LIVING HOLY WEEK WITH SAINT EUGENE: HOLY THURSDAY AS AN INVITATION TO RENEW OUR “YES” TO GOD

 

Less than three months after Eugene and his first companions had come to live in community, two of them felt the need to make a more definitive consecration of themselves to God. Eugene recalled:

Briefly put. Father Tempier and I felt that we should not delay any longer, and on Holy Thursday (April 11, 1816), when both of us had taken our place under the structure of the beautiful repository we had erected over the main altar of the Mission church, in the night of that holy day, we pronounced our vows with an indescribable joy. We enjoyed our happiness throughout this beautiful night, in the presence of Our Lord, at the foot of the magnificent throne where we had placed Him for the Mass of the Pre-sanctified the following day.

Rambert I, p. 187

Eugene and Henri Tempier, being like –minded on the necessity for a formal commitment to God and to each other for the sake of mission, made private vows. Eugene does not tell us the precise content of these vows but it seems, from the context and from later events, that they were focused on obedience to God and to each other in the pursuit of living everyday life in communion with God.

Eugene’s description of the context is important. It is Holy Thursday and the time of prayer at the “Altar of Repose” (where the Eucharist is kept for distribution at the Good Friday service, which was known as the “Mass of the Pre-sanctified” at that time). This time of reflection recalled the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane at prayer while struggling to live the events taking place in full communion with the Father at that moment. The “not what I want, but what you want” (Mark 14:36) of Jesus to the Father became the commitment to the “not what I want, but what you want” of Eugene and Henri Tempier to the Father – and consequently the key to understanding the meaning of oblation.

During this Holy Week, may each of us be able to say in a deeper way: “not what I want, but what You want.”

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2 Responses to LIVING HOLY WEEK WITH SAINT EUGENE: HOLY THURSDAY AS AN INVITATION TO RENEW OUR “YES” TO GOD

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I believe that it was today, April 11th in 2016 that Eugene and Henri Tempier made their private vows, “focussed on obedience to God and to each other in the pursuit of living everyday life in communion with God.” Relationship. That they made this obedience not only to God but to each other – it could not be any other way. Community. And it is important that they spoke it a loud. Commitment. Nothing changes with commitment and yet everything seems to change. Oblation.

    I remember very early on in my sobriety a wise woman telling me that as I adopted and lived each of the 12 Steps I would be forever changed and that my drinking career would be forever ruined. Holy Thursday for me has changed – it will never be as it was before. I have sat here today for close to an hour, reading these words and reflecting on them – not as in an exercise but rather with a wonderful freedom. I have experienced awe and wonder, tears and joy, understanding and gratitude. Once again I feel as if I am being led on a retreat. “…not what I want, but what You want” Lord. This will not just ‘get me through the coming days and their busyness that allows others to enter into a deeper way of being, it will carry me so that there is a depth that is only now being discovered – I can, I will experience ‘oblation’ in a deeper, perhaps fuller sense. To be so loved – my only response is to love in the same way as I am loved. And so I will enter into Holy Thursday as I am called and make it a way to renew my own yes to God.

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