A BISHOP’S REQUEST THAT DOES NOT CORRESPOND WITH OUR CHARISM

Marius Suzanne, convalescing from his serious illness, had been approached by the Bishop of Aix to become his secretary. Eugene felt strongly that this was not in keeping with the spirit of the Oblates, and so he wrote to Fr Courtès, the superior of Aix, where Fr Suzanne was recuperating

… A palace and being cared for by an illustrious Bishop are too much for a poor religious who will need after his convalescence to promptly resume the observance of regular life, if he does not wish to run the risk of losing his spiritual life. One would be greatly to be pitied if one could become cured only this way.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 15 July 1827, EO VII n 272

To Marius Suzanne himself, Eugene pointed out his opposition, and also how the Bishop did not appreciate the full worth of the vocation of the missionaries in his diocese.

They propose that I send you to St. Antonin in the hope that in this honorable post, where you will only have to take the morning and evening prayers, say Mass and keep company with the Bishop, you will be able to regain all your strength …. So much in earnest is this proposal that seemingly it will bring on disagreement when they take it up again with me …. These offers are not propter Jesum tantum. You will think you are dreaming when you read this but nevertheless it is so. Is it possible that they know so little about the worth of our profession. I am surprised more than ever. Let us not forget this at least ourselves and let the holiness of our life prevail to the extent of sparing us the humiliation of certain favors.

Letter to Marius Suzanne, 18 July 1827, EO VII n 273

Today, I see this as an invitation to be discerning about the requests we receive for ministry: how do some of the demands on our time and energy fit into an Oblate focus?

 

“My choices, including those related to the day-to-day aspects of life, like the use of a modest car, are related to a spiritual discernment that responds to a need that arises from looking at things, at people and from reading the signs of the times. Discernment in the Lord guides me in my way of governing.”    Pope Francis

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One Response to A BISHOP’S REQUEST THAT DOES NOT CORRESPOND WITH OUR CHARISM

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “Today, I see this as an invitation to be discerning about the requests we receive for ministry: how do some of the demands on our time and energy fit into an Oblate focus?” It would seem that we must all be aware of these types of requests – this is not a situation reserved for priests and brothers alone but may come to all of us from a variety of others in a variety of fields.

    For me personally I must be aware of both halves of this type of situation. I may be asked to do something by another who is more senior to me, in a position of leadership (be it within the Church structure or outside of it). What will this do to and for me in the long run. Will it feed my ego or my soul? Am I being told that I ‘have’ to do it, that I ‘should’ do it? Is there prayer and discernment around this? What is my gut telling me? Likewise as I am in a position (very small) of leadership I need always be careful of what I suggest and ask others to do. Will this be life giving for them or will it feed just my own needs and wants, will it somehow make me look good? Others cannot be used no matter how well intentioned the the idea is.

    Two thoughts from scripture come to me this morning; that of the good shepherd who truly leads and guides and also the idea of the servant who has been given much and so is responsible for much him/herself. Pope Francis said “Discernment in the Lord guides me in my way of governing.” And I would add “and in how I allow myself to be governed.”

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