Eugene concludes his retreat by saying that all that is written in the Rule, all that he has meditated on, is there to “maintain the spirit of our vocation.” In other words, whatever is our Rule of Life, its purpose is to keep us focused on our baptismal call to discipleship as we express it in our relationship with God, with one another and with self in the light of the Gospel.

These things are all precious. They are eminently suited to keep us in the spirit of our vocation, to have us acquire new virtues and the most abundant merits; that is why the Rule insists that the missionary especially one who has rendered the most striking services to the Church, procured the most glory for God and saved the greatest number of souls in the exercise of the holy missions, hasten joyfully into the bosom of our communities there to make himself forgetful of people and renew himself by the practice of obedience and humility and all the hidden virtues, in the spirit of his vocation and the fervour of religious perfection, without neglecting his other duties:

Then Eugene quotes directly from the Rule about the necessity for personal renewal using several means:

When the missionaries are not on a mission, they will return with joy to the holy solitude of their own house, so that they may employ their time to renew the spirit of their vocation by meditation on the divine law and the study of Sacred Scripture, the fathers of the Church, dogmatic and moral theology, and the other branches of ecclesiastical science. Moreover, they will be earnest in their efforts to prepare new material for their next missions.”
… Living like this one is sure of pleasing God and then there is no obstacle to one approaching the Saviour, uniting oneself with him by the Sacrament of his love in the daily offering of the holy Sacrifice.

Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163

We conclude this set of reflections on Eugene’s retreat as we begin Holy Week – where he will accompany us through our celebration of the Paschal mystery. May this Holy Week be an opportunity to “return with joy to the holy solitude” of our own hearts so as to renew ourselves “in the spirit of our vocation” as Christian disciples.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “… our Rule of Life, its purpose is to keep us focused on our baptismal call to discipleship as we express it in our relationship with God, with one another and with self in the light of the Gospel.

    My baptismal call to discipleship – what does that look like? Why am I so afraid to look at it? I look at the august company that I keep – it does not look the same as theirs – I must not compare or measure. Perhaps if I look in the light of the Gospel, through the eyes of Jesus, reflected in the light of those around me, in the deepest part of myself where there is light.

    Love – the one word that comes to me – Love. Nothing big or grandiose, not something that will raise me up among others or will look good on a resume. I remember again, one of the first prayers that came to me after I met You: “make me little, make me hidden, make me a light to my neighbour’s feet.” Where did that come from? What kind of discipleship is that? This is what I would want to share with others?

    The every-day, the ordinary. That too perhaps is discipleship. St. Eugene pray for me. I think of how you had to stop going out to preach missions – your ‘yes’, your oblation led to the very Constitutions and Rules (and notice how I no longer cringe as I say those words). The Constitutions and Rules, the Rule of Life that you gave to your family – they do shed light on the journey, they point the way for me.

    Love – it takes immense love to live this way, not the way I chose, but that which has been chosen for me. Finding it in Holy Week – yes. I cannot reason it, only follow where I seem to be led. The invitation to “return with joy to the holy solitude of my own heart so as to renew myself in the spirit of my vocation as a Christian disciples.” Sounds so grand, so perfect. I stumble simply thinking of it. Lord have mercy.

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