Eugene’s realization that Jesus was his Savior led to an inner vision of a life commitment to living “all for God” – or a lifestyle of “oblation”, as he subsequently expressed it. So powerful was this conversion experience, that he dedicated his life to bringing others to his same experience of salvation. In other words, to invite others to “be” as he himself had been taught to “be” in his relationship with God.

The 1818 Rule had this leading others to his same experience as its purpose. This meant the obligation to constantly renew and develop their inner vision through a daily program.

Apart from praying part of the Divine Office together, they would also:

Mental prayer will be made in common twice a day: in the morning, after morning prayer, for at least three quarters of an hour; and in the evening, around the altar in the form of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, for half an hour.
We will meditate especially on the theological virtues, and on the life and virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the members of our Society should intensely keep alive in themselves.
Every month they will choose one particular virtue that they will try to practice better and with focus. They will make these same virtues the subject of their particular examen and spiritual conferences.

1818 Rule, Part Two, Chapter One. §5 On prayer and exercises of piety

 To this was added the obligation of reading a spiritual book for thirty minutes each day.


“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.”    Thomas Merton

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I want to say that it is too much and there simply is not enough time in a day to do all of this praying. Notice I say only that “I want to say”. Because even as I start to form the words in my mind I know that they are not true – because there is always lots of time to watch TV or finish a book or even play a game or six on the computer. No it is not time that stops me.

    It is funny – but as I read Eugene’s words I have this small picture in my mind of a group of men (monks) praying together in some dimly lit chapel – in the middle ages. I have to stop and laugh at myself because this is not the Oblates that I know today. Being an Oblate Associate I do not live in community such as Eugene talks about, and yet I have found a way to pray with my greater community, not only with Oraison, but by consciously inviting them all to join me, in my prayer (formal) and my ongoing conversations with God throughout the day. And even as I write this I look at my day and thank God for He has given me the gift of being able to make much of my day a prayer somehow. Being present to Him throughout the day and having my life revolve around Him in all that I do – what a gift is that! And back to those “Be-attitudes” again, the gift of ‘being’ in order to do. I think that it is all in how we look at it. I have noticed from time-to-time that when I get very busy “doing” my prayer life can suffer greatly and then quite literally my days are not good, my being seems also to suffer in a way and I feel “not right”. I miss being in and focussing on the presence of my God.

    What Merton said: “A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” Those last two phrases – I find myself reading them over and over and stopping and being filled with wonder and gratitude. Eugene said “my all for God”, something that most of us probably end up saying, over and over again. It does shape our lives and who we are. And if our most precious and constant desire is to live fully in God, one with him – what kind of image does that present? Not forgetting the struggle and the pain – who knew that love could be so glorious?

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Eugene knew of the need for a “disciplined” life. Those who remember Vat. II and before, I didn’t, hear that words and shake. Those who grew up in the 60-70s and hear that word, simply rebel. I did.
    This past week at the retreat centre we had about 40, mostly young here for retreat given by True North Buddhist Society. They sat meditation through out the day, were silent and ate light/nutritious vegetarian meals. Very few of them would have grown up Buddhist.
    So in a time of turbulence, 24/7 demands and uncertainty, we see a desire from many for a form and rhythm of (a container) life which will allow them to grow roots. Eugene sensed it in his own life and that of the young people of Aix.
    How do we in 2012 address this?
    First we have to practice it and invite others to share in this life. (spiritual teachers east and west all speak of silent prayer/meditation in community) This doesn’t have to look like 1812, I hope note. I hope it looks like your culture, I hope it reflects you style, I hope that it conscious and collaborative and I hope it speaks to the many people who are called the the De Mazenodian Family.

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