200th anniversary of illness

Saint Eugene will be back online on Wednesday. With apologies for the silence but I have been away where I did not have easy access to  internet. In the meantime I re-publish something that Father Fr. Jack Lau, OMI wrote today:
Today is the 200 Anniversary of the great sickness of Eugene while visiting the prisoners of war and the response by the Association of Christian Youth (April 25, 1813 foundation date). The reading is found on p. 139-141. Diary 1791-1821.

As I reflected upon this I was think and praying for all the young people who are supporting (Fr.) Jimmy Erving, (OMI) with their prayers and the countless others that continually prayer for those Oblate who are infirm or struggling at this time.

“He was confined to his bed on March 10, 1814, having had a fever for some days; on the 14th he received holy viaticum and extreme unction.”
“Dear Children! Allow me also to set down in this register, which must serve for the instruction of those who have the happiness of following in your footsteps, the feelings of love, esteem, gratitude, admiration that you have inspired me with by your behavior toward me. How could I fail to have a father’s heart for you after you have proved that you love me as if you were my children? It is true that I loved you first, but isn’t it a merit at your age to be able to appreciate a feeling that was chiefly aimed at your souls for whose salvation I would gladly have contributed with the price of all my blood. As soon as I had arranged for the sacraments to be brought me that I believed would be the last I would received in my life, the news was communicated to the college. At once all the congregants spontaneously asked if they might leave their classes and hurried to the church of St. John whence Holy Viaticum was to be brought me. They were given candles…….and they lined up two by two immediately in front of the priests. The whole town has told me that one could read on their faces what was passing in their hearts at the moment when they realized they were in danger of losing the best and dearest of their friends….The state in which they saw me, the difficulty I had in saying a few words before receiving the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, hurt them greatly. They were all the more sensible of my situation as in the few words I was able to utter my concern was all for them, but their unease reached its heights when they were informed that I had lost consciousness two or three hour after receiving the sacraments……They addressed themselves then to the supreme Moderator of everything, and relying on the powerful intercession of the B.V.M and great St. Joseph and the other saints…..And how could the goodness of God have failed to be touched by the fervour, trust, perseverance with which these young people prayed to the Lord to give them back their Father. All who witnessed it were in tears…….We were in the month of March, the time when the rigor of the cold makes itself most felt. Dear Children! if only you could read my heart as I write these lines!!! Well! …..they go up before dawn, and went in early morning notwithstanding the frost to the Church where each day the assisted at the Sacrifice……In the evening after classes they gathered again in the Church of the Madeleine……Finally, the Lord having given me back at the wishes of these dear young people, I was soon able to go in person to thank Gods at the foot of those same altars where he had been invoked n my behalf with so much fervour.

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One Response to 200th anniversary of illness

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Yesterday in my reflection from ‘going deeper’ I came across an entry from Eugene’s 1826 Diary in Rome where he mentioned his illness as being the reason for not following what was happening with regard to Fontainebleau. I thought about it a little and moved on. Then later receiving from Jack a note with the above from Eugene’s diary I was struck on what God will use to speak to us – for I do not believe in coincidences.

    And here we are again this morning, with Eugene writing about both himself and his youth group. He speaks of his near death illness and his love of the youth who returned that love – freely, greatly. “Dear Children! ….those who have the happiness of following in your footsteps, the feelings of love, esteem, gratitude, admiration that you have inspired me … How could I fail to have a father’s heart for you after you have proved that you love me as if you were my children? It is true that I loved you first, but isn’t it a merit at your age to be able to appreciate a feeling that was chiefly aimed at your souls for whose salvation I would gladly have contributed with the price of all my blood.” I keep reading this over and over and notice that this is how God loves us. God initiates it, simply because God is God – God loves and keeps loving and it is from that we learn to love in return. God the Father with whom it always begins and then us loving back and eventually turning outward and loving as we have been loved and so it continues. Also there is in here Jesus, who contributed his very blood for us. Co-operator of the Savior, who goes on to show us, to teach us how we might answer that call. I am reminded of the drawing of Jesus at the centre, heart aflame with love as the flames reach out, back and forth and around with his apostles and then in turn from each of them to others. Only not flat as in a drawing but multi-layered, multi-dimensional.

    Eugene, loving as the Father loved him, loving as a father himself. Once we say yes to that love we are forever transformed and able only to do it ourselves, to do as has been done to us. Eternity. Unfathomable.

    This is the light that is present within the darkness of the desert that is Lent.

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