I MAY REJOICE AT THE BIRTH OF A MAN AND OF A SAINT IN THIS CHERISHED FAMILY OF GOD

The father and founder of the Oblates rejoiced when he received a letter from Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, informing him that he had passed thru his crisis and was now at peace with following his vocation.

The letter which you have had the courtesy to write to me and which Fr. Courtès inserted in his has consoled me somewhat because I discover amongst the expressions and good sentiments that you utter clearly marked signs of the growing grace which is yours and to which you do not wish to be unfaithful…
Adieu, my good and dear friend, I pray God that after having felt the sorrows of giving birth, I may rejoice at the birth of a man and of a saint in this cherished family of God, and of which the father loves you to the same extent that you are dear to his heart.

Letter to Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, 26 June 1823, EO VI n. 109

 

‘Try to give your agenda to God. Keep saying, ‘Your will be done, not mine.’ Give every part of your heart and your time to God and let God tell you what to do, where to go, when and how to respond. God does not want you to destroy yourself. Exhaustion, burnout, and depression are not signs that you are doing God’s will. God is gentle and loving. God desires to give you a deep sense of safety in God’s love. Once you have allowed yourself to experience that love fully, you will be better able to discern who you are being sent to in God’s name.”    Henri J. M. Nouwen

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One Response to I MAY REJOICE AT THE BIRTH OF A MAN AND OF A SAINT IN THIS CHERISHED FAMILY OF GOD

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Did Eugene ever define what a saint was to him? I know that he believes that each of us are called to be saints. I looked up the word and of course found reference to canonization, recognition, exceptional virtue, exceptional holiness, etc. And I found a reference “….in the Eastern Orthodox Church a saint is defined as anyone who is in Heaven, whether recognized here on earth….”. And I found; “The word “saint” literally means “holy,” and, in the New Testament, “saint” referred to all who believed in Jesus Christ and followed his teachings. St. Paul often addressed his epistles to “the saints” of a particular city (see, for instance, Ephesians 1:1 and 2 Corinthians 1:1), and the Acts of the Apostles talks about St. Peter going to visit the saints in Lydda (Acts 9:2). The assumption was that those who followed Christ had been so transformed that they were now different from other men and women and, thus, should be considered holy.” [Scott P. Richert] That seems to me to be a little bit closer to Eugene’s idea.

    All my life, growing up I had wanted to be a saint for God, but came to learn that it was only for very special people that God loved very much. As I grew older I sort of hid that desire away, thinking of it as childish and improbable at best. Then I rememer hearing Eugene’s words read out loud; “We must lead the people to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints.” Yes! Here was a man, who is now a Saint in the church who seemed to be saying that we are each of us called to be saints! This has become one of my most favorite expressions of Eugene. It helped ‘fan the flames’ of a fire that was burning in my heart.

    I remember being in an Associate gathering and at one point a man saying “enough with this saint stuff, nobody today wants to be a saint”. To which I responded “I do.” It is something that I do believe in and it is no longer something that is hidden away. I think it is a reflection on how we live out God’s love, each of us. I will never rise to the giddy heights of being canonized within the church, but I belong to a family, a community, a parish, a world – all filled with saints, all to which I am connected, to which we are connected with one another.

    “I may rejoice at the birth of a man and of a saint in this cherished family of God” Oh my God, Eugene knew how to love!

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