I DO NOT KNOW A MORE DEMANDING PLACE

We have seen how much importance was given to the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the parish missions. This same concern was obvious wherever the Missionaries ministered on “permanent mission.” Henri Tempier had only been at Notre Dame du Laus for five months, and already the results of the presence of a community of dynamic Missionaries were showing.

During the peak pilgrimage period, some Missionaries from Aix would go to Laus to help with the ministry. Father Touche spent the summer there from April 1st to November. To cope with the needs of the pilgrims, Father Mye was also sent there from May 23rd to the end of July

Henri Tempier wrote to Eugene

If you want to know what we are doing at Laus, we hear confessions, we hear more confessions and always we hear confessions; we hear the confessions of pilgrims who come in greater numbers in the measure that we are more numerous. I was alone, I could not breathe; we were two, and the same thing happened; we are four, the same load. All day long we hear confessions of people who are making novenas or who spend several days in our shrine and never is the confessional empty. There is an unending amount of good to be done here, and it is being done, but I must admit that I do not know a more demanding place than Laus

Letter from Henri Tempier to Eugene de Mazenod, 13 June 1819, Oblate Writings II.2, n. 13

The Missionaries were putting into practice what they- had enshrined in their Rule a few months’ before:

The work begun in the pulpit has to be completed in the tribunal of penance. If grace has touched a soul by the strength of the Word of God, ordinarily it is in the tribunal of penance that grace molds and justifies it.
Preaching, indeed, has no other end than to lead sinners to the pool of salvation…
It is beyond all doubt that the hearing of confessions is to be preferred to preaching, when there is room for choice, because the private direction and admonition given in the tribunal of penance may in a measure supply the place of instruction and preaching, whereas preaching can never take the place of the sacrament of penance, which was instituted by Christ our Lord for restoring people to the friendship of God.

1818 Rule, Chapter 3, §2.

 

Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession.      Mahatma Gandhi

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One Response to I DO NOT KNOW A MORE DEMANDING PLACE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am always amazed at where these writings take me. On reading this today I was immediately reminded of my stay at Madonna House and hearing “pray for my beloved priests”. This was about 30 years ago and it was at the time of my conversion and the time of my coming back into the church, it was also very much a time of being “all about me” in a way. I wasn’t in disagreement with the praying for the priests but I also wasn’t sure why they needed it!

    I think now of those early missionaries and begin to understand. I think now of our current day missionaries and understand more. The ‘face’ of the confessional has changed somewhat in many places and I think there are many many way of ‘hearing’ and being with others. I think even of my own need for prayers in how I serve and listen and love.

    “It is beyond all doubt that the hearing of confessions is to be preferred to preaching, when there is room for choice, because the private direction and admonition given in the tribunal of penance may in a measure supply the place of instruction and preaching, whereas preaching can never take the place of the sacrament of penance, which was instituted by Christ our Lord for restoring people to the friendship of God.” I begin now to more truly understand why.

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