THE SHAME OF HAVING IN ONE’S HANDS SO PERFECT A RULE, AND OF NOT HAVING GRASPED ITS MEANING!

The reflective reading of our Rules I have just made during this retreat has filled my soul with wonder, and has raised in my mind a number of disquieting thoughts that I have to put down on paper.
The shame of having in one’s hands so perfect a rule, and of not having grasped its meaning!

When Eugene and the first Missionaries, had written the Rule in 1818, he had wanted to capture in writing the experience that they were living in response to the call of their God-given charism. See http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=1285

Every time he re-read the Rule he touched something of that original experience of God – and therefore his wonder and awe at the power of the Rule to bring him into the presence of God.

Then a note of realism crept in – for some this Rule of Life was a closed book that was not as used as it should.

Are there not indeed some among us for whom this rule is a sealed book? I want to believe that there are none any longer, but it is enough that there were some for my reflection to stand and make it food for thought.

Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163

Source of life or a sealed book – our expression of the Gospel? And the Gospel itself for me – source of life or sealed book?

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One Response to THE SHAME OF HAVING IN ONE’S HANDS SO PERFECT A RULE, AND OF NOT HAVING GRASPED ITS MEANING!

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This morning so many words leaping off and out of the screen to greet and touch me, each of them an invitation to taste, chew and swallow so as to make them a part of myself. Food for thought as they become a small reflection in the midst of a fuller one. Words such as ‘experience’, ‘living in response to the call of their God-given charism’, wonder and awe, and ‘source of life or a sealed book.

    I look quickly around at the two small bookcases – two shelves each with books that I love, that I cherish but only some that I open often.

    I think of my new course that began last week. It was full – incredibly rich as we walked through some of Paul’s letters and then in the following days as we dove into some Vatican II documents – the Church in all her finery (along with some of the rags she continues to grasp) – oh a little – no a lot like me! Yet she holds permanent residence in my being. I think of how I began to look at “charism” and the honesty that this course is demands of me (similar to the honesty that Eugene demanded of himself during his retreat).

    I look around again at my books – how many of them are sealed?. Do I allow them to take up space so there is no room for anything new? I think of my reflections in the past week as I discovered the space in my heart – at the sealed books which are seriously locked and fortified – some of them being like rags in tatters. I need to relook and let go of some; while with others I need to throw away the locks and fortifications that seal them. The richness of life that they offer, I need only to open them and allow them to live and breathe within me.

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