200 YEARS AGO: NOTA BENE – TWO SIDES OF THE PICTURE

One can touch the intensity of Eugene’s emotions! As he reflected on the situation of the Church in France he expressed his horror at the behavior of some of the priests who were not living up to the demands of their vocation.

He then contrasted this by describing his admiration and awe at the beauty of the vocation of the Missionary. It is with this same sense of awe that he reflects on the Church:

The Church, that glorious inheritance purchased by the Saviour at the cost of all his blood
and then he looks at the other side of the situation :
has in our days been cruelly ravaged.

The Church, the Body of Christ, is the magnificent inheritance left to us by the Savior himself. But, with sorrow and pain, Eugene described the state that she has been reduced to:

This beloved Spouse of the Son of God bears him almost nothing other than monsters. The ingratitude of people is at its peak; apostasy will soon be the norm.
And except for the sacred deposit of faith which will always remain intact to the end of time, there remains of Christianity only traces of what it was, with the result that it can be truly said that, due to the malice and corruption of the Christians of our day, their condition is worse than that of the pagans before the cross overthrew their idols

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute, §3. Nota Bene.
Missions, 78 (1951) p. 15

I wonder what Eugene would write today if he were to situate his Nota Bene in our present world? The People of God, that glorious inheritance purchased by the Saviour at the cost of all his blood, continues in our days to be cruelly ravaged… Vatican II stressed that WE are that People of God…

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One Response to 200 YEARS AGO: NOTA BENE – TWO SIDES OF THE PICTURE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett says:

    Last Friday I was taken to emergency and when we arrived there were 4 or 5 ambulances ahead of us – it might be a long wait I thought. Ahead of me there was an elderly woman and the right side of her head and face was bloody and she lay there alone – silently waiting. I wanted to smile at her to let her know that I cared that she was there but I was in shock and could not at that moment figure out how to do that. Our eyes met – it was somehow important to me that our eyes met. Not too long after a nurse came to admit me and the paramedics and a friend took me into a room and I was given a bed – I was grateful for such speedy care and attention. I did not once feel guilty about receiving care before that lady, nor did I speak up about them caring for her first. I hope that for that moment that when our eyes met she somehow knew she was not alone.

    Our Church is cruelly ravaged today – from within and from outside. For a moment I think of “God’s chosen people” in the Old Testament and how over and over again they turned from God. And how over and over again through the ages God brought them back together, back into his embrace. And how God gave us his Son and along the way many others.

    I think of what Eugene did as he gathered around him a few who were like-minded, caring for those who felt abandoned. That has been my experience of the last few days – being embraced and cared for as I experienced the small poverty of being vulnerable and weak and being held and carried be the people of God. And for us, members of this holy and human Mazenodian Family – we who call ourselves ‘co-operators of the Saviour’.
    It is not just the big things but also the small everyday things as well – that both ravage and heal. WE are all the people of God. Two sides of the same picture as Frank has said.

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