We must be filled with our spirit and live only by it…
Just as we have in a Society a common dress, common Rules, so must there be a common spirit which gives life to this particular body.

Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 29 July 1830, EO VII n 350

Eugene was constantly insistent on fidelity to our God-given spirit.

First companion of mine, you have from the first day we came together grasped the spirit which must animate us and which we must communicate to others; you have not deviated in the slightest from the path we resolved to follow; everyone knows this in the Society and they count on you as they count on myself.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 August 1822, EO VI n 86

See http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=1803

This spirit is the particular Gospel inspiration that God gave to Eugene “one Good Friday,” and which became the heart and dynamism of every aspect of his life and ours. It is the spirit expressed in and taught to us by our Rule of Life:

The Constitutions and Rules set out a privileged means for each Oblate to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. They are inspired by the charism lived by the Founder and his first companions; also, they have received the approval of the Church. Thus, they allow each Oblate to evaluate the quality of his response to his vocation and to become a saint.

CC&RR, Constitution 163


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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    So many thoughts passing before me this morning on what it means to be filled with a particular spirit and to live only by it.

    The first time I sobered up, was just that, the first time, but the second time, July 14, 1979 my experience was to last me until this moment, becoming a living way of being, giving me a particular spirit, which had begun though 3 months earlier. A very wise man back then told me that AA and living it would forever ruin my drinking and drugging career.

    I think of what Eugene wrote in his 1814 Retreat Notes: “…I looked for happiness outside of God, and outside of him found only affliction and misfortune.”

    I believe that when we are given a particular spirit, a particular gift, charism from God that we will only be happy and live fully when we are true to that spirit. And if that spirit includes being a part of something quite particular, like a community, a family, and we turn or move away from that – then we become unhappy in ourselves. I know that for myself that when I am not true to being where God has called me to be that I become unhappy and so find fault with those around me, with what I might not have or cannot do. I push the blame outward to try and make myself feel better – but it is quite empty. My only hope is let go of all of that, to come back to God. To live by the spirit which God himself has given to me, which has been expressed as an invitation from Eugene.

    Constitution 163 – there again are the words, the expressions that fill me. “…they allow each Oblate (and I dare to say each Oblate Associate and member of the Mazenodian Family) to evaluate the quality of his response to his vocation and to become a saint.” And doesn’t that exactly describe where I know my real joy and love to be. Isn’t that exactly what I have wanted to do!

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