From the time that Eugene brought the Oblates into existence in 1816 until the papal approbation, he insisted on the necessity for a commonly accepted vision statement and a rule of life that would keep all the members in communion with this vision. Basically, he had put into writing the principles that guided him in his own ministry and invited others to share in his mission.
Papal approval of our Rule of Life meant that the Church recognized that it was an authentic expression of a Gospel way of life for the Oblates.
POPE LEO XII
FOR FUTURE REMEMBRANCE OF THE MATTER
Moreover, having consulted in council the Congregation of Our Venerable Brothers, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, who have charge of the Affairs and Questions of Bishops and Regulars, We, with the plenitude of Our Apostolic Authority, approve and confirm its Constitutions, which some of the Bishops of France have deemed deserving of the most praiseworthy testimonials, which testimonials many of them have even signed with their own hand in order to impart greater authority to them. We further command that these Constitutions be faithfully observed by all the members of this Congregation, whatever be the position they hold in it.
This approbation and commendation are given all the more willingly to such a salutary enterprise, because the members of this Congregation in their exterior ministry of preaching the word of God and of administering the sacraments make open profession of reverence, submission, and obedience to allBishops in communion with the Roman See who wish to employ their aid and services in their respective dioceses, and we feel convinced that they will continue to act in this manner. In addition, We, by Our Apostolic Authority, supply and remedy whatever defects of right or fact may have creptinto theframingof these same Rules.
…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.
In our first Rule of Life, Eugene had written about the need for this as a source of missionary strength:
But it is not enough for them simply to be convinced of the sublime nature of the ministry to which they have been called. The example of the saints and reason itself make it amply clear that the success of such a holy undertaking as well as the maintenance of discipline in any society make certain rules of life absolutely necessary for unity of thought and action among the members. Such unity is a body’s strength, keeping up its fervor and insuring that it lasts.
Wherefore, while pledging themselves to all the works of zeal which priestly charity can inspire – above all, to the work of the missions, which is the main reason for their union – these priests, joined together in a society, resolve to obey the following Constitutions and Rules; by living them they hope to obtain all the benefits they need for their own sanctification and for the salvation of souls.
Preface of the CC&RR
“A lot of people put pressure on themselves and think it will be way too hard for them to live out their dreams. Mentors are there to say, ‘Look, it’s not that tough. It’s not as hard as you think. Here are some guidelines and things I have gone through to get to where I am.’ Joe Jonas