The Oblates were conducting a mission among “poor abandoned mountain people,” and the team wanted to prolong their time with them. Acknowledging their generosity, he still demands that they not prolong the mission and take a period of necessary rest.

I knew well that you would have all the trouble in the world to disengage yourselves from the Cévennes. This country is attractive for missionaries starved for the salvation of souls, but in the undertakings you propose to me I see that rest has not been taken into account.
Now it is just as necessary as work. I prefer no doubt that you employ your zeal in favour of the poor abandoned mountain people rather than waste your time with the proud citizens of disdainful cities. But, once more, I cannot dispense you from taking the rest which is your due by natural right.

Letter to Pierre Mie, 7 September 1826., EO VII n 253


“If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.”   Herodotus


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Imagine a world without laughter and fun, it would be like a world without sunflowers and daffodils, a world without colour or life. There must be time in this life to shine and reach for the sun, to simply be as we have been created to be and enjoy the life around us and we will not be able to do that if we are buried under mountains of weariness. I remember what it was like in AA – not the first year, or even the second – but by the third and fourth year I was full of life and ready to go out and save the world from drugs and alcohol. I was so full of zeal. And this was serious business! Thank God for the many who reminded me daily to slow down, make sure I ate a healthy meal, and most of all to get enough rest and sleep. I was a lot younger then and felt that I had endless life and energy. Later on with my parish, and my job, throwing myself into it all fully with every bit of life that I had. Partly because I could and partly because I wanted also to save the world and show everybody how good and worthy I was. Etc. Etc.

    God has given such joy and richness for us to share and enjoy. Created unimaginable beauty and lushness, and we have been created us to enjoy all of that. And dear Eugene knew so well what it was like to over extend himself and to get so worn down as to not be able to get back up. It was why he invited others to help, to walk with him. This is perhaps another facet of ‘being in order to do’. We are not meant to neglect ourselves to help others. If we look at Jesus as the model, he found time to rest, to replenish himself, so that when the time came he could give his all body and soul. It was how He remained balanced and able to live out who he was. Would he ask any less of us?

  2. Dave Morgan says:

    Doug walked into town yesterday and came to our Parish breakfast. He is a tall man, pronounced beard, large brow with deep dark eyes. I asked him where he is from, “Well he said, that is hard to say, I guess the longest time I spent in one place was in the Ottawa area.” Where are you headed to Doug? “Nowhere, but I would like to go back to Bora Bora.”

    Then he started telling me some incredible things. “You know your town is dead. There are absolutely no services open after 6 pm. No camping, no shelter. This is a town of seniors and we are all dying. This breakfast is great but in 10 years we will all be gone. Where are the youth? There is nothing for them here.”

    Then he mentioned he used to work for Bell Northern Research. And they made the most complicated machines to run the internet. He said he dies 10 times a day, 0 blood pressure, 0 heart beat. Then there is a light…He met the mayor and told him that the youth aren’t happy here. He is not camped out near Gailee on the river as camping is illegal here. He wants to get back to Bora Bora – you can live on the beach there – food, warm temps.

    As he said all this, we at his table did not know what to say. Finally I said Doug, you have a lot of wisdom, thank you for being you. He turned to me and said “Concentrate on the youth, God Bless you.”. He got up and slowly walked away.

    And he had said many other things too numerous to mention in this post.

    • Anda says:

      I think I saw him after mass, but he was praying and I didn’t want to interrupt … Now I understood why he looked so sad.

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