Sometimes, because of the work schedules of the people, the evening prayer for the public and the oraison for the Oblates would be at the same time. We have often seen the importance Eugene gave to this evening meditation before the Eucharist, which Oblate tradition calls “oraison.” It was a time of informal prayer where each one could commune with God and with his loved ones in the Communion made possible by Jesus Christ. Here he received strength for his ministry.
Writing to the Superior of the community in N.D. du Laus, Eugene stresses its importance for the community and underlines that the external mission of the Oblates must be adapted to accommodate a part of this time of communal prayer.
The evening oraison ought always to take place at half past seven, during the half hour which precedes supper. In order not to deprive him who conducts the evening prayers from the entire oraison of the community, when the oraison coincides with the time of the other, see to it that this prayer does not last more than a quarter of an hour. In no instance must it go beyond twenty minutes, but let it not go over a quarter of an hour when the times of the two exercises coincide.
As the community must make its oraison before the Blessed Sacrament and you do not have the holy Eucharist in your interior chapel, the one who takes the evening prayer for the faithful must do so in a very moderate voice so as not to disturb the community. I was always opposed to the shouting in Marseilles, that I heard in the house when they had prayers in the outside chapel.
Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, 26 August 1826, EO VI n. 252
For Eugene, the Oblate mission had to flow from and be nourished by the community prayer, while at the same time the experience of mission would enrich the missionary’s prayer.
“When you meditate or pray… you give up control and find the answer and you open yourself to receive God’s gift.” Erin Gray