OUR FOUNDING VISION TODAY: ALLOW THE WORD OF GOD TO CONVERT AND TRANSFORM US

Our mission puts us on constant call to respond to the most urgent needs of the Church through various forms of witness and ministry, but especially through proclaiming the Word of God which finds its fulfilment in the celebration of the sacraments and in service to others.

CC&RR, Constitution 7

The preaching of parish missions, for which we were originally founded, was all about preaching the Word of God and inviting people to respond by celebrating the sacraments. The goal of the Missionaries was to have every person celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. It was an invitation to a prolonged intimate encounter with the Savior acting through the priest as spiritual guide and instrument of forgiveness and new life. The confessional was to be the place of transparent encounter between a person in their brokenness and the healing mercy of God. One of Eugene’s earliest sermons gives this message:

In the same way the preacher of the Gospel, is saddened at the sight of sinners sinking in the dreadful quagmire of their evil deeds, bogged down with no desire of getting out. They futilely try all that their gentle charity inspires them to do to have them return onto the way.
Finally seeing their obstinate determination to be lost, the preachers make the most frightening truths re-echo in their ears. They arm themselves with the whip of the holy Word, and increase their blows until at last with a huge effort these sinners get out of the mud and free themselves.
Then it is with open arms that the ministers of Jesus Christ press them close to their hearts and take delight in pouring ointment on all their wounds to ease them.

Instruction at the Madeleine, preached in Provencal, on the fourth Sunday of Lent 1813, EO XV n 115.

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“To get a man soundly saved it is not enough to put on him a pair of new trousers, to give him regular work, or even to give him a university education. These things are all outside a man, and if the inside remains unchanged you have wasted your labor. You must in some way or other graft upon the man’s nature a new nature, which has in it the element of the Divine.”  William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

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One Response to OUR FOUNDING VISION TODAY: ALLOW THE WORD OF GOD TO CONVERT AND TRANSFORM US

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have heard Eugene’s Lenten homily that he preached at the Church of the Madeleine spoken aloud. Each time it is powerful and it touches me deeply, bringing me to tears. I want to say that I have not noticed the whip blows of the holy Word but even as I have that thought I remember all of the words Eugene spoke – how he moved from being armed with the ‘whip of the holy Word’ into embracing the person, holding them in a tenderness that is God healing them. What an immense gift this sacrament is for us. Frank’s translation (if I may use that word) of Eugene’s instruction brings it into today’s world. “It was an invitation to a prolonged intimate encounter with the Savior acting through the priest as spiritual guide and instrument of forgiveness and new life. The confessional was to be the place of transparent encounter between a person in their brokenness and the healing mercy of God.” These words speak to me of my own experiences of Reconciliation. The confessional is usually a room with a couple of chairs and there is no screen between myself and the priest. It is no longer anonymous and there is a measure of humility and trust that accompanies me with this sacrament. Sometimes the confessional can be two chairs in the kitchen, two friends sharing and listening, holding each other in love – God is there too.

    The Word of God converting and transforming us. Not a one-time event but rather over and over again. This is one more example of “the Word of God which finds its fulfilment in the celebration of the sacraments and in service to others.”

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