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