Examining the possibility of joining Fr. Favre’s missionary group with the Oblates, Eugene, the experienced missionary preacher, was critical of the approach to some practical methods of this group. The Oblates concentrated on preaching the love and invitation of the merciful God to conversion. Yet, Eugene remained open to the possibility that God was asking the two groups to join forces.

They rise at four o’clock, make an hour of oraison, say their Masses and confess until nine o’clock. At nine begins the first exercise of the mission, that is to say, an examination, unbelievably cold and insipid, done from the pulpit by a missionary on a commandment of God. Mass follows; at the Gospel, another missionary goes up to the pulpit to preach a sermon, after which the Mass is completed and they retire until two o’clock when they begin another exercise.
A missionary then proceeds with catechism by interrogating a child trained to reply properly; the questions and answers follow one upon the other very rapidly. This is what, of all these gentlemen do, pleases me the most. When three o’clock sounded, the catechism finished and a conference began. I assisted at that of yesterday and the one today.
M. Favre himself gave it. Alas! how bad it is! I cannot conceive how they keep it up. It was the complement of the sermon of this morning which was excessively bad. In these conferences, which are truly dialogues that are silly, they repeat without ceasing. When I say repeat, I mean the same idea, the same words. Today, for example they spoke of all the sins that one commits against every commandment. They did at each commandment the same enumeration: two sins per day make fourteen per week, sixty per month, etc., per year, per ten years, per twenty years, etc., and so on . After the commandments, they reviewed those one makes by the senses, by the body, by the mind, in childhood, in youth, in mature age, in old age, always calculating by addition and multiplication, using always the same expressions, without bringing in the least feeling. Oh! how bad it is! I could stand no more.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 June 1826, EO VII n 248


“We need discernment in what we see and what we hear and what we believe.”   Charles R. Swindoll

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Yesterday Eugene spoke of M. Favre as being one who was of merit and who worked for the will of God, and apparently he successful with his missions, having more than a few followers. But today as Frank says the “Oblates concentrated on preaching the love and invitation of the merciful God to conversion. Yet, Eugene remained open to the possibility that God was asking the two groups to join forces.” Ever open to the will of God.

    Today this reminds me that even though something is not ‘my way’ it cannot be discounted, mocked or ignored for God uses many people and many ways. I guess the trick is to see if we can work together with those who have a different view and way about them. There are a few that come to mind as I sit here – and their way is different from mine. It is not a matter of them being right and me being wrong, or of me being right and so them being wrong. It means only that we come at things differently and our view might be shaded differently – can we somehow work together? And if we can’t does it mean that one must leave the arena. I think that God finds a place for all of us. I liken it a bit to the different communities out there. Each day I begin with a small reflection of Richard Rohr – a Franciscan whom I much admire and like. I reflect either before I come here or just after and I really like what he has to say. I think that where he is going and what he has to offer is great but after looking at it all I do not feel called to live their way of life. I will not discount them – it is just that their way is a little different from mine. God has called me to be with others and I am grateful that I have a sense of even being called for that is the greatest gift of all. I have a feeling that there will always be a degree of ongoing discernment – that I will have to continue to keep my heart and being open to the will of God.

    I am constantly amazed at how timely these postings and sharings of Eugene are in our Church, in our parishes and communities, in our lives. As Ken said yesterday: “All this seems to be very familiar, a sign of the times for our own times as well.”

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