ALL WHO HAVE EXERCISED THE SAME MINISTRY AS YOURSELF HAVE KNOWN THE SAME ANGUISH

Jean Baptiste Mille was 31 years old and had been ordained for 18 months – and here he was in Billens as superior of the scholasticate and novice master. Because of the political events in France, Eugene had had no choice but to entrust this responsibility on him. No wonder that he experiences anguish at the formation task that he must accomplish in the lives of those entrusted to him d=for such a brief time of formation.

Far from finding long the short period of time devoted to preparation, it must be confessed that it is not ample enough for the purpose of divesting oneself of what remains of the old man, of adorning one’s soul with the many virtues we lack and thus disposing ourselves to make to God an offering as little unworthy of him as possible.

Eugene gives him fatherly consolation and advice:

 So preach humility and distrust of self and inspire a great longing for perfection, cost what it may to our nature to achieve it. It is a work of patience and one all too often seasoned with sorrows that is imposed on you. That does not matter, you have obedience to facilitate a task that would be very burdensome if you were left to your own natural resources.
Overcome evil with good; never lose courage; all who have exercised the same ministry as yourself have known the same anguish.
Ask God to enlighten you, ponder carefully all that depends on you for success, and then entrust yourself with untroubled heart and without anxiety to divine providence which will not let those who rest their hope on it be abandoned.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille and to the Fathers and Brothers at Billens, 3 November 1831, EO VIII n 406

Beautiful words for all those who are entrusted with the development of the young: parents, teachers, formators, spiritual directors, pastors… “entrust yourself with untroubled heart and without anxiety to divine providence which will not let those who rest their hope on it be abandoned.”

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One Response to ALL WHO HAVE EXERCISED THE SAME MINISTRY AS YOURSELF HAVE KNOWN THE SAME ANGUISH

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    These words this morning comfort me, urge me to slow down and listen – what do Eugene’s words look like within me. Where am I going – where am I being led? I think of the desire and fire raging within me – what do I do with that for now.

    Although I have not been entrusted such as was Eugene or Fr. Mille I can still draw on what he says. I dared to go the Constitutions and Rules this morning. I have not found myself enflamed but rather there is something ‘rock-steady’ that I have read (the word foundation comes to mind). There is something profound and very real and I draw comfort from the message there as I do from the words above from Eugene. Humility, patience, obedience (why I went to the CC&RR), courage, enlighten, ponder and entrust [without anxiety] to God. My situation is not the same as Eugene’s nor Fr. Mille and yet still the words speak to me.

    I think for a moment of what it looks like when I do what I do. It is not about me so much as it is about God, it is about simply being there for and with the other. Forgetting myself in a way and sharing when I can. It might at times be about seeing what is wrong, or that could be done, done differently and stepping into that and becoming a part of it. I need to make sure that what I am doing is not for ‘myself’ but for others.

    A different hue this morning – it steadies me as I think of what I have found and read in Leflon. I will take this time to sit and ‘be’ with it. It does not stop the wanting the yearning but it allows me to look, listen and wait before taking the next step.

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