25 years of varied life experiences and persistent searching finally all came together in one focal point. The inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, reminds us that “the sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” All the disparate rays of Eugene’s life came together in the focus of the sight of the cross.
Can I forget the bitter tears that the sight of the cross brought streaming from my eyes one Good Friday?
… Could I ever express what I experienced then?
Just the memory of it fills my heart with a sweet satisfaction.
Retreat Journal, December 1814, O.W. XV n.130
The memory of experiencing how he understood the focal point of his life would never leave him. It would be the focus of every action of his life. From now on, Jesus was primarily the Savior for him. Of all the expressions that Eugene uses to describe Jesus Christ, it is the one of Savior that he constantly comes back to in expressing his ideals and in all his writings.
Indeed, he sees everything through the focus of the lens of the eyes of the Crucified Savior. This is his testament to us, and it is expressed in our Rule of Life:
The cross of Jesus Christ is central to our mission. Like the apostle Paul, we “preach Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2: 2). If we bear in our body the death of Jesus, it is with the hope that the life of Jesus, too, may be seen in our body (cf. 2 Cor 4:10). Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil 3: 10). CC&RR Constitution 4
Each of us in the Mazenodian family has experienced an attraction and a calling to the charism of Eugene de Mazenod. We have come with our own spirituality and our own ideals and through Eugene we have found the point of focus for all this in the cross of the Savior. “The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus” – like Eugene we are invited to focus and to burn with the light of our Savior individually and as missionary communities.