The cross of Jesus Christ is central to our mission… Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection.” (CC&RR, Constitution 4)

This defining characteristic of our Mazenodian family was the defining characteristic of the vision of Eugene, as this letter shows:

I rejoice with you, my very dear friend, in that you have been judged worthy to be despised for the love of God and be hated for all the good that you and yours accomplish in the Church of God… 
let us never overlook that in wishing to become true disciples of Jesus Christ we have embraced the cross to be carried each day and that we have had to renounce the esteem and love of men.
Si hominibus placerem, servus Dei non essem,[ed. Gal. 1,10: If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ] that in being consecrated to the life of our divine Master in order to please him, in the exercise of Christian piety, it is necessary that we be persecuted: Qui pie volunt vivere in Christo Jesus persecutionem patientur [ed. 2 Tim. 3, 12: Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted.];
finally, that we ought not to be treated otherwise than our leader and our model: Si me persecuti sunt et vos persequentur [ed. John 15, 20: if they persecuted me, they will persecute you.] and that we ought to expect persecutions as numerous as the rewards which the Lord has promised to his own here below: cum persecutionibus et vitam aeternaI [ed. Mark 10, 30: … with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life.].
I cannot tell you more, this is enough to console you should it be that you are affected by the ill treatment that you have so unjustly received.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 22 May 1824, EO VI n 137


“The cross of Christ, embraced with love, never brings sadness with it, but joy, the joy of being saved and of doing a little of what he did on the day of his death.”      Pope Francis

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I sat with this a long time this morning, not thinking, just sitting, I guess reflecting. The title alone, enough to stop me, give me pause. I find myself wanting to figure something out and there is really nothing to figure out. It simply is. The cross, stark, painful, so gloriously beautiful that I find myself wanting, needing to embrace it, literally and figuratively – inside and out. “I rejoice with you, my very dear friend ….” – such a strange word to use in the same sentence when talking about being despised because of the love of God and yet even as I write this it makes perfect sense. Was there ever a greater mystery than life in God? I think back to a period in Lent when I felt somehow the betrayal and pain of the walk on the road to Golgotha, darkness and sorrow, while being somehow surrounded with light and a joy deep within, so deep as to be almost not touchable. Is this the joy that Eugene and Francis speak of? It is certainly not a giddy joy and yet even as I write this I want to speak of tasting the sweetness of it, of that cross, of the love that is the cross. And that I truly cannot explain, even to myself, but those are the only words that seem to come. I find myself wanting to run from the idea of persecution of any kind, to lessen myself and my experience and to compare. It is hard, and a little painful to look at what that can mean in my life.

    The phrase of being a cooperator of Christ our Saviour sneaks in there, bringing with it an image of the cross at the centre, looking down/out at the world, and even at myself through the eyes of most perfect love, somehow being on the cross with. The joy is not giddy, but deep abiding, filling, consoling. I find myself once again using words that not all that long ago I would never have thought of and which now are the only words that seem to fit. At the same time I also find myself almost wanting to deny this all, shy away from it with words like “enough” and “being judged” entering into my thoughts. My God, how those wounds seep up so quickly, seeming to want to rob me of my truth.

    “The Cross of Christ, embraced with love” – says it all.

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