SPIRITUALITY: THE IMPORTANCE OF LOOKING BACK

 

While I am convinced that the focal point of Eugene’s spirituality is his understanding of the Cross as his life-long source of energy and mission, it is important to see this as part of a spiritual journey and not an isolated happening. Eugene’s spiritual journey had begun in his youth, with all his experiences contributing to the formation of his focus. His earliest recorded recollection is:

God placed in me, I would almost say, a kind of instinct to love him. My reason was not yet formed when I loved to dwell in his presence, to raise my feeble hands to him, listen to his word in silence as if I understood it. By nature lively and irrepressible, it was enough to bring me before the altar to make me gentle and utterly tranquil, so ravished was I by my God’s perfections, as if by instinct I would say, for at that age I did not understand them.

Notes made during the retreat in preparation for priestly ordination
1-21 December 1811, EO XIV n. 95

At the age of 29 he recalled these childhood religious experiences and his instinctive sense of the presence of God. It was to be a distinctive characteristic of his spirituality that stayed with him in adulthood.

It is important for each of us to do the same: to look back on our earlier religious experiences and to re-read them in the light of our present journeys. We will discover patterns of spiritual expression that have their roots in earlier experiences.

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“There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge… observation, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.”   Denis DideroT

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One Response to SPIRITUALITY: THE IMPORTANCE OF LOOKING BACK

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “It is important for each of us to do the same: to look back on our earlier religious experiences and to re-read them in the light of our present journeys. We will discover patterns of spiritual expression that have their roots in earlier experiences.” This really speaks to me this morning – of the ‘always-there presence of God’.

    Being raised in a home that nurtured with violence gave me a rather skewed way of looking at everything. Having been taught that most certainly there was a God, but also taught that there was no good within me. Indeed so bad and unlovable was I that God had made me to as a punishment to my parents and so as I saw it to be that I was a punishment to the world. I spent almost the first half of my life asking, begging God to put some good in me so that he could love me a little bit. At the same time I had an understanding (of sorts) of the Trinity which made absolutely perfect sense to me and which left me wondering why others couldn’t get it. It was never a world of ‘either/or’ but rather a world of ‘both/and’ but it is only now that I recognize that.

    I have spent the 2nd, well the last half of my life giving praise and thanking God for ALL that God has given to me. So magnificent have been and are the gifts of life. It is as if what I experienced in my youth was ‘an absence’ of God and love only emphasized and heightened my experiences of God’s presence and love. They both ARE.

    It’s funny but I do not wish that I’d had a different childhood, that I’d been more like Eugene but it’s taken me a lot of life and years to get to be here where I am, seeing as I now see. “Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour” gives a new depth and meaning to my life and to loving the poor as I do. There is such a richness this morning and a sense of being lavished (as in over-the-top) with love.

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