Remember the context of these particular daily reflections: Eugene is meditating on the Oblate Constitutions and Rules each day during his annual retreat in 1831. This is the focus through which he looks at his life – and that of his religious missionary family that has “at heart our salvation.”

The Missionaries preach and guide others along the ways of salvation, but they are in danger of burning themselves out or of losing focus unless they use the Rule to maintain their single-mindedness. From the Latin word, “regula,” regularity means following the spirit and norms of the Rule.

Never forget that the Rule of Rules is the Gospel – and that the Constitutions and Rules of any religious congregation and its associates is nothing more than a particular reflection and application of the Gospel. Thus, what Eugene says about the Rule, anyone can apply the same principles to their reading of the Gospel.

Thus, if we have at heart our salvation, if we are unwilling to run the risk of being ourselves cast away after we have preached to others, so far from experiencing the slightest distaste to this regularity, which is the best preservative of virtue in our souls,

Healthy community life helps its members to live the “regularity” of the Gospel:

let us rather feel sorry that the duties laid on us by charity remove us so frequently, and for such long periods, from the community in which regular discipline reigns, and for a great part of our life deprive us, to our regret, of its wholesome influence.

Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Our Constitutions and Rules – based and built on the Gospel. Until recently I had never thought of that – indeed it had to be pointed out to me. I was drawn to them, parts of them and yet as I reflected and pondered on each one – they made sense – there was (and is) a connection there. That in itself such an immense gift. There has been within me a very particular joy to learn that they come from the Gospel – that there is a very distinctive tie-in to my Beloved who calls my name. A gift of the Holy Spirit – a ‘particular reflection and application of the Gospel’.

    And the community – in which ‘regular discipline reigns’ – my community of the entire Mazenodian Family and particularly of the Oblate Associates – without this community I become deprived, I lose my focus, it can become all about me – whether I have distanced myself from my family or I have become distanced – no matter which – I lose my focus. I cannot do anything on my own an I rely on the community that God has given to me.

    It is all tied together somehow – not just one thing or another – but all of it together – that regularity that Frank speaks of, the norm. We have at heart our salvation – yes. Do I believe I am saved – yeah I do. But it is not simply a one-time event that I take and hide deep within me. “Lord where would we go?” Like Peter, I cannot now just walk away saying ‘I get it’ and so that’s it. It grows and we go outward, always remembering that we need each other, we need to replenish – or we run the risk of losing it all.

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