A SOCIETY WITH ELDERS IS HEALTHY

Because Eugene’s Roman Diary was meant to be a private journal recording his impressions, it gives us precious insights into some of his views. In this entry he speaks about two of the older Lazarist priests in the house where he was living in Rome. What he admires in these men is what he wants to see in his own Oblates.

I spent my recreation with M. Collucci , one of our Lazarists, seventy-four years old. I would not have given him more than sixty. I cannot express how much I admired his beautiful simplicity, the beauty of his soul and the sentiments he expressed with admirable kindness. He is almost totally infirm although it isn’t noticeable; however, that still did not stop him from travelling to give missions this year, but serious sickness obliged him to turn back, or rather his doctor’s orders, since he was all ready to keep on going. He told me that what always sustained him was peace of soul which he had always been lucky enough to enjoy in his holy state, and that he thanked God every day for his vocation. I had already noticed the charity he showed in always being ready to go to the confessional and how respectfully he treated everyone. I consider this holy priest to be a great servant of God. He told me again that what contributed most to his happiness was receiving everything from God’s hands.
There is also another invalid in the house who had not been out of his room for eight years. He was a great missionary but now is half paralyzed. In this state, he still hears confessions and is always happy and resigned. They are great models of virtue, and I equally admire the concern, charity, and care that the other members of the house render this poor sick man, and the attention they pay the first one. I also gladly observed how they all faithfully followed the house rules. Everything functions well on its own. I am grateful to God for having placed me in a situation where I could marvel at such sustained good conduct. There is only one thing that really bothers me, that, even though I am far behind them in virtue, they all smother me with every sort of consideration and treat me with respect I certainly do not merit.

Roman Diary, 16 December 1825, EO XVII

 

“You seek help from the elders. A society with elders is healthy. It’s not always that way in the West.” Bernard Lagat

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One Response to A SOCIETY WITH ELDERS IS HEALTHY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I wonder who Eugene was writing to, who he was in conversation with, himself perhaps, God? I question only because I find myself wanting to write what I am, who I am, my thoughts, my questions and doubts, my joy, who I am becoming. Who and what I experience. I do not know if it is like this with everyone because it seems to be something that we do not talk about or share. This great desire to open up and share who we are, become transparent and a part of all else that exists. It has set me to wondering this morning what it will be like after my body dies. Will there be a greater connection once I am not fettered by the physical? Will there be a connection with the all, with the whole, a touch unbounded? Imagine being able to share yourself fully and utterly without restraint, to love so freely, to become a part of love itself. I am unable to find the words or even imagine such a possibility save for the small hint, that glimmer of the idea.

    I love when Eugene wonders aloud; “There is only one thing that really bothers me, that, even though I am far behind them in virtue, they all smother me with every sort of consideration and treat me with respect I certainly do not merit.” This man who was such an incredible lover – of God, of men, of all of creation. So full of life. He was so busy just loving that he did not seem to realise that their [these elders] respect and consideration for him was but a reflection of his own for them. Love reflected back. He was not being falsely humble, simply truthful. Love was something given freely and not merited, he would never merit it on his own because he used the love of God as his measuring stick. There seems to be in my life right now, more than a few people who wish to be ‘linked in’ with me, be a part of my circle of friends, who are inviting me to be a part of their circles and while it is lovely it is also unexpected and I am not entirely sure of the why of it. For sure I have ‘done’ nothing to earn it, but I am grateful for it. Such a gift I would not have dared to ask God for and yet here it is.

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