THE DESIRE TO BE THE FIRST TO HAVE THE HAPPINESS OF BRINGING THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL TO THESE POOR PEOPLE

The Oblate Missionaries themselves eagerly sought the “signal favor of going overseas and being the first of our Fathers to have the happiness of bringing the light of the Gospel to these poor people.” Even Tempier volunteered to be one of the vanguard. (Leflon 2, p. 332). The scholastic brother Ricard had written to Eugene:

“…on learning of the capture of Algiers you could not restrain your tears; as for me, I assure you that since hearing these happy tidings I rest no more …. Right at the beginning of this war, you showed very clearly that if it were possible, you would establish a mission in these infidel parts; a surprising success has just crowned the efforts of our troops and not doubting to see your plans soon realized, I have not been able to await your return in order to solicit the great favor of crossing the sea …” (Letter of Pascal Ricard to Eugene, July 1830, in Rey I, p. 486).

Eugene responded through Fr Tempier:

I beg you to say to Brother Ricard that his letter gave me the greatest pleasure; let him be at peace while awaiting God’s good time. The Lord will manifest his will to us when it pleases him, we will try to aid his plans but I am alarmed at the smallness of our numbers when considering a colony.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 July 1830, EO VII n 348

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One Response to THE DESIRE TO BE THE FIRST TO HAVE THE HAPPINESS OF BRINGING THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL TO THESE POOR PEOPLE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I began this morning by looking at the phrase “the desire to be the first…” simply that. Often my passion propels me forward. I think of the story of Peter in the boat with the Lord calling to him. Peter did not stop to ponder if there was another who wanted to run to the Lord before going himself – his love was such that he simply got out of the boat and ran across the waters in response to hearing God’s voice.

    “ to have the happiness of bringing the light of the Gospel to these poor people.” I think first of all the Oblates who came to Canada to live and die here so that they could bring the light of the Gospel to this land. Which they most certainly did, and was it an honour to be among the first – I suppose so but when I think of the struggles and trials and the life they led; and when I think of how they did not give up – Vital Grandin who had to return to France for medical help that he could not receive at that time in Canada and then returned to life here. And even he worried about the small numbers and how more men were needed. He too had to wait to see what would be God’s will.

    I sit at a cross road in my own life this morning. My passion and life to share with my fellow Associates (and really anyone else who might be interested) in learning more deeply, living more deeply the charism, the gift of St. Eugene’s spirit. I have spent the night trying to figure out if I can afford to go forward – can I afford not to? So often Eugene’s life and writings inspire and lead me. His words again seem to point the way for me: “The Lord will manifest his will to us when it pleases him…” I will offer my name and share my desire just as did Pascal Ricard and Henri Tempier and wait to see.

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