I AM YOUR FATHER AND HOW MUCH A FATHER!

You know them, I am your father and how much a father! So, I cannot be satisfied to be treated simply as a superior.

From the day that Eugene had founded the Oblates, he had had a sense of spiritual paternity. As he expresses this to the scholastics, with whom he had spent a very special few weeks in Billens, we see the spiritual aspect of this paternal love. It is not directed towards persons, but to God and the service of the Church.

If you could place an ear to the keyhole when I am talking about you, or read what I write about you, you would understand what you mean to me, but you do know it and it is in the presence of God that you repay me my love.
Your virtues, your devotion to God’s glory and to the service of the Church will be my glory and my consolation in the midst of the assembly of the saints.
As I wait for that, it brings a secret joy to my heart and I bless you and ask you for yet more prayers and for you to keep me ever in mind.
Goodbye again my dear children

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille and the students in Billens, 24 January 1831, EO VIII n 383

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One Response to I AM YOUR FATHER AND HOW MUCH A FATHER!

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Such a love! This is the love of ‘the’ Father. These words that Eugene is saying to the scholastics are not just some pious blessings that he has decided to give them, they are real and they touch me today.

    I have wondered about the depth and intensity of his love for everyone (always so great, so vast), even while asking this man could love so many, so deeply. Yet always I have believed him to be a father to these Oblates (then and today), to all of us in this Mazenodian Family, and always to me.

    I think for a moment of Jesus, his life and everything culminating in his journey from the Garden of Gethsemane, his trial, his walk with the cross to Calvary and then being hung on that cross and feeling like he had been abandoned. His humanity, his brokenness. I look at Eugene, his life and also his brokenness – it was this (along with so much more) that attracted me – that allowed me to be touched, that connected me to him. Such love that came from that.

    Eugene’s ability to love – wide open, without walls. I think of how I saw the place inside the cathedral there in Aix where he took down the small dividing wall which marked the separation between the Canons and the poor. Eugene never really tried to box in and contain love within some invisible boundaries. It was never ‘one-or-the-other’ but rather was ‘both-and’.

    Eugene speaks to us again today, he speaks to me. “Your virtues, your devotion to God’s glory and to the service of the Church will be my glory and my consolation in the midst of the assembly of the saints. As I wait for that, it brings a secret joy to my heart and I bless you and ask you for yet more prayers and for you to keep me ever in mind. …my dear children.”

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