In the Church of San Clemente, in Rome, there is a large mosaic portraying the Cross as the Tree of Life. In the center is the cross, and from its base there are leaves and stems that cover the whole scene. Linked with each stem one can see people and animals and flowers and the daily occupations of people (in the12th century). The message is clear: the Cross is THE source of life.
At the foot of the Cross we see Mary and John. I like to think of Eugene standing there with them because that picture describes the meaning of his Good Friday experience. At the sight of the Cross, a lost and unfocused young man had a life-changing intuition. He realized
Retreat Journal, December 1814, EO XV n.130
From now on, all the branches of his life (and later of his Missionary family) would be focused on the Tree of Life and making its fruits available for the salvation of the most abandoned.
On 25 January 1816, Eugene invited others to join him and become part of the Tree of Life: co-operators of the Savior:
1818 Rule, Nota Bene.
It is at the foot of the Cross that the Oblate family came to birth. We are a Good Friday people we are a Tree of Life family, we are missionaries inviting others to participate in the fruits of the Paschal Mystery.
The invitation of our bicentenary is to appreciate more fully that we are co-workers of the Savior. The mission of the Mazenodian Family is about salvation – the salvation of those who are in the margins, who are abandoned and unfocused:
“When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we proclaim Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly. We may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, all of this, but we are not disciples of the Lord.” Pope Francis
(For further reflection on this, see http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=2890 and the entries that follow)
- HERE WE HAVE NOT ONLY NUMBERS AND CONTENTMENT, BUT ALSO PIETY AND RELIGIOUS FERVOR
- THE GREAT PRIVILEGE OF OUR MOTHER, QUEEN AND PATRONESS
- HOW THE LORD MOVED THE SPIRIT AND THE HEART OF THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF TO GRANT ME WHAT HE HAD THUS FAR REFUSED TO OTHERS
- WE DO NOT WANT TO FORM CLERICS FOR PARISH WORK
- COMPASSION ALWAYS PREDOMINATED IN MY RESOLUTIONS, AND I CONTINUED TO SHOWER HIM WITH ACTS OF GENEROSITY
- HERE WE HAVE NOT ONLY NUMBERS AND CONTENTMENT, BUT ALSO PIETY AND RELIGIOUS FERVOR on
- THE GREAT PRIVILEGE OF OUR MOTHER, QUEEN AND PATRONESS on
- HOW THE LORD MOVED THE SPIRIT AND THE HEART OF THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF TO GRANT ME WHAT HE HAD THUS FAR REFUSED TO OTHERS on
- WE DO NOT WANT TO FORM CLERICS FOR PARISH WORK on
- COMPASSION ALWAYS PREDOMINATED IN MY RESOLUTIONS, AND I CONTINUED TO SHOWER HIM WITH ACTS OF GENEROSITY on