On February 18, Eugene had written to the Oblates to tell them the good news of the papal approbation of the Congregation. Today he received a letter from Tempier describing the joyful reaction of the Oblates to this. Eugene happily responds:
… it contained many things, many sentiments. I expected nothing less of you and of our dear confreres, in response to the news that I had announced to you in the letter to which you were replying. The goodness of Providence, the evident protection of God were too great, too tangible for hearts like yours not to be moved; and I assure you that I have read and reread the account that you have given me; it has stirred up in my soul renewed joy, consolation and gratitude in response to all the sentiments that you yourselves have experienced.
In this spirit of fraternal unity and communion, he again invites the Oblates to appreciate the marvels that God has done for them and to respond generously. It is a repetition of Eugene’s constant challenge to BE in order to DO.
… Oh! yes, we need to tell ourselves that we have received a great grace! The more closely I consider it in all its aspects, the more I see the worth of this gift. We can never properly respond to it other than by an unwavering fidelity, and by a redoubled zeal and devotedness on behalf of the glory of God, the service of the Church and the salvation of souls, especially the most abandoned, as is called for by our vocation.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 20 March 1826, EO VII n 231
These words echo what Eugene had written eight years earlier in his vision document, which we know as our “Preface.”
Such are the great works of salvation that can crown the efforts of priests whom God has inspired with the desire to form themselves into a Society in order to work more effectively for the salvation of souls and for their own sanctification. To bring all this into being, they must carry out their duty worthily, faithfully fulfilling their splendid vocation.
1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One, §3. Nota Bene. Missions, 78 (1951) p. 16
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy