Eugene concluded his retreat by meditating on the symbols he would receive at his consecration.

This cross, this crozier is given me as the sign of spiritual power for me to chase out vice with a severity tempered with gentleness, to judge with equity, rousing this man’s virtues and reprimanding that one s trespasses.
This ring is placed on my finger as the seal of the faith I must profess and the fidelity I must observe towards the Church, Jesus Christ’s holy Spouse.
This book of the holy Gospels is confided to me so that in conformity with my vocation or rather with the mission given me, I go out and preach the good news of salvation to the people with whom I am charged.
This mitre is placed on my head as a helmet of salvation, so that with my face adorned with this ornament, and my head armed with the power of the two Testaments, I may become terrible and formidable in the eyes of the adversaries of truth, and that by the help of grace I may always give them battle with both strength and success.
Lastly my hands are clothed with these gloves, image of the purity of the new man who has come down from heaven that the gifts, oblations and sacrifices which will be offered by me, may find favour and acceptance with God and that I may draw down on myself and the Church the most abundant blessings through the virtues of Jesus Christ Our Lord who, having taken the form of sin, offered himself for us to his heavenly Father.
How can I have got to the end of these lines, without the pen dropping from my fingers a thousand times. My God, who could everattain just the virtues one ought to possess to respond worthily to the Church’s designs?

Retreat before being consecrated bishop, 7-14 October 1832, EO XV n 166

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of Jesus – what he wore – quite unremarkable really. Jesus, our crucified Saviour – born in a manger, died on the cross and was resurrected. No great trappings – it was all in who he was/is. And his symbol – the Cross.

    I am reminded for a moment of the Constitution 64. I stop to read it aloud “The Oblate habit is the same as the clerical dress of the diocese in which we live. When we wear a cassock, our only distinctive sign is the Oblate cross.” It is a like a light has been turned on – ‘when we wear a cassock’. This speaks to me of both Jesus – ordinary, not dressed to stand out from the crowd – it was his ‘being’ that was the symbol somehow – his heart, his life of oblation, of love – it was this that stood out. And I think of Eugene and his spirit, of the many that have shared in that spirit and while it is true they wear at times the small Oblate cross – they are known and recognized by ‘who they are’ and how they live – by their beings. And all the rest there is a richness in the symbolism given by Eugene, but it is of another time.

    And myself – I wear a small Oblate cross – more of a reminder than a symbol, a touchstone of who I am at my deepest and truest point – I don’t really think of it as a symbol though. I seemed to wait most of my life to receive it – a most particular cross and once I put it on it became and remains a part of me and who I am. But of me – I am very ordinary and so for another to find within me a symbol.

    Let the Lord find me pleasing – damn that sounds so ‘pious’ but there is a truth to it. I don’t know what others see or recognize within me. I am reminded of Margaret Halaska’s poem and God’s words of “I like what I see.” Yeah so let the Lord find me pleasing and that might be the symbol that I wear.

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