We will always be close to the people with whom we work, taking into account their values and aspirations.

CC&RR, Constitution 8

Our vocation is to be close to people, and we do this by loving them with the love of the Savior.

It is not to be a paternalistic closeness but a reflection of how Jesus Christ approaches us with arms open, ready to give and receive. We are close to the people because we are open to receive the love of God through them. Rule 8a is masterful in describing this attitude of closeness:

We will let our lives be enriched by the poor and the marginalized as we work with them, for they can make us hear in new ways the Gospel we proclaim. We must always be sensitive to the mentality of the people, drawing on the riches of their culture and religious traditions

They “make us hear in new ways the Gospel we proclaim” – they love us in new ways with the very love of the Savior that we love them with. What an incredible privilege and gift being “close to the people” is!

DeMazenod_200th_banner English

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”    Carl Jung

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am reminded of Eugene’s Lenten Homily – he spoke to the people where they were at. And I think of Fr. Albert Lacombe and his dealings with the Cree, the Metis and the Blackfeet peoples – he was special and close to them as they were to him. He learned their language, spoke to them in their own tongue. His heart held them close through the rest of his life.

    I am reminded once again of the Lacombe Province Mission Statement “…taking our place among the poor and the powerless, walking with those who, like us, hold within themselves tremendous beauty, strength and gifts as well as weaknesses, brokenness and limitations, that together we may help one another experience the love of God…”.

    Constitution 8 speaks to being with people where they are at and of moving together. It is not a case of one over another, one better than another. “He sent me to evangelize the poor, the poor are evangelized.” It is not just them, it is me – in fact it is through the other that I am evangelized, that I am able to move more deeply into and through love. What a recipe for life.

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