TAKING THE FIRST STEP EVEN WHEN WE DON’T SEE THE WHOLE STAIRCASE

Fr Jeancard had been preaching a parish mission, during which he had experienced health problems.

I was delighted to learn, my dear Fr. Jeancard, that your short apostolic journey was not detrimental to your health. I hope that it will have also been of great benefit to your soul. This should be the case regarding all we do dutifully if we know what is best for us.

Jeancard seemed to have been unhappy about having been changed to the community in Aix. For Eugene, doing the will of God was of paramount importance, despite personal likes and dislikes, and so he invited him to look at the bigger picture:

Our greatest dislikes would have no more effect on us than a dream, if we were quite determined not to hang on to them despite a thousand excuses likely to fill us with illusions which weigh nothing on the scale of religion – the same scale that will be held by an archangel on the Day of Judgement.
So let us perform well, and even willingly, all that the Rule or obedience prescribe to us. We are servants here below of God and of the Church.

Eugene, as his religious superior, had an idea of the bigger picture of all the Oblate ministry and where each missionary fitted into it. He saw himself as doing this on behalf of God the Father, whose steward he was for the Oblates.

The steward of the Father of the family cannot always employ us according to our tastes, he has a more pressing duty to fulfil which is that of service itself. What does it matter after all that we do this or that, provided that we act on behalf of God in the sphere which is indicated to us by our superiors.

Letter to Jacques Jeancard, 4 June 1830, EO VII n 346

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”   Martin Luther King, Jr.

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One Response to TAKING THE FIRST STEP EVEN WHEN WE DON’T SEE THE WHOLE STAIRCASE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I remember a few years ago when a new local superior was named – I did not know him like I knew the one before him – we didn’t yet have much of a relationship and he was very different from the man before him. I had sort of mapped out the route I decided that God was calling me to walk and how I should best walk it. The new man came and I did like him but he had some ideas that were pretty different from mine. He had ideas for the Associates and even some for me. I struggled – boy did I struggle. I kept telling myself that I as an Associate did not have to be ‘obedient’ to him (he had not asked me to be). What did he know. I do not know what Fr. Jeancard was thinking of back then in June of 1830 but I do know what I thought – how I railed at any change! But God gave me the grace and perhaps a little bit of wisdom to talk with this new superior, to get to know him and I put myself (secretly of course) under obedience because I thought this might be the only way I could do it. This superior, this wonderful man who I came to know a little bit in the next few years saw a much bigger picture than myself, was filled with the graces he needed to be a superior and I came to love him dearly. He had (and still does have) a special wisdom and he taught me much.

    Just as I had to take that first step even when I couldn’t see the whole staircase, I believe that so did he when he accepted to become the superior, as did our Provincial when he accepted to become our Provincial and even higher for it is only God who has the whole picture.

    It is Friday morning and I have been trying to decide if I follow the advice/directions from my doctor (because they are a bit inconvenient and might mean that I will continue to be forced to change what I can and cannot do for a longer period). My doctor who has a much better view of the bigger picture of what is happening with my body and who has been trained to know what to do with that picture. A very practical picture of putting my trust in another and ultimately in God. I guess I know what I must do.

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