Confronted on a daily basis with human suffering, I am invited to see it through the eyes of the Crucified Savior.

I leave you to think of the state in which we have been and all that I have suffered particularly. My body must be of iron to resist such violent and continuous emotions of the soul. I recommend that you pray hard to God that he will preserve this dear patient; offer for this intention, to the Lord, the work that you are doing at this moment of his glory. You are on the field of battle and I am at the foot of the cross on which our poor brother is nailed.

Marius Suzanne was dying in the Marseille community house, attached to the church which he had built at the Calvaire. They had just celebrated the feast of the Presentation of Mary in that church, preceded by an octave of prayer.

Never was an octave more brilliant, better followed, more edifying; they sang in the church and I swallowed my tears at the head of the bed of my friend. I administered to him holy viaticum on the very day of the Presentation; what a contrast! The church, splendidly decorated while we come almost stealthily to take the Lord from his tabernacle to carry him to this good servant, to whom we owe the building of this holy building and all the good that never ceases to be done in it.

Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 26 November 1828, EO VII n 316

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“Easter is always the answer to ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!’ “    Madeleine L’Engle

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    A funny topic for us to work through this morning – death, dying, grief. Here we are in Advent – preparing, waiting for new life, for that which is to come.

    Franks invitation this morning to see and experience as we are confronted daily with human suffering, “to see it through the eyes of the Crucified Savior”. We see on the television, in the news, on social media immense and extreme suffering of so many – at home and around the world. As I sit here the image of broken families in Mosul and Allepo come to mind. They are left with nowhere to hide, no escape and most surely they must feel abandoned, by the rest of the world and perhaps too by God. It might be easier for us here to suggest bombing those aggressors ‘over there’, those who are directly responsible for such suffering; feelings of anger and hatred and judgement of some could help to escape what is happening. Harder though to stand where we are at the foot of the cross with those who most surely feel abandoned. I think of our Lady, the mother of Jesus – standing at the foot of the cross with her son dying. Not railing out at any who were responsible for nailing Jesus to the cross, simply standing there heart-broken, suffering that her son should die so young, in such a terrible way.

    All through my reflection this morning I have found myself singing “O come Lord Jesus, come; O come Lord Jesus come.”

    I am thinking of the new ministry that I have been invited to take part in after Christmas, a ministry of listening presence. Most surely only possible if I can see through the eyes of the Crucified Saviour. Loving presence. The daily, the ordinary, all somehow transformed by the cross, on the cross, through the eyes of the crucified Saviour.

    I think for a moment of the ministry I will take part in today. I am a member of the Funeral Ministry at our church and help when I can. Today I will go to stand with the family of one who has died, to be with them, a presence of hope and safety as they grieve, to look at them through the eyes of our crucified saviour and love.

    Life and death together. O come Lord Jesus, come. O come Lord Jesus, come.

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Dear Frank: Thank you for your continue words of inspiration to ponder on.
    As I look back at our past, I sometimes can see traits that continue to plague us. And this is one of them, that often we don’t take care of ourselves. Some will work and rarely take any time off. It does catch up and bits us in time/every time. This may be some of the “Original Oblate Sins” along with clericalism/diocesism that forgets we are first religious men, a company of brothers.
    Again thank you and Happy Feast Day to All in the de Mazenodian Family

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