Our love for the Church inspires us to fulfil our mission…
CC&RR, Constitution 6
One cannot think of St Eugene without thinking of the Church. He became a priest because he was deeply moved by her sorrowful state after the Revolution. He affirmed that he could not
sit back with arms folded, sighing softly to himself about all these evils, but not raising a finger to awaken even in the least degree people’s hardened hearts.
Letter to his mother, 4 April 1809, EO XIV, n. 50
He founded the Oblates for the very same reason:
The Church, that glorious inheritance purchased by the Saviour at the cost of all his blood has in our days been cruelly ravaged…
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.
His love for the Church, as Body of Christ, guided all his actions until his death – and it was his desire that all who followed him would have the same love. In his last pastoral letter as Bishop of Marseille, he summarized the two hinges of his life:
How is it possible to separate our love for Jesus Christ from that we owe to the Church? These two kinds of love merge into one: to love the Church is to love Jesus Christ and vice versa.
We love Jesus Christ in his Church because she is his immaculate spouse who came out of his opened side on the cross…
Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Marseille, 1860
“Eugene de Mazenod was a man passionately in love with Jesus Christ and unconditionally committed to the Church.” Pope Paul VI at the Mass of Beatification in 1975.