A DESIRE TO BECOME A MISSIONARY AMONGST MY FELLOW BISHOPS

Bishop Eugene, now no longer able to remain in Marseilles as a result of the conflict with the government, continued to view the world through the eyes of a missionary.
At that time only bishops were the ones empowered to give the sacrament of confirmation, and thus if the diocesan bishop was too old or ill to travel to them remoter areas of his diocese, the people were left without his pastoral care. 

Amongst the people I met here was a priest of the diocese of Valence. He told me that the Bishop has not visited his valley for twelve years. My uncle isn’t that far behind.
This has given birth to a desire to become in some fashion a missionary amongst my fellow bishops.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 May 1834, EO VIII n 481

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One Response to A DESIRE TO BECOME A MISSIONARY AMONGST MY FELLOW BISHOPS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This ‘desire to become… a missionary amongst my fellow bishops’ does not come to Eugene because it would be the next ‘step in his religious career’; nor is it evolutionary or a ‘political advancement’. It is though, a birth step in who he is, in who God has created him to become for Eugene is already a bishop and a missionary. It is only as he discovers the need for such types of Bishops that he is able to focus on where he is being led by God. He is as yet quite unable to plan or do because of the muzzle that has been placed on him by the French government and the mantle of silence that the Church has asked him to wear.

    Eugene de Mazenod – called to be a priest, called to be a missionary, called to be Founder of a congregation and family, called to be a bishop – one step at a time.

    I wonder at what this might look like for an Oblate Associate. In some point along our journey we ‘realise’ (vs just hoping) that we are called to a particular state in life; we are sent to live out and share our gifts and passions with each other and all who we meet on our journey of life. We recognize our own steps as we see them in others.

    I think of how St. Paul wrote of the many gifts that we are accorded so that some are called to be prophets, others teachers, and still others healers. There is a place for us all. And always that desire to share with each other, to be missionaries to and with each other just as Eugene wrote “This has given birth to a desire to become in some fashion a missionary amongst my fellow bishops.” It is our response to God’s call that gives birth to become in some fashion a missionary among our communities and families, our jobs and careers, among all that we live and meet.

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