DISTURBING THE COUNTRYSIDE WITH THE WORD OF GOD

The mayor, assistants, judges, notaries, lawyers, businessmen, manufacturers, middle class people, everyone is moving, each trying to outdo the others.

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

Despite what Eugene wrote about the positive reaction of these civil authorities, not all the authorities were in favor of the attitudes and activities of the Missionaries. The major opposition came from M. Chevalier, the Prefect of the Var Department in which Barjols was situated. He accused the Missionaries of causing unacceptable disturbances to M. Laine, the Minister of the Interior, in Paris.

Leflon recounts:

Consequently, on December 23, three days before the fall of the Richelieu ministry, Laine ordered the mission to be closed and Father de Mazenod and his confreres, who were accused of disturbing the countryside, to be reported to the king’s procurator. Legal proceedings were immediately instituted … However, nothing more was done beyond this point. Whether it was because Chevalier feared the resentment of the people of Barjols, who were warmly devoted to Father de Mazenod and his colleagues, or because he wanted to spare the Home Ministry from being forced into excessively stern measures, at any rate he had become deeply disturbed by the proportions which this affair had assumed and wrote … on January 9, 1819, that, “as long as the missionaries had departed, he was content to see his Department rid of their presence without the need of resorting to any harsh measures which might have been very difficult to carry out.”
Thus, no legal action was taken. The whole affair came to an end on February 4, with a strongly-worded letter from Guigou [ed. Vicar General of Aix], who accused Chevalier of having presented an inaccurate account of what had taken place, and upheld the right to preach the Word of God.

Leflon Volume 2, Chapter 4.

They will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 
On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.
But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Matthew 10:17-20

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One Response to DISTURBING THE COUNTRYSIDE WITH THE WORD OF GOD

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This speaks so strongly as to what happened with Jesus, with his apostles and many many of his disciples. It speaks to what is happening today within the church, particularly with some of the women religious in the US.

    I also believe it speaks to many of us and of our ordinary, every-day lives. For many it may be that they spoke out in the workplace about injustices of a few and then found themselves losing their jobs – or in good conscience have to quit their jobs. It may have happened when a person spoke against (disagreed) a friend because of beliefs and justice, it may have happened within families. They may (or may not) start out with small statements and actions – but they seem to have a habit of growing bigger and bigger. Although they might be the stuff of everyday life – they are pretty big!

    Eugene, and the Oblates, but Eugene seemed to make it “into a fine art”. As did Jesus and many of the apostles and saints through time. I think of Eugene and his early Oblates with the poor, early in the morning with the household servants, by the docks with the ‘fish wives’ and in the prisons with those who did not even have the right to take part in the Mass, and with the youth (many of whom I am sure were of no account to others). This entry begs me to look at my life and question do I walk plaidly along, not disturbing or do I go out and speak my beliefs, no matter what the consequences might be? It causes me to pause and look at the company I keep and who I walk with – and I find myself filled with joy and pride and gratitude.

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