HE SHOULD NOT GIVE HIMSELF UP TO IDLE DREAMS OF A FUTURE THAT WILL PERHAPS NEVER COME

The student house in Billens was made up of zealous young people with generous dreams. Some of these, however, were not quite practical, as Eugene commented to the superior, Fr Mille.

I urge you to deter Ricard from his plans of going overseas. That is out of the question for him; he should consider himself lucky that he is working ahead of time in the vineyard of the Father of the family. He should walk humbly before Him and not give himself up to idle dreams of a future that will perhaps never come.
It seems that Father Tempier’s words were wasted on you when he addressed you on the subject of the idle desires swarming inside Father Touche’s head.
Busy yourselves with your studies at Billens and let each one strive, with as much effort as possible, to acquire the virtues of his holy state. A man is being formed for every kind of ministry when it is obedience that assigns each one his duties.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 25 September 1831, EO VIII n 404

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One Response to HE SHOULD NOT GIVE HIMSELF UP TO IDLE DREAMS OF A FUTURE THAT WILL PERHAPS NEVER COME

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “A man is being formed for every kind of ministry when it is obedience that assigns each one of his duties.” There is a hidden gem in this. I think of some of the priests and brothers I have heard as they spoke of having ‘received and obedience’; never have they said that it was forced upon them, or that they were being punished with an obedience. It is instead being spoken of as being a gift that they have received, that behind this ‘obedience’ is God, speaking and working through another(s).

    Suddenly a though occurs that the gift is not so much in where we are being sent, or what we are being asked to do – but rather it is about how we receive the ‘obedience’ and what we do with it. If we receive it with anger or a sense of being punished; if we receive it with the idea that the person who is giving it to us is ‘wrong’ or simply on a power trip then we may well miss the gift and opportunity that it offers to us.

    All of a sudden the idea of why we ‘turn the other cheek’ becomes more easily understood. Yesterday in the Gospel we heard about the slaves who received the talents. Whether it be one or five talents – what do we do with them. If these talents are used like seeds where they can grow and give life for others – then we have ‘received’ that obedience, whereas if we take the one seed and hide it away in a vault, never to be shared or planted then we have not received it in the sense of a gift.

    It puts a whole new spin on how and why and who is behind our formation. I think of some of the hurdles I have had to overcome in my life – it is these which have helped to form me. It takes great courage and daring to receive an obedience; it takes immense trust – especially when it seems to ‘go against our personal grain’. I guess it all depends on how we look at it, how we live it out.

    What an immense grace it can be to receive an obedience.

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