GATHER CLOSELY AROUND THIS GOOD SAVIOUR WHO HAS MADE HIS HOME AMONGST YOU

Writing to the formation community in Switzerland, Eugene urges them to remember and constantly focus on the presence of the Savior among them – especially bearing in mind the profanations that were taking place in France against religious symbols and even the Eucharistic hosts.

… In heaven’s name, gather closely around this good Saviour who has made his home amongst you, redouble your love and your reverence for his divine person, press your lips again and again to the altar where he lies. Prostrate yourselves before him and pay him all the honour that is his due.
Give him tangible proof of your desire to make reparation for all the outrages he is receiving in France. It is not only images of him that are being profaned: his very body has in these days been trodden underfoot and devoured by wicked men in the church of St. Louis in Paris.
A shudder goes through me as I tell it. This is where the illusion of freedom has brought us.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 19 March 1831, EO VIII n 387

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One Response to GATHER CLOSELY AROUND THIS GOOD SAVIOUR WHO HAS MADE HIS HOME AMONGST YOU

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    For the past couple of weeks my heart has played with turmoil, the kind of turmoil that invites anger to move in alongside of hurt so as to feed each other; if left unchecked they could choke out the love and joy and awe that was planted there. I did not particularly like myself during that time, looking for a way to feel better by blaming another(s), trying to feel self-righteous. It affected my attitudes, my studies, how I reacted or responded to others – I had to decide if I wanted to allow or even chase after the hardening of my heart or if I wanted to find a way to let go of my own ill will towards a particular person(s). And as I write this I look and realise that I had to decide if I was going to choose the ‘illusion of freedom’ or if I was actually going to throw off those chains and opt for the real thing.

    Old wounds, my own brokenness – I decided the only thing that could/would help me was something sacramental, more specifically the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I could if I wanted go and ‘talk’ it all over with another, but I needed more than that – I needed, I wanted the sacrament. I needed ‘grace’.

    Yesterday I met and talked with my confessor (that sounds so personal but in truth it was as personal as it is communal in it’s effect). I was not judged, in fact quite the opposite – I left feeling loved, accepted, ‘part of’ something greater than myself and my hurt. I felt ‘lighter’ in spirit, freer.

    That first part of Eugene’s letter no longer sounds so dramatic, old-fashioned or unthinkable and it does not require a pogrom to be going on in our lives. We do it alone so that we can do it together. “…gather closely around this good Saviour who has made his home amongst you…”

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