200 YEARS AGO: A NEVER-ENDING SERMON

Rey recounts an anecdote concerning Eugene’s enthusiastic preaching and the not-so-enthusiastic response of the local pastor of St Laurent during the time that he was writing the Rule.

During the three Sundays that he passed at St. Laurent, Father de Mazenod took the responsibility to preach the sermon in Provençal at the parish church and to explain the Creed. On the last Sunday he wanted to complete the set of instructions and so he prolonged his sermon beyond the usual time. It was the day in which the Mass was sung. However the pastor, usually an excellent man of great virtue, became impatient at this length for which he did not understand the reason.

He lifted up his cassock and looked at his watch and began to mutter loudly against this talk that was never-ending. Eventually he could contain himself no longer and he cried out to the preacher:

“But, sir, finish, or else we will still be here at midday”

“Just one more moment, monsieur the pastor”, he responded.”

But after a while this moment became too long for the pastor. He suddenly got up from his chair and went to the center of the altar and with a resounding voice intoned: “Credo in unum Deum.”

The preacher was forced to leave the pulpit immediately unable to say a further word, but with a smile on his face.

Rey I, footnote on p. 230

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One Response to 200 YEARS AGO: A NEVER-ENDING SERMON

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I idly wonder if it was the last time that Eugene was asked to give the sermon in that church.

    A never-ending sermon – that does not sound desirable or enticing at all. But as I read these words again I think about what that might look like – living a life that was a sermon. I think of how Eugene preached with his life – how he was very human, a priest – a religious; he founded a congregation, shepherded his diocese of Marseilles as a bishop and was father to a family – the Mazenodian Family. And even after death he lives on, in the Church, in the Body of Christ, in his sons and daughters – a never-ending sermon.

    Yesterday at Church I had the joy of preaching, of sharing my reflections on the scriptures. I shared Darring’s statement of “The people of God are a sign to the whole world announcing its salvation.” How do I live that today, this week – as I go about my daily activities centered on volunteering and my course studies, meeting people and simply being a presence?

    Eugene managed to find ways to preach with his life – in the midst of his work – no matter what it was. The word ‘oblation’ comes to mind, and I think of the Rule of Life that expresses that way of living. It too is a never-ending sermon. For a moment I stop and tell myself that I need to get a life. Aha – I have one. I do have a life – a wonderful, full life. I want to carry that with me today, this week. I am so grateful that God called me to be who I am – there is a smile on my own face this morning.

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