Reflecting on the effect on the Oblates of the misbehavior of Vachon, Eugene concludes that the only way to survive hard blows was to keep their attention firmly focused on the Oblate Rule of life. Living every aspect of one’s life in its light (in a spirit of regularity) ensured a safe journey.

I know we are not the only ones subject to such misfortunes; there is no society which does not have several of them; but our small number renders these blows most painful with negative effects on our spirit. We must nevertheless not fail to submit ourselves to the decrees of Divine Providence; the humiliation which results from this for the whole Society is perhaps a way more useful to us than prosperity, and we ought to profit from it to become more perfect and more faithful to the observance of our Rules and the spirit of our Institute.
Such is the conclusion I draw from all these woes which overwhelm us. Let them pay more attention than ever to the strict observance of the Rules. Keep a tight watch over that at Marseilles: things have never been as I have wanted. Cut out all that can be an obstacle in the way of regularity.
Never mind if a little less is done exteriorly; there is much to gain from perfecting oneself. It is only by the exact observance of the Rules that one renders them familiar to oneself and that one becomes consistently attached to them.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 26 November 1825, EO VI n. 208


“Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide.” President Andrew Johnson

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    In reflecting on this today I find myself curiously unable to settle in any one particular place, I feel scattered and unsure. This is not a comfortable reflection this morning.

    I remember when I finally quit drinking for good. I had sobered up but about three months later went out drinking again, not for long, only a matter of three days but it was enough. I realised in a moment of extreme clarity that I had to listen and follow all of the “rules” that I was being taught in AA if I ever wanted to stay alive. And although there were a few storms raging around me (my job, my family, the law…) I needed to keep my eyes, my focus on doing as I was told and getting sober. Then once that happened I needed to take the program, the 12 Steps (what we called our rule) and make them my own. I had to focus on them, take them in so that they became a part of me. As much as was my breathing of air and drinking of water the steps became a way of living, a part of me. In that way I was able to slowly get a handle on the other areas of my life; job, family, the law (I had not dropped any of them, but rather than trying to juggle all together I put them down to handle one at a time as I could).

    I eventually got to the point where I became a part of regular life again. AA and it’s way of living did not rule my life, it simply helped me to live it. Like a guide. I have seen pictures of (and heard stories) of the small marked posts that are along the “Camino” – a post with a particular symbol painted on it, guides to keep those who are making the pilgrimage on the path, headed in the right direction. I keep thinking this morning of the story of Peter in the boat and the Lord calling to him. Peter was so focused on the Lord that he jumped out of the boat to run to Jesus. It was only as a storm of fears and doubts beset him that he started to flounder and sink. Am thinking that maybe this is perhaps a little of what Frank might have meant when he wrote: “Living every aspect of one’s life in its light (in a spirit of regularity) ensured a safe journey.”

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