What gave Eugene the inner strength to keep him going? We catch another glimpse in the Mass he celebrated at the tomb of Peter – he speaks of “the sacred fire of love” that he recalled in the lives and examples of each of these persons who had been associated with Jesus.

Prayer becomes confident, I assure you, when one feels in the company of Jesus Christ, his Vicar, his apostles and first heads of the Church such as St. Linus, etc., offering the Holy Sacrifice over bodies which have been animated by such great souls, over bodies which have touched the Saviour, from which still seems to spring the sacred fire of the love which handed them over to the torments of martyrdom, so as to confess the name of their Master, who also is ours!

Letter to Henri Tempier, 17 January 1826, EO VII n 218

His time in Rome to seek the approbation of the Oblates was all about letting “the sacred fire of the love” burn more strongly in the Oblates and to help them to light fires in the lives of the most abandoned.


“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”      Albert Schweitzer

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    A bit of deja vu this morning. I took time to go back into Eugene’s writings to read more of the quote from his letter to Fr. Tempier. Secretly I was hoping to find something new, more than I had read before, something fresh and maybe a bit profound. Didn’t happen.

    “…the sacred fire of the love which handed them over to the torments of martyrdom…” How many of us I wonder have secretly wanted somehow to become martyrs for God, giving our very lives for God? I laugh at myself a little because there has been the part of me springing up in fervor to inform the Lord that He can take me, I’m ready for it, to die for him and for all those who will come after me. I tend to keep that secret though, and even more secret are the thoughts/fears/images that follow causing me to quietly whisper that maybe, perhaps it could be a little painless and not messy?

    I don’t think there’s a whole lot of chances that I will be martyred because of my beliefs and way of life in God. But that sacred fire of love burns deeply, fiercely and wildly within me and it is perhaps that which pushes me to allow myself to die in little ways, which leads me into letting go of what I used to think are vital parts of who I am, but which I find are a little like ‘window dressing’. So hard to let go of, so hard to give it to God, to say ‘take it for I do not even know how to give it’.

    That sacred fire of love burning as deeply and brightly today as it did in Jesus, in Peter and Paul and in others like St. Linus. The image of that sacred fire of love slowly fades and a new image arises, that of the hearts of flame burning in Jesus, and the apostles, the saints, Eugene, his Oblates and in each of us, and all connected inward and outward, back and force (a dance). Image if one were to be able to view it from space – so many little flames that they would merge and come together as a sacred fire.

    God continue to fill me with the fire of your love, let it burn brightly in my life, so all that take note will see you, find you and experience that love which is you. “…Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…”

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    “Sacred fire of Love”, a powerful text and image as we prepare to enter what I call the Triduum of Fire, St. Bridget of Ireland, Candlemas Day and Blaze. These days are calling us out of the darkness of winter and drawing ever closer to the Horizon of Hope and the “Sacred Fire of Love.”

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