THE BLESSING OF FRIENDSHIP

Towards the end of his retreat the future bishop, Eugene, wrote of his state of spirit to Fr. Tempier, his companion, spiritual director and admonitor.

He debates with himself whether it would be a distraction to write this letter during his retreat, instead of praying:

My dear friend, I continued to be undecided for some time whether I ought to allow myself to interrupt my retreat to write to you. I have come down on the side of doing so by applying the method I use which you are familiar with, that it is good to mortify oneself but better still not to impose sacrifices or privations on others that they have not asked you for. I know with what anxiety you must be waiting for my news; it would be cruel to leave you in that state. So I believe I am making the right decision in spending some free moments of my retreat to converse with you.

Because their relationship was based on their mutual self-giving to God and to their joint mission as disciples, everything that they shared was in this light.

Besides, what we have to say to one another could not be a distraction. It is not that I wish to enter into the details of my spiritual exercises, we are too far apart and there is too little space in a letter to broach such a topic.
It is enough for you to know that God in his goodness is helping me as usual…

Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 October 1832, EO VIII n 436

What a gift this level of friendship is! Eugene had written ten years earlier:

First companion of mine, you have from the first day we came together grasped the spirit which must animate us and which we must communicate to others; you have not deviated in the slightest from the path we resolved to follow; everyone knows this in the Society and they count on you as they count on myself.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 August 1822, EO VI n 86

That close relationship focused on God lasted for 45 years until Eugene’s death. What a blessing!

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One Response to THE BLESSING OF FRIENDSHIP

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Monday – the beginning of a new day, a new week, the canvas of life is empty and waiting for You who is the artist of all of life, to pick up your brush. And in these timeless moments of waiting there is always the delightful excitement of what is to come from your brush strokes even though you know already what the canvas will become. Here I am Lord, and in these waiting moments which are not empty your eyes capture mine, the dance slows to simply being…

    My day begins, not knowing what is to come, knowing only that as I enter into this space and allow Eugene’s words to fill me that God ensures that I am given all that I will need for the day ahead. Strangely I am not alone as I am presented with a focus. “It is enough for you to know that God in his goodness is helping me as usual…”

    “Because their relationship was based on their mutual self-giving to God and to their joint mission as disciples, everything that they shared was in this light.” A clue to what it means to live and be as one – in and with and through God. Community, friendship through shared bonds, a part of a much greater whole.

    Yesterday I asked myself how I would continue on when I do not always see the end picture, when I don’t know what the completed canvas of my life will look like. Small ordinary steps; one step at a time, one moment at a time – that is how I begin my day.

    Like the individual strands of hair on a brush held together by bonds of love as they are drenched in love, the master begins to caress the canvas with colour…

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