the end of time, there remains of Christianity only traces of what it was, with the result that it can be truly said that, due to the malice and corruption of the Christians of our day, their condition is worse than that of the pagans before the cross overthrew their idols

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute, §3. Nota Bene.
Missions, 78 (1951) p. 15

 I wonder what Eugene would write today if he were to situate his Nota Bene in our present world? The People of God, that glorious inheritance purchased by the Saviour at the cost of all his blood, continues in our days to be cruelly ravaged… Vatican II stressed that WE are that People of God…

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Two days before the start of the conclave. I am sure that there are many who would say that nothing has changed in 200 years. But I think perhaps it might depend on how we look at it. As Frank has noted “Vatican II” has taken place and that alone is so very huge. Eugene’s missionaries are now a Congregation. Eugene himself has officially been recognized by the Church as a Saint with a capital “S”. And people such as myself are not only members of a Mazenodian family, but called to live as Associates, partners in the mission, sharing in the charism of St. Eugene.

    Recently a friend and I were out to celebrate my birthday and we talked about the Oblate Constitution and Rules and the beauty of them. More than just a set of rules for a group [a rather large group] to live by, they are like a recipe for life. I myself marvel at the wisdom in them, the grace in them. They are so much more than just a bunch of words written in such a style as to appear to be holy. I am not familiar in any way with the Constitutions of other congregations and in truth I do not have any need or desire to learn about the other ones. I simply look at the Constitution and Rules of the Oblates and thank God for Eugene who allowed God to work through and with him, who allowed himself to be inspired to live as he did, start what he did and write as he did. He and the Oblates were/are responsible for so many changes.

    So for all the ways the church has not seemed to change in the past two hundred years, there is much that has changed. It is not perfect, it is not made up of perfect beings. And although there is much that we, that I struggle with in the Church, there is much that I struggle with in myself.

    I have been listening to Ron Rolheiser’s dvd on “Dark Nights and Doubts in our Lives”. The experience of being and standing still within that dry darkness, while at the same time living and moving and serving with real love [not just the mask of love, but love itself], living out that feeling somehow that has deserted us within. Nothing changes and yet everything has changed. It all depends I guess, on which side of the lens we look through.

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