TEACHING THOSE DEPRIVED OF SPIRITUAL THINGS HOW TO SEE DIFFERENTLY

In the 1820 mission, we find Eugene and his Missionaries keeping strictly to the ideals of their Rule of life:

Article 2. That is why the members of this Congregation will work under the authority of the Ordinaries on whom they will always depend, by providing spiritual aid to the poor people in the rural areas and to the inhabitants of the country villages who are the most deprived of spiritual things. They will provide for those needs through missions, the teaching of catechism, retreats, or other spiritual exercises.

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute,

The Missionaries of Provence who were assigned the three workers’ parishes, Saint Laurent, the Carmes, and Saint Victor’s, were even less able to avoid mob scenes and disturbances, since people from other parishes flocked to these churches to hear the sermons in Provencal; hence, they spoke to more uniform audiences than those of their Parisian colleagues. Under such circumstances, Father de Mazenod extended himself. Not satisfied with giving two sermons a day, one at the Carmes and the other at Saint Laurent’s, he undertook “catechetical instructions to fifty poor fishermen who were almost sixty years of age and had not yet made their First Communion; it was to prepare them for the Sacrament that he had initiated this instruction.” 5President de Mazenod) In addition to all this, he and Father de Janson gave a special retreat at Saint Ferreol’s church to the dock workers, and with such success that the summary of the Marseilles mission goes into raptures over the piety of “these modern-day Goliaths.” 

Although the missionaries were deluged at first by the throng of people, they were soon more or less successful, by dint of improvising, in channeling the overflow; services were doubled, special retreats were added, separate instructions were given to the military personnel of the garrison, who, led by the officers, attended the services; not too devoutly perhaps, but at least assiduously. Separate retreats were also given to the Orders of Penitents of every title and color which followed one another into Saint Martin’s church to the number of 20,000. Instructions were also provided for dockworkers, hospital patients and prisoners; last of all, and most important of all, services conducted in the open air made it possible to assemble huge, enthusiastic crowds.

Leflon 2 p. 111

 

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.   Edward de Bono

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One Response to TEACHING THOSE DEPRIVED OF SPIRITUAL THINGS HOW TO SEE DIFFERENTLY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “members of this Congregation will work under the authority of the Ordinaries on whom they will always depend..” What is the authority of the Ordinaries – I am not familiar with this term at all?

    “…last of all, and most important of all, services conducted in the open air made it possible to assemble huge, enthusiastic crowds.” As I read this I was reminded of someone else who drew incredibly huge crowds, outside on a mountainside! Cooperators of Christ the Saviour!

    People so hungry and so desparate for the Word of God, for the experience of God’s love – they went where ever they could to hear it, to experience it and to be touched by it. Eugene and his men were on fire with their love of God, they wanted to share it (they gave their lives one way or another to share it) and so they were passionate and alive and I believe they allowed God to very much work through them, allowed God to give them the words.

    Do we have such people today? I think that we do but that they are perhaps not heard. They speak and share but we are very busy with everything else, with the doing and the getting that we do not take the time to really listen to them, we do not allow ourselves to be touched by them – perhaps out of a false sense of self preservation? Yesterday I received a letter from Luis Ignacio Rois Alonso, OMI from Rome, as did I am sure many if not most of you. I read it and thought that it was good and then moved it to the corner of my desk, because I had a lot of other, more important, more pressing things to do. So just now, I decided that maybe I needed to take another look, coming from a more open attitude, and surprise surprise – I heard it said a little differently this time, I felt drawn in, invited “to be a part of”. And I am left wondering how I can be a part of that. It may only be in prayer with all of the people who make up this Oblate family, it may be in learning first of all more about Our Lady of Aparecida, it may be in following how the youth of our country are responding and who of the Oblates will be taking part. It will not be in any great actions or doings or anything like that, but I am forever changed just in this one small way because I read, I listened with an openness and I allowed myself to be touched. Who knows, maybe some day, in some small way I too may become a cooperator of Christ The Saviour. It seems to me to be all in how I approached it and am open to whatever God wants me to receive.

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