Eugene’s examination of his life leads him to a situation that is peculiar to his time after the French Revolution. Many religious orders had been destroyed – and with them that particular spiritual and humanitarian contribution to society that was theirs. Eugene saw the Oblates as making up for some of that loss through their spiritual values. (cf for example, http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=1325 )
Today, despite the situation having changed, Eugene’s reflection invites us to identify some of God’s values regarding the dignity of life that our society has destroyed or ignores – and to make up for their absence by embracing them in our lifestyle and spirituality.
A second consideration based likewise on the end of our Institute enables me to discover to my great shame a lot of omissions. I refer to the fact that we are called so far as we can to make up for the various religious Orders that were destroyed by the Revolution. In light of that, what perfection are we called to? To the perfection of each suppressed Order. Perfection cannot be embraced in a more extended sense. And that is the end of our Institute. It fills me with confusion to have understood it so badly! What a subject for my examination!
Examination of conscience, October 1826, EO XV n 157
Unfortunately the remaining pages of this revealing document no longer exist.
“New ideologies, characterized by rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fueling that ‘throw away’ mentality which leads to contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest and those considered ‘useless’.” Pope Francis, World Day of Peace Message 2014.