Eugene, the preacher and founder of a society of missionaries, speaks strikingly from the depths of his heart about the power of the preached word.

The grace of conversion is eminently attached to the word, it is the strength of God; miracles are operated by it. That is the mysterious net, when it is thrown in nomine Jesus (ed. in the name of Jesus). From Saint Peter to our days, and it will be so until the end of the world, it is by the spoken word and not by the written word that numerous conversions are worked.

The context of these words is his attempt to tone down the convalescing Marius Suzanne’s haste to finish writing his book and get him to rest. In the process, he gave us a beautiful description of the power of preaching.

So do not kill yourself doing this work, I repeat, you will get there in time by walking more slowly. Continue to give me from time to time news about yourself, work less and get yourself well.
Adieu, I love you and embrace you with all my heart.

Letter to Marius Suzanne, 25 August 1827, EO VII n 276


“You can change your world by changing your words… Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.”     Joel Osteen

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I love the written word as much as word that is spoken or seen. In truth my experience has been that God uses whatever God wishes to touch, to embrace and to transform. There is so very much that God uses to grab hold of us, to stop and embrace us in the midst of whatever is happening around us. I am first a writer, but I know too that I am a good speaker when I have the opportunity to share what I am most passionate about, that which gives me life.

    How marvelous it is that God comes to us, speaks to us in an infinite number of ways, be it through spoken word, through thoughts shared in music, paintings, writings and the universe – through all of life. Eugene himself was a wonderful writer who painted with his written words and brought them to life. With him it seemed to be not just that he was ‘saying’ the words, but more that he was ‘sharing’ them – he was putting all of who he was into those words, into the preaching – that was the miracle of it all. I understand what he was trying to say to Marius Suzanne and actually reflecting on that it has brought me to a deeper awareness of the strength of God that brings about the miracles of life. I find myself grateful for this invitation to look deeper at the many gifts offered to us, to me and how I use them.

    I do not say it often enough, but thank you Frank for all that you offer us with this place. Here we come to know Eugene much better, to experience more deeply the sheer love of God as we come to better know ourselves. Thank you for this place of miracles.

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