OUR FOUNDING VISION: THE MISSIONARY IS NOT TO BE A CLANGING CYMBAL OR A DISCHARGED BATTERY

In the first Rule, the missionaries note their desire to live a life of equilibrium that includes the importance of prayer and study so as not to be empty vessels with nothing to give when they are on mission:

If they preferred to form a regular community of Missionaries, it is in an effort to be useful to the diocese,
while at the same time working at their own sanctification in conformity with their vocation.
Thus their life will be spent in prayer, in meditating the sacred truths,
 in practicing the  religious virtues,
in studying Sacred Scripture, the holy Fathers, dogmatic and moral theology,
in preaching and in the direction of youth.

Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, O.W. XIII n.2

Eugene and his first companions intended a life of equilibrium between receiving and giving. The missionaries need to receive through prayer, study and reflection so as to have something of value to share through their mission. Without this equilibrium they would become clanging cymbals with nothing of substance to offer in their evangelizing activities and without the ability to be evangelized themselves by those who are the most abandoned. Twenty years later, Eugene continued to stress this:

But beware of driving yourself as if it were a challenge. In God’s name, go back to the bosom of the community to renew yourselves in the spirit of your vocation, otherwise it is all up with our missionaries, they will soon be no more than sounding cymbals.

Letter to Eugene Guigues, 27 May 1835, EO VIII n 516

 FOUNDING VISION

“We take better care of our smartphone than ourselves. We know when the battery is depleted and recharge it”   Arianna Huffington

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One Response to OUR FOUNDING VISION: THE MISSIONARY IS NOT TO BE A CLANGING CYMBAL OR A DISCHARGED BATTERY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I began here by thinking of all that I have had to let go of doing. But quickly began to focus on what I have been given, what I have received. I am a passionate person by nature, used to being ‘high energy’ with lots of drive, but of late I have needed to slow down and let go of some of the activities that I have engaged in. I look at Eugene’s letter to Guigues and realize that it has very often been me challenging myself – not always for healthy reasons.

    Going back to the bosom of my community can be a daily thing. I begin here in this sacred space and will often return later on during the day to pause and reflect some more. I spend time with my parish community for they are very much a part of me. Within my heart both families (parish and Mazenodian) are very much a part of me. Most clearly it is not just a matter of one or the other.

    It hits me like a bombshell – that I am sent, I am a missionary in my own right, that I am sent and that I am able to return to my community. One is almost a base that allows me to go out, to take part in another. I am fed and can help to feed others. They have in my heart become somehow wedded and each calls me to go deeper into the other.

    I was looking through the lens of a glass that was half empty and here now as I prepare to go out it is in view of a glass that is half full. When I stop looking at what is not I begin to see what is. I am given much.

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