Conversion is a daily task that helps us to re-focus on our priorities. What means was Eugene to use to achieve the desired conversion? The practical Eugene did not do this in his head – it was by examining the quality of his actions, of the way in which he put his spirituality into practice in everyday life.

  1. I am feeling somewhat vague about it, but I will achieve conviction by challenging my way of carrying out my duties.
  2. I will subject them all to a close scrutiny, first those of a priest, then those of a religious. In examining the former I will look at myself in my role as vicar general, and while delving deeper into the latter I will dwell especially on myself in that of superior.

“By their fruits you shall know them” – thus the true depth of conversion could only be measured by the way in which he shared the fruits through his ministry and responsibilities. During his retreat he would use two practical means of evaluation:

  1. The Pontifical on the one hand and the Rule Book on the other will provide me with material.

Retreat resolutions, October 1831, EO XV n 162

The “Pontifical” was the book of ceremonies and duties that he had to fulfil as Vicar General to his uncle, Bishop Fortuné. The Oblate Rule was the code that he had to live by and uphold in the Congregation.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How do I challenge my way of carrying out my duties? What are those things that I must do? As a person? As an Oblate Associate? As a member of the Mazenodian Family? As a member of my parish community? As a member of my Church? As a volunteer? As a student? As a sister, a sibling?
    My ongoing conversion is all about my daily life. It can’t just be in my head for I am full of distractions, and can play games, lie to myself, turn away in fear or struggle. I cannot do it on my own. I need to be looking upwards, outwards. (That is where I will ‘find’ myself – in the eyes of my Beloved, in the eyes of those I am with – loving, struggling, leaning on at times). I will find it in the scriptures and in the sacraments; in moments of surrender and moments of consolation. I am challenged by and with my studies and with those I volunteer to be with; by myself and in my daily prayers and moments of reflections. I am challenged here each morning when I allow Eugene to speak to me, to share his spirit with me. I am challenged when I look at and study and reflect on the Constitutions and Rules – not my own but I ‘borrow’ them and find ways to make them mine.
    That all sounds so good, so long and so detailed. I never do this perfectly or even whole-heartedly for I will get rushed, tired and wanting something tangible.
    I think of ongoing conversion and think of the seashore. The waves come in bringing with them whatever is within their waters, life of some sort; pushing forward and leaving it on the shores. And the waves recede, taking with them other bits of life and objects (come of which they may have just brought up). It is all a part of the same and yet each time the waves come in they bring new life, new and changed grains of sand that have been washed and cleaned so as to sparkle and shine in the sunlight. The waves can be wild and they can be calm.
    Look Lord at what you have started and given life to. Look Eugene at what you have lived and shared, the fruits of your life and spirit. Your example and invitation, your experience shared and expressed in that beautiful Rule of Life. The struggle and the joy – both a part of the other. I am grateful.

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