THAT MISSIONARY COMMUNITY THAT TRULY RESEMBLES THE CENACLE

The Oblate community was Eugene’s constant point of reference, whenever he was separated from it. His model for our religious missionary life was that of Jesus and the apostles. For him our communities were meant to be “cenacles” – just like the original cenacle, the upper room where Jesus gathered with his apostles on the first Holy Thursday, and where they prepared to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

After his unhappy experience of the Holy Thursday liturgy at the Royal Palace he wrote to his community that he was united with them

when, for consolation, I took myself in spirit to that room that truly resembles the Cenacle where the disciples, prepared by the lessons they constantly receive in the Society, imbued with the spirit of the Savior who lives in them,
gather in the name of their Master to represent the apostles of whom Jesus Christ could say vos mundi estis [ed John 13,10 ”and you are clean”],
and wait silently and devoutly for the representative of the Master amongst them, at the word of commandment of the Lord, mandatum [ed. the command to love one another], to kneel at their feet,
washing and touching these feet blessed and commanded several thousand years previously by the prophet so as to be feet of evangelizers of good [ed. Isaiah 52,7 “How beautiful are the feet of the messenger who brings good news”], of preachers of peace,
touching, I say, respectfully his lips to these feet whereupon flames dart from his heart and envelope it as from a fount of living water which refreshes and spurts forth wherever eyes are turned.
What emotion! What sentiments! What fervor!

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 27 March 1823, EO VI n 98

In this poetic way Eugene describes once again the model of Jesus in the midst of his disciples to form them, to teach them in word and action, and then fill them with zeal to go out and be his missionaries.

 

Essentially, what are the disciples? They are Jesus himself who continues his actions. They are not the repeaters of what they have heard, but they are the actions of Jesus that increase and continue.”      C.M. Martini

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One Response to THAT MISSIONARY COMMUNITY THAT TRULY RESEMBLES THE CENACLE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I find myself not knowing which way to turn this morning, and a bit distracted by Eugene’s “poetic” voice. What this has to say to me. In truth, I know the answer but still I wrestle with it, struggle with it.

    “Jesus in the midst of his disciples to form them, to teach them in word and action, and then fill them with zeal to go out and be his missionaries.” Disciples – then and now. Looking at Jesus in my own life, of how I am being formed (ongoing), taught, filled and transformed with love and being sent. Recognizing that “being sent” is no more than responding and living what I have been given. The flavor, the taste, the spirit of how I live – all within the spirit of St Eugene, the Oblate charism and as part of the Mazenodian Family.

    “They [disciples] are Jesus himself who continues his actions. They are not the repeaters of what they have heard, but they are the actions of Jesus that increase and continue.” I love how Mancini has worded this. They, we, are not just imitating, copying, repeating, not simply looking at nice ideas and actions that we will talk about and dance around. We, our lives, become the actions of Jesus, we become Cooperators of Christ.

    I find myself amazed and grateful for where this has brought me this morning. It is as if I am hard of hearing and so my Beloved has repeated over and over the message of his love and how I will live that out. I need only to say yes and move forward and as it was said last night ‘risk delight’.

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