Eugene’s letter to the 27 year-old diocesan priest, Henri Tempier, is an essential foundation document for us. It contains the seeds of what is essential in our vocation. For this reason I am breaking it up into smaller sections to highlight its central ideas.
The letter shows the fundamental starting point of the vocation of any member of the Mazenodian family: it has to flow from an experience of the love of God on the Cross. “Read this letter at the foot of your crucifix” is not a pious thought – but it is a necessary attitude: Eugene experienced God’s love for him and understood his vocation at the foot of the Crucifix. Anyone who feels called to journey with Eugene needs to have as a starting point and as a point of focus the fact of God’s love expressed on the Cross.
In his desire to live “all for God” Tempier must listen to where the voice of God is calling him to move for the glory of God and for the salvation of the abandoned people of Provence.
My dear friend, read this letter at the foot of your crucifix
with the desire to listen only to God
regarding what the good of his glory
and the salvation of souls
demand from a priest like yourself.