A PREACHER WHO CONNECTED WITH THE POOR

During the jubilee preaching in Marseille, Rey describes a revealing incident:

“An unexpected event provides a basis for comparison between the preaching of the missionary of the poor and a more elevated level of eloquence. Father Enfantin reappeared in Marseille and offered his preaching services to the Founder. The Founder asked him to replace him in the pulpit of the Calvaire, keeping for himself only the morning exercise which he wanted to continue in the Provencal language. Father Enfantin was to preach at 11 am and in the evening at the usual hour. A few days were sufficient to bring about a significant change in the audience which was decreasing … The style of Father Enfantin was totally different of the missionary. His words were spoken with an impeccable purity of diction, but with a content that was perhaps too substantial and too concise so as to pass over their understanding. He did not grasp the attention of his listeners, nor did he manage to interest them, especially those of the middle class of society. He did not survive the challenge and whether he really became ill, or whether he realized that the enthusiasm of the audience was evaporating, he surfaced his infirmities and interrupted his preaching.
Father de Mazenod took up the preaching again and continued his appealing gatherings until the time fixed for the closing of the Jubilee at Christmas. He experienced all the fatigues of the apostolate without his health, which was still quite weak, being affected. The number of conversions exceeded all expectations.”

REY

 

“Anytime that you can reach somebody on an emotional level, you’re really connecting.”   Casey Kasem

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One Response to A PREACHER WHO CONNECTED WITH THE POOR

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Interesting that Rey describes Fr. Enfantin as speaking with purity of diction but that his message passed over the people. Who was he preaching for? Eugene when he preached was not speaking to point the finger at himself – it was not all about him but rather about God. It was not a ‘head’ thing but rather a ‘heart’ thing. What I have read of Eugene’s it is full of passion and fire, a little wild but it grabs the heart and invites that deepest part of us to open and connect. It is earthy and real. Interesting – I speak of Eugene’s message in the present tense – it was not a one time event, but rather lives on still, real and alive.

    I tend to forget sometimes my own poverty – I have received so much that I can honestly say that I richer than I could ever have imagined. So much has God given to me and yet there remains that integral part of me that still yearns and hungers, Yesterday I received the gift of being able to read a shared reflection from Père Guy Lavallée, OMI here in Canada. Here is a preacher who like Eugene connected with me, who touched my heart, embraced it and is still connected today. I am left with a myriad of emotions, the least of which is gratitude and the greatest – I am not sure I have yet the words to describe it. Père Guy shared his heart and connected with mine, with ours. His eloquence is in his connectedness with God, with himself and with all of us.

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