Already a few days into the mission in Barjols, we find the Missionaries in full swing. They were successfully reaching out to persons who had been away from religious practices for decades:

Here we are in the confessional, without stirring, from morning until evening.
The men came flocking at the first announcement and God knows they needed to do so! What we have here, for them and the women alike, are (lapses) of thirty, forty and fifty years. People are astonished at the success of the mission.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 14-15 November 1818, O.W. VI n.34

The Missionaries were recognized as being the instruments through which people were reconciled with God and with one another.

People are publicly and spontaneously reconciled at the foot of the cross. It is marvelous. Pray for us and for them. Oh! How right Saint Vincent de Paul was when he said that only the devil could be opposed to missions.

Letter to Fortuné de Mazenod, 22 November 1818, O.W. XIII n.20

 If you knew all that the good God is doing here through our ministry,

Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, November 1818, O.W. VI n.35

 In keeping with this tradition, our Oblate Rule of Life today tells us:

In proclaiming the Word, it is our tradition to be simple and direct and to speak a language adapted to and easily understood by our hearers. In all our ministry, but especially in that of reconciliation, we will reflect the understanding, patience and compassion of the Saviour.

CC&RR, Rule 7 g


And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.‘ Luke 15:6

But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.  Luke 15:32

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I really see those missions as God working through ….. living out of being Co-operators of the Saviour. And that is how they/we are able to reflect “the understanding, patience and compassion of the Saviour”.

    Having been on the receiving end of such a mission myself (although in my case it was a Franciscan who shephered me into coming back into the church) I know personally the feeling of being on the receiving end of that understanding, patience and compassion, of being the daughter who returned to her Father.

    When I made my 4th Step in AA, I made it with a religious Brother. Brother Kieran listened and loved and thanked me for what I had shared. I remember he hugged me and told me how much God loved me and how proud He was of me. I felt freed, I felt relief and I felt that God through this wonderfully human and holy man had heard my cries. It wasn’t until a few months later that I came back into the Church and experienced directly the grace and joy of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. By then the celebration had already begun and I just enjoyed it and let it be drawn out.

    As Oblate Associates we cannot administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation – however I do believe that we can and do allow God to work with and through us. We place ourselves at the foot of the cross and love and serve in a variety of ministries. We find ourselves serving, listening, being a presence, igniting and loving. We claim who we are and the life we are living. Perhaps that is what I am trying to do now.

  2. John Mouck says:

    This speaks to me very powerfully in 3 different ways, however in the interest of not monopolizing the blog, I will just reflect on one. I will say too though that one of the things that jumped out at me was my journey through my 4th and 5th steps – similar to you, Eleanor, so thank you for that.

    It is my burning desire to be an Oblate Associate.

    In my association with people in various groups, I am very open and honest with where I come from. They can see what I am like now. My faith as a Roman Catholic and , in particular, my connection with the Oblate community is well known. I find that individuals will come to me to just talk – about their past, their struggles, their feelings. They know I understand. They know I am certainly no one to judge. They know I am “safe.”
    I am certainly no priest and cannot give them formal absolution. That’s not even what they are looking for anyway. What I can and do give them (as much as I can) is a certain comfort – peace in the knowledge that they are good and loved. They don’t have to DO anything for God to forgive them. He already has. They cannot possibly DO anything to make God love them more. He already does. It seams to help.

    I want to do whatever it is I do as an Oblate Associate, with the help and support of my Mazenodian family, rather than just as an individual. I need that feeling of community. Right now that is not possible in the Ontario chapter of Lacombe – there is no such thing.
    I pray for the day I can call myself an “Oblate Associate,” a member of the family, rather than just a guy associated with the Oblates.

  3. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    “If you knew all that the good God is doing here through our ministry”
    What a powerful line that speak to of awareness and relationship. How our live directly indirectly bring about change in our world-for healing and health or for fear and control. How do we life as Oblates? That means the de Mazenodian family.
    The way we are present in our community.
    The way we buy/consume
    The way we garden and till the land
    The way we share hospitality
    The way we study and are open to learn
    In each of these and so many ways, we do make a difference in our world “When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world.”

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