Aware of the responsibility accompanying his vocation to seek perfection in religious life, Eugene invites me to examine my behavior to evaluate whether my ministry effectively aims at the salvation of others. When I do things for others, whose approval am I looking for?

A consideration one must guard against forgetting is the inalienable obligation to seek perfection. This consideration will help me to come to see a host of sins of omission, for what holiness does not come within the apostolic vocation, I mean that which dedicates me to work unremittingly for the sanctification of souls with the means employed by the Apostles.
We have been specially founded for the conversion of souls and God has shown us over the period of years we have been proclaiming his mercies to sinners that he is ready to work miracles through our ministry. It is the seal of his approval.

Examination of conscience, October 1826, EO XV n 157


“Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best.”   Andrew Carnegie

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “When I do things for others, whose approval am I looking for?” There’s an easy answer to that and so I respond with one word God. But even as I think that one word of God there are images of other faces trying very hard to work their way to the front of my mind’s eye. Am I doing this for God – of course I am, but there also enters a little of the reality that I also want to impress others, to gain the approval of some others. Even seeking the approval of myself. When first reading the question I was ready to pronounce that I was doing what I do, being who I am for all the wrong reasons. I was not giving God due for the many miracles that have been brought about within me by God. That I am loved without qualifications and conditions is an ongoing, life altering and ever-living miracle and that God should fill me with great love and compassion, with endless gratitude, all of which I am powerless to do anything else but share that – huge. I must be honest with myself though for there is still that part of me that seeks to impress, that wants to be noticed and loved by others. It might not be the most dominant part of who I am, but it still plays a role and for that I must always seek and look at who I am and why I behave the way I do. Not because it’s automatically all wrong, but because it most certainly there. Somewhere along the journey it has become less about me and more about God and God in others. It has become about sharing all that God bestows upon me with others. And I can’t do that if I am looking for fulfillment outside of God, in myself or others. So I continue (when reminded) to strive for “the inalienable obligation to seek perfection” and that I cannot do unless I am ready to question and look honestly at myself.

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