I AM NOT OBLIGED TO PERFORM THIS ACT OF CHARITY BUT THERE IS A KIND OF SOLIDARITY IN THE EPISCOPATE

Eugene, being a bishop and not being allowed to work in Marseilles, offered his episcopal services for performing confirmations and pastoral care among the most abandoned in areas where the local bishop was unable to minister. In this way he combined his Oblate vocation and his state of life.

… I am on my way to the Durance Valley where I am going to administer the sacrament of confirmation in place of the poor Archbishop of Avignon who is confined to his room. They have not seen a bishop in those parts for fifteen to twenty years; could one refuse the faithful the service they have a right to?
I know that I am not strictly obliged to perform this act of charity but it seems to me that there is a kind of solidarity in the episcopate. I wish I had the health to do more, but this irritation that is lodged in my throat restrains me whether I like it or not when it comes to preaching, since I can hardly speak sometimes for any length of time.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 17 July 1834, EO VIII n 482

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One Response to I AM NOT OBLIGED TO PERFORM THIS ACT OF CHARITY BUT THERE IS A KIND OF SOLIDARITY IN THE EPISCOPATE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Once more I see Eugene operating – not under the letter of the law but rather from the heart. He expresses this in speaking about the solidarity he finds in the episcopate, and how he will help the Archbishop of Avignon who has not been outside of his room for the past 20 years. Reading Eugene’s words – he sees the very real poverty of the poor in the farthest reaches of that diocese, as well as the poverty of the priests in that same area who are not able to have all of the sacraments administered to those they serve; nor is he blind to the poverty of the Archbishop who he steps forward to help as he is able.

    Eugene has not shut himself off or turned away from his life, from who he is as called by God. Even in his struggle and suffering at the hands of the French government and in his obedience to his beloved Church he continues to find ways to serve and love.

    I see here in Eugene an aspect of the vow of Perseverance which he and the other Oblates took in making their Oblation. This morning I reflect on what this looks like for me, a daughter of St. Eugene and a member of the Mazenodian Family. How do I reach out to others who might not come under the direct ministry or within the ministry boundaries that I am involved in? How do I respond in loving service born out of compassion when circumstances in my own life dictate a change in who and how I serve? Do I recognise only the closed doors or am I open to responding to new invitations and challenges.

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