Eugene’s retreat on the Rule leads him to reflect on the observance of the Rule itself.
Take good note of the N.B. of paragraph 1 from ch. 2. It certainly does not say: if anyone finds these Rules too hard, they will be dispensed, they will be tempered to their weakness. Not at all!
The Rule insists, explains its apparent rigor, gives peremptory reasons as motivations, urges the law, for in reality there can be no accommodation on a point of duty: Were anyone, says the Rule, were anyone tempted to regard these and the following rules as too severe for human weakness, we beseech him to consider:
1. that our ministry will be forever fruitless, unless we fervently strive for our own spiritual advancement.
2, that we shall never attain the perfection to which we are called, except by means of that regularity, which has been pronounced indispensable by all the fathers of the spiritual life, and especially by the holy founders of religious orders.
3, since the missions and the spiritual exercises that follow them force us to spend three-fourths of the year in the world where we occupy ourselves principally and almost exclusively with the conversion of sinners, we risk the danger of forgetting our own needs if we do not return to the rule of strict discipline-at least in the brief intervals of this perilous ministry.
Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163
The Constitutions and Rules are like the anchor connected to a boat by a chain or a rope. The boat can float and sail, but must always be restrained by the anchor when it is at rest. The Rule could be compared to that chain or rope linking the two. Jesus Christ is our anchor, what is the rope or chain that keeps the boat of our lives connected with him, the Anchor?
For us Oblates, our Constitutions and Rules fulfil that function – and for you?