The time of novitiate was a privileged time of formation for the future Oblates, and so Eugene wanted that time set aside to do what it was intended to. For those of us who are not Oblate novices, perhaps the sense of Eugene’s invitation is to reflect on whether we are doing, to the best of our ability, what we are supposed to be doing at this moment of our lives. Are we living the grace of the present moment?

The novices must truly be novices, let them be kept continually up to form whether within the novitiate by study which is permitted in our Rules, by instructions, by practices of most excellent piety, that is to say, self-renunciation, humility, poverty, obedience, whether outside by some works of zeal such as catechism for the poor, for the sick and for prisoners, visits to hospitals, etc. If we are not decisive in this matter, we will do nothing worthwhile. Reflect deeply on all that I have just said.

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

 Our Rule of Life today bears this principle in mind:

The novice, led by the Spirit living within him, develops his personal relationship with Jesus and gradually enters into the mystery of Salvation through liturgy and prayer. He becomes accustomed to listen to the Lord in Scripture, to meet him in the Eucharist and to recognize him in other persons and in events. He comes also to contemplate God at work in the life and mission of the Founder, as well as in the Congregation’s history and traditions. Opportunities for pastoral experience in an Oblate setting help him realize the demands of a missionary vocation and the unity of apostolic religious life.

CC&RR, Constitution 56


“Above all, live in the present moment and God will give you all the grace you need.” Francois Fenelon

This entry was posted in LETTERS and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I come here late this morning, not so much because I could or would not deal with what has come up on reading and reflecting on this, but more because there was and is so much and this deserves more time that I first thought. It is not simply a matter of reading what is posted and having a few thoughts, but is rather a matter of reading it two or three times and then reflecting and as happens so often my reflections lead me down avenues that had not previously entered into my consciousness. Today I needed to honor Eugene’s request to ‘Reflect deeply on all that he had just said’ in the light of Franks questions.

    The thought came to me this morning that although I am not, nor have I ever been a novice of a religious congregation, I am just that. For me it is a matter of learning and being formed to live a very specific way of life – as called by God. God himself has been forming from the moment of my birth, although it is not always and readily easy to see that. And from time to time and during different periods of my life God has worked through others be it teachers, members of AA, members of Madonna House, other members of my parish community, spiritual directors and many Oblates. My life in some ways has been an unstructured and informal long novitiate. And I laughingly think I may well be one of the slowest persons “to get it”.

    “…Eugene’s invitation …to reflect on whether we are doing, to the best of our ability, what we are supposed to be doing at this moment of our lives. Are we living the grace of the present moment?” This is what I find here daily, an invitation to reflect, most often in a directed way exactly as Frank has suggested and invited us to do today.

    I will often find myself getting caught up in the struggle, the pain that comes and I know that if I allow myself (and sometimes the temptation is really big) I can become caught up in that, get totally distracted and derailed with it, and then I lose sight entirely of God or worse. In other words my own actions, my own decisions, my own self stops me from asking God what am I supposed to be doing at this moment in time? Stops me from asking how I am doing it – is it half- heartedly or with all that I am? Stops me from being able to see God and his love right in front of me in the moment – ink the nature around me, the people in front of and with me, my very self.

    I have been taking the time to listen and learn. Yesterday I listened to Ron Rolheiser speak on the “Deeper Invitation of Jesus” and at one point I stopped and thought (with a tiny wee bit of excitement and light) “oh that is what I have been doing with ‘so-and-so’. I savored that for a moment or two – there was pleasure and I mentally looked up at God and said ‘see – I am learning – to love as you love’. A small moment of grace and recognizing that even as I thanked him. Sometimes that moment of grace is the very ordinary. This morning, in the rain and cooler temperature I find myself embracing another day, filled with a sense of joy and gratitude – not for anything specific – perhaps this too is a moment of grace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.