PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS WITH SAINT EUGENE

One of the privileged moments of prayer for Eugene was to be able to unite himself with those he loved in the presence of God. In our Oblate tradition we have come to know this exercise as “oraison.” As a seminarian in Paris he wrote to his mother one Christmas morning describing how united he had been with her during Midnight Mass, despite the distance that separated them.

Dearest Mother, do you really think that I was not beside you last night? How could I fail, meditating as I was on the holy Mother of God, who had just been filled with consolation on giving the world its Saviour, and at the same time had to experience so vividly the poverty, weakness and misery to which she saw her Divine Master reduced for love of men, how could these tender sentiments fail to draw me close to you?
Indeed yes, darling mother, we spent the night together at the foot of the altar, which for me represented the crib in Bethlehem; together we offered our gifts to our Savior and asked him to come to birth in our hearts and strengthen us in all that is weak, etc.
You know my heart all too well, since it was formed from your own, so you will have a very clear understanding that it is as active and goes through the same feelings as your own.

Letter to his mother, 25 December 1809, EO XIV n 37

Who are the people I want to unite myself with before the crib in Bethlehem this year?

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One Response to PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS WITH SAINT EUGENE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am humbled this morning – here each word is an invitation to pause and sit with it, to taste and savour it.

    “One of the privileged moments of prayer…” Privileged – not simply a matter of my own will or something I do on my own but rather a ‘a special right’- a gift to ‘be’ in a most specific way.

    “You know my heart all too well, since it was formed from your own, so you will have a very clear understanding that it is as active and goes through the same feelings as your own.” Have I ever thought of my own mother in this way? Of another in my life? Of God, of Jesus? I think of the longing that I have been experiencing in a very real way the past four weeks. Have I put up walls and measured who and how much I will love?

    I think of my words written on Christmas cards that I sent to those I know to remind them of my love. Honest and good wishes with promises to ‘pray for’. Suddenly though I want more than that. I refuse to get caught up in asking why did I not think of this befor now – on my own. I am grateful that I have been led here today. There is a mental vista there before me of many that I want to unite myself with, be one in heart with before Jesus in the crib this year. Marry and blessed Christmas takes on a whole different depth. I will begin now, another step in my Advent journey. I am excited in the same way as a child who is waiting and preparing for Christmas and I am grateful for that.

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