OUR FOUNDING VISION: BECOME SAINTS SO AS TO MAKE OTHERS SAINTS

In 1816 Eugene sketched a plan of the vision of the new group of missionaries. In 1818 he developed the vision into a practical rule of life. The next step was to present this Rule to the Pope to receive the Church’s approval. This happened in 1826 after the Rule of Life had been adjusted somewhat after 10 years of lived experience.

The spirit of the original vision was now expressed in a special way in the first part of the Rule, in the section known as the “Preface.” Here are a few extracts:

… The sight of these evils has so touched the hearts of certain priests, zealous for the glory of God, men with an ardent love for the Church, that they are willing to give their lives, if need be, for the salvation of souls.
… How, indeed, did our Lord Jesus Christ proceed when he undertook to convert the world? He chose a number of apostles and disciples whom he himself trained in piety, and he filled them with his Spirit. These men he sent forth, once they had been schooled in his teaching, to conquer the world which, before long, was to bow to his holy rule.
And how should men who want to follow in the footsteps of their divine Master Jesus Christ conduct themselves if they, in their turn, are to win back the many souls who have thrown off his yoke? They must strive to be saints…
… We must spare no effort to extend the Savior’s empire and to destroy the dominion of hell. We must check the manifold evils of sin and establish the honored observance of every virtue. We must lead men to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints.
… Such are the great works of salvation that can crown the efforts of priests whom God has inspired with the desire to form themselves into a Society in order to work more effectively for the salvation of souls and for their own sanctification. To bring all this into being, they must carry out their duty worthily, faithfully fulfilling their splendid vocation.

CC&RR, Preface

FOUNDING VISION

“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”   1 Corinthians 1:2

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One Response to OUR FOUNDING VISION: BECOME SAINTS SO AS TO MAKE OTHERS SAINTS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    There are certain things that Eugene said and wrote that touch me so incredibly deeply. His words and thoughts, his spirit gives birth to joy and wonder, love and gratitude, to inspiration and desire.

    This morning again I experience is wonder and immense gratitude. It is all wrapped up in God, modeled by Jesus; and the Church – she is there; and Eugene and the Oblates – fanning the small flames, feeding the fire with words that describe a way of being that I want to chase after. I am like a little girl dancing around the feet of my God; ‘look at where you have brought me, at what you have given me – this I who I want to be’.

    I see Jesus as the central point, along with the Church. Look again Lord at the grace you have given me. There is the Church who though I struggle with her sometimes I love her greatly. There too are Eugene and the Oblates, a gift received and returned – central somehow to my being and then love just spreads out from there.

    “We must lead men to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints.” First heard at a retreat – I clutched them to my being for more than just nice words – they were a part of the story of my life and my desires and dreams. “…to work more effectively for the salvation of souls and for their own sanctification.” Yes, knowing that Jesus has saved me but still there is room for more. My salvation does not just come on its own, sitting, waiting for the day that my spirit leaves my body. Frank suggests becoming saints so as to make others saints. Of course – that would be the natural progression of love. It becomes an ever growing circle where we live not only in the middle but also on the outer edges. There is a wondrous ‘oneness’ to all of this, where all separation wants to fall away.

    Again I am reminded of a small child who has been brought to a special room filled with wonderful toys and delights. She runs to the centre trying to take it all in, allowing herself to become joy-filled. She stops, runs back to the one who has brought her there, dragging them both into the centre, for such joy and gratitude is nothing if it is not shared.

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