OUR FOUNDING VISION: THE MISSIONARY SHOWS PEOPLE WHO JESUS IS AND BECOMES A BRIDGE TO HELP THEM TO MEET HIM

A phrase that is almost in danger of passing unnoticed in the description of the life of the Missionaries is: “in preaching and in the direction of youth.”

We came into existence for two clear missionary purposes: 1/ to preach the Gospel to those who were abandoned, and 2/ to direct youth.

 Thus their life will be spent in prayer, in meditating the sacred truths, in practising the virtues of religion, 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’s main occupation for the three years before the foundation of the Missionaries was the care of the young people in his Youth Congregation. After January 1816, this work continued, but now as part of the mission of the whole community. Eugene was the one responsible for the youth, but when he was away preaching parish missions, one of the other community members took charge.

The two key verbs that we thus receive from our founding generation are: “preach” and “direct”. Initially, the Missionaries came into existence to preach the Word of God and to accompany and direct young people in the ways of God. Later, the scope and the recipients of missionary zeal were to expand, but always with the same two verbs as being foundational: preach and direct.

Today we could re-state these two actions in this way: show people who Jesus is and be a bridge to help them to meet him. Remembering that our actions preach louder than words, our daily occupations and attitudes preach for us.

FOUNDING VISION

“Not that our salvation should be the effect of our work, but our work should be the evidence of our salvation.”   Charles Spurgeon

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2 Responses to OUR FOUNDING VISION: THE MISSIONARY SHOWS PEOPLE WHO JESUS IS AND BECOMES A BRIDGE TO HELP THEM TO MEET HIM

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Almost from the beginning I read this with a bit of a sinking feeling. How do I fare on preaching and directing? Is this one of those mornings when I am unable to see the forest for the trees? I am curiously empty this day. Still… Do my daily actions and occupations, do my attitudes speak louder than words? Most certainly some of them do. I think of myself last night and realise that I have been once again trying to ‘compete’ with a friend who is larger than life, well known for all the good work she does, etc etc. In truth we are not even on the same playing fields and I see that my need to be ‘as good as’ an other comes from my own woundedness. Do my actions and attitudes somehow show others who Jesus is? I want to say a resounding yes to those questions but feel that in all truth to do so might be a little too quick. My actions, my work is pretty small and extremely ordinary. I am not sure that it provides much evidence of my salvation – for that has been huge, so big as to rock my universe and it continues daily. God has most certainly not abandoned me, and gives me more than I could ever dream of on my own. But – how do I share that with others?

    I think of Jesus in the desert – I guess it was not a ‘picnic’ for him – questioning, struggling, wondering. He had a few temptations to overcome himself. I think of Eugene in the midst of his ‘Icosia affair’ as Al Hubenig referred to it. A time of darkness, struggles, putting one foot in front of the other – his Lent for sure. Perhaps I am in good company. I listen to my questions and doubt they will overtake my day, but still they are a part of me – like big stones on the path before me. I dare not close my eyes and pretend they are not there, but I must continue moving on the path, one foot in front of the other. Not where I would have wished to be today.

  2. Leah Couvillion says:

    That was a very readable and touching post. It finds an echo in my own questioning of myself. As for you, I’d say a resounding yes, as to whether you are a bridge to help others come to meet Jesus.

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