NOTHING COULD BE MORE LEGITIMATE THAN TO MAKE ONE’S DESIRES KNOWN, HOWEVER …

The 24 year-old Jean Antoine Bernard was completing his Oblate formation in Billens and had been ordained to the priesthood 5 months earlier. It seems as if he had been asked to do a particular ministry and had expressed his reservations to his local superior in its regard. The local superior, Fr Mille, was young and inexperienced himself and it appears that he did not know how to handle someone who did not give “blind obedience.” Eugene responded:

I don’t find Father Bernard’s observations out of place if they go no further than you indicate in your letter. Nothing could be more legitimate than to make one’s desires known, but there is also the aspect that it is proper to put one’s confidence in the wisdom and insight that the good God gives to superiors.
It would be a grave disorder to cherish so exclusive a love for one kind of ministry that one could not be placed elsewhere, even for a short period, without getting upset about it.

To Jean Baptiste Mille, 30 May 1832, EO VIII n 423

Eugene brings up the question of discernment of the will of God in ministry: the importance of the interplay between one’s personal desires and the over-all vision of the situation which the one responsible for the community has. Discernment does not mean blind obedience – it means listening together to all possibilities in the light of the Word of God.

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One Response to NOTHING COULD BE MORE LEGITIMATE THAN TO MAKE ONE’S DESIRES KNOWN, HOWEVER …

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Every day I try to spend an hour reviewing and reflecting on a particular aspect from one of the courses I just finished, a small review because I want to ensure that it becomes and is a living part of me and my life. Yesterday I found myself focusing on “mission” – there it was – right in front of me and I was reminded that it was not the same as ministry.

    My studies as I am learning are a part of an ongoing process of discernment – I do not necessarily know what the end of this process will look like – I have said yes to God, to the Church and to Eugene’s invitation to walk a specific path – that will only become clearer as I continue on my journey – with others and listening as God speaks to me through others.

    If I am going to listen ‘together’ to all the possibilities in the light of the Word of God – I am going to have to take off the ‘headphones’ that I wear so that I can lose myself in the words and music that ‘makes me feel good’. The word ‘oblation’ comes to mind.

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