Why enter into a time of retreat? Eugene’s zeal and desire to be “all for God” could not stop at a half-measure of becoming better. It was all or nothing for him: total conversion to God. Life was a process of continual conversion for him – and a time of retreat aimed at renewing his self-gift of oblation totally.

5. My starting point will be that it is a question this time of a retreat of conversion and not of perfection, i.e., my business is not to become better but to become good.

Retreat resolutions, October 1831, EO XV n 162

He was renewing the resolution he had made twenty years before, at the time of his ordination to the priesthood:

To please you, act for your glory, will be my daily task, the task of every moment of my life. I wish to live only for you, I wish to love you alone and all else in you and through you.

Notes made during the retreat in preparation for priestly ordination, December 1-21, E.O. XIV n.95

This is what we understand by “oblation” as a Mazenodian Family.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I remember about a year after my conversion experience of meeting Jesus, meeting God; I was talking with a friend who told me she just wanted to get to heaven. And my response to her was along the lines of “but we’ve already been promised that. I wanted much more – I wanted everything. I would not be content just standing inside the doors of heaven, not even with a front seat – I wanted it all. I wanted to be up there with God holding me, so to become one with him. Nothing less than everything would satisfy me. The image has changed over time, but I am still going for ‘everything’.

    There was and still is no sense of something or anything being ‘enough’. I am living for it all. My conversion has been ongoing, continuous – like a flowing river; solid and strong, with eddies and magnificent water falls, growing depths where only the surface can be seen; impossible to see only one drop at a time for each drop is a part of the whole. There is something never-ending about it. All for God.

    I think that might look different for everyone, in accordance with the uniqueness that God has created us to be. It doesn’t become a measurement and there is no end point, no point of being ‘good enough’ or ‘almost perfect’.

    As I sit here the thoughts and images come and go and I am able to look closely and honestly at where I have been, where I am going (with one foot placed in front of the other), where I am. Who I am and still becoming.

    I note that Eugene did not say that his business was to do better or to do good. No, it was about becoming – being. My oblation – everything seems to come from and with that.

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