I find it very significant for the Mazenodian Family that it was the youth who led us to take two important steps. Right at the beginning of our existence it was the youth ministry of Eugene that led him to buy the old Carmelite convent in Aix so as to have a place sufficiently large to accommodate the youth meetings. They were using the place for their meetings several months before the Missionaries moved in. Then, it was the call of youth ministry that brought the Oblates to establish themselves in Marseille for the first time.
Clearly, the long-term interests of the Missionaries were the important considerations in these cases, but it is noteworthy that the youth became the catalysts for this to happen.
In today’s text Eugene stresses that our ministry in the orphanage was the spiritual accompaniment of the youth. The laity taught catechism, and the laity were the ones running the place:
When I spoke of the direction of the children, I meant to speak only of spiritual accompaniment and of giving those instructions that the Church reserves to her ministers.
Nothing is more edifying than to see good Christian laity teaching children the basics of Christian doctrine. Such good work cannot be too much encouraged and deserves the greatest praise.
Letter to the Directors of the Oeuvre de la Providence, at Marseilles,
|20 April 1821, EO XIII n. 38
Sometimes in ministry today we tend to get the lines blurred as to who is responsible for what in mission. It makes us ask the question: “Am I doing the specific activities that my charism are calling me to do, and am I allowing others do what their particular state in life calls them to do – in a better qualified way than I?”
“God does not call those who are equipped, He equips those whom He has called.” Smith Wigglesworth