As we continue to spend time with Eugene’s personal meditations on the Constitutions and Rules, we glean glimpses of his spirituality and the inspirations that helped him to become a saint. He shares:

The second chapter and the third chapter contain principles that must be meditated. It is only by this means that we will arrive at understanding what an Oblate of Mary must be; let us add them to what we extracted from the first part and the preface of the Rule. The whole life of the members of our Society ought to be a life of continual recollection (Art. 1, Regarding Silence, etc.).
To attain this, they will first of all make every effort to walk always in the presence of God, and frequently try to utter short but fervent ejaculatory prayers. (Art. 2, ibid.) …

Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163

Eugene and Jesus shared a deep bond of friendship – and a friend always wants to be in the presence of a loved one. His days are filled with moments of recollection – of short bursts of prayer and expressions of love.

St Therese of Lisieux is reported to have said that if she was not aware f the presence of Jesus at least every three minutes, she was not happy. Dorothy Day, looking at the example of Therese, said” “It was her destiny to show the world of today that holiness is accessible to all, that all are called, and that it is a little way, a simple way, for all to follow.” Eugene had learnt the “little way and wants us to do the same.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    ‘they will make every effort to walk always in the presence of God’ – daunting, seducing, invitational… Not to stop living and ignore the world, to look down and inward only upon one’s self.

    No – it is to look out and see all that God has set before us as we walk together. To look up and find our Beloved in the outline of a tree’s bare branches – starkly set against the dawn.

    To look into the eyes of a dear friend who is battling cancer and recognize the immense and utter beauty of that friend, to be humbled by their beauty. To thank God for that one particular life being a part of yours in the most ordinary of ways and to utter the name of the Beloved on your breath.

    To be immersed in studies or work, to be learning, playing, resting or competing… to stop for a moment to think of God, breathe again God’s name so as to be immersed within him.

    Moments with a lover. Why is it so attractive and yet not so easy to do. It takes practice, every minute, every hour, every day. Yesterday as I read, listened, wrote and reflected on the content of my courses, I idly counted the weeks that I had spent on one course and how many more there were to go. I whispered to my Beloved that this was like being on a never-ending retreat, being so immersed as I have been in God that I find him where ever I look or step, with every word I write and in the moments that I rest. So very ordinary, little and normal. So incredibly magnificent and extraordinary.

    I think of Jesus, appearing to Mary Magdalene in the garden. She came to that garden, to be at the tomb of her beloved. Buried in that garden, a place for lovers. Why would they bury him there I ask myself, thinking of his brutal and violent death on the cross. There in the garden appearing to Mary.

    Why did I think of this? Most certainly, Mary was walking in the presence of God – but I did not expect this. I do think though that I want to carry it with me, to reflect, to ‘ruminate’ on it on my Lenten journey, my steps towards Easter.

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