For five years “St Eugene Speaks” has been working through the letters of Saint Eugene de Mazenod in a chronological manner. As we prepare for the bicentenary of our foundation, I have been asking myself how best to focus these daily reflections to help us to benefit from the anniversary in a deeper and more transforming way.
I am tired of hearing people expounding that there is no such thing as an “Oblate/Mazenodian Spirituality.” I totally disagree with this statement, and would like to take time to reflect on our spirituality as it has been expressed and lived in 200 years of our existence as Oblates.
What do we mean by “spirituality?” It is a fashionable concept these days, and there seem to be as many definitions as there are persons who talk about it in all sorts of contexts. Spirituality is all about how our understanding and experience of God is the foundation and guiding principle of our daily lives. It is the “spirit” that gives meaning to our lives.
Eugene was conscious of this “spirit” in his personal life and in the life of the Oblates at all times. Writing to his closest collaborator he explained:
First companion of mine, you have from the first day we came together grasped the spirit which must animate us and which we must communicate to others
Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 August 1822, EO VI n 86
As we journey with Eugene, let us take some time today to reflect on the question, “What is the spirit that animates me?” What holds everything together in my life?
“Spirituality has to do with our experiencing of God and with the transformation of our consciousness and our lives as outcomes of that experience…” Richard McBrien