If there ever was a time when this Apostolic See endeavored to encourage and support by every means at its command the zeal of those priests, who, burning with the fire of holy love, preach the Gospel throughout the whole world, and labor to implant in the minds of people the precepts and duties of the Christian religion and to instruct the people to be subject to lawful authority, We think of no more fitting occasion to do this than at the present when crimes of every kind, issuing like hideous monsters from the dark recesses of the past, again rear their heads and boldly spread their ravages from day to day, threatening to overthrow all rights, human and divine, and completely to efface, were it possible, every vestige of religion…

…Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the Fisherman’s Ring, on the twenty first day of March, 1826, in the third year of Our Pontificate.

Pope Leo XII

Apostolic Letter of Approbation, 21 March 1826, Missions O.M.I., n° 280 (1952), pp. 118, 138.

This echoes Eugene’s analysis of the situation of French Christians after the Revolution which impelled him to respond by creating the Oblates to reform the situation at close quarters.

The Church, that glorious inheritance purchased by Christ the Savior at the cost of his own blood, has in our days been cruelly ravaged. The beloved spouse of God’s only begotten Son is torn with anguish as she mourns the shameful defection of the children she herself bore. Christians, but apostates, and utterly mindless of God’s blessings, they provoke divine justice by their crimes….
Faced with such a deplorable situation, the Church earnestly appeals to the ministers whom she herself enrolled in the cause of her divine Spouse, to do all in their power, by word and example, to rekindle the flame of faith that has all but died in the hearts of so many of her children.

Preface of the CC&RR

“What a blind person needs is not a teacher but another self.”   Helen Keller

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “to do all in their power, by word and example, to rekindle the flame of faith that has all but died in the hearts of so many of her children.” How we do this, each of us in different ways. I read this and had the image of feeding, of nourishing – not just those who had never eaten of daily bread, but those too who have eaten but still hunger.

    This past weekend I facilitated Ron Rolheiser’s video workshop on the “Eucharist” at our sister parish here and one of the things that came up that it is not only in the ‘doing’ that we respond to Eugene’s statement above, but also in sharing who we are, sharing the joy and love of who we are. For others see this and are attracted, others are drawn to it just as we have been and so come closer to touch and see how they too can have in life what we have. God’s presence in our lives, our very selves are like a beacon lighting the way for others. Our “being”.

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